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Monthly Archives: August 2022

After the passage of two housing bills that could ease the housing crisis, Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire hailed the moves. Calling the housing crisis one of the greatest in the state’s history, McGuire says the passage of these two critical bills will expedite the construction of thousands of homes across the state. SB 6 will speed up the process by utilizing retail space and make owning a home easier for the middle class and working families. And AB 2011 will get mixed-income and affordable housing built faster in transit-friendly commercial corridors.

After the overturning of Roe. V. Wade by the SCOTUS, California moved to become something of a sanctuary state for those without access. As the Legislature wraps up their session lawmakers working with the Governor have put several ideas and packages forward. One would create an “Abortion Practical Support Fund” which would carry money for the needy. Amendments to the bill included setting aside $20 million dollars for out of state residents. There are amendments to protect privacy on social media and by tech companies related to the bill. Lawmakers also added language to protect transgender children who receive gender-affirming health care.

A fire in the Kelseyville area has destroyed three structures. One of them was reported with people trapped inside yesterday afternoon. Firefighters encountered heavy black smoke upon their arrival. There was one structure already engulfed in flames, then two other buildings nearby ignited, and ten others were threatened. The CHP came to the scene to close a couple of roads, so firefighters were not impeded. It took a couple of hours but the fire was out. After that a slash pile got away from whoever was watching it so firefighters had to jump over there. After several hours of a firefight, one home and garage were lost. No word on what the third structure was.

A bill by State Senator Bill Dodd has been signed into law by the Governor to make sure the state’s presidential electors cast ballots for candidates who win the popular vote. This comes after the 2020 election where it was rumored some electors were trying to switch from Joe Biden to Donald Trump. Senator Dodd says his bill will protect the “legitimacy of our free election process” He also says it can prevent extremism that seeks to deny the will of the voters. Several congressional members commented on the bill including former Calif. Secretary of State, now US Senator Alex Padilla who said “no one should be able to subvert the outcome of our elections”. The bill was first introduced after the 2020 election to protect California’s 55 electors and ensure they uphold their voting pledges.

Protests picked up again at the Jackson Demonstration Forest after the recent announcement by Cal Fire of a co-management deal with local tribes. The agency got back to work harvesting trees in the forest which activities said was a broken promise. The California Natural Resources Agency, which oversees Cal Fire announced their new plan which included small trees in the forest for logging after a nearly one-year hiatus. The Chair of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomo Indians says Cal Fire did not notify them before restarting the logging. Activists say they will head to the capitol Tuesday for a rally after local rallies this week.

A woman in Fort Bragg arrested for a DUI crash that left a man dead has to be in court after the long weekend. Gina Bean was found guilty of 2019 fatal hit and run that killed Calum Hunnicutt. She’s been allowed to be out of jail as her lawyers appeal the conviction, but then she was cited and released from Fort Bragg cops for having a methamphetamine pipe on her last month. She had a deal with the court though that she could not use drugs or booze while out of jail. Probation officers have asked the court to revoke her probation. She has to show up in court Tuesday.

Stay indoors if you can, as the heat is on. The National Weather Service is predicting dry, hot weather all week and Mendocino County is in for a doozy. It’ll be about 10 degrees above normal for Labor Day weekend in inland Mendocino County. A scientist at UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability told the Mendocino Voice this could be a dangerous and record-breaking heat wave. The National Weather Service says highs will range from the mid 80s up to the high 90s through tonight with lows from the mid 50s to the mid 60s, but things kick up a notch tomorrow with highs up to 109 degrees and lows at around 60-70.

The annual Ukiah Valley Russian River Cleanup is part of the yearly Coastal Cleanup Day. It’s happening Saturday, September 17th. The Mendocino County Resource Conservation District Water Resources Manager says it’s a great way to make a difference, not only locally, but for the global environment. The agency says the thing they clean up the most, cigarette butts, then it’s single-use plastics like food wrappers. These items, especially cigarette butts, cause harm to water quality and wildlife. The event goes from 9 am on, but folks are gathering earlier for a quick donut and coffee huddle. They remind not to wear flip flops, bring your own water and work gloves. The event is co-sponsored by the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, Mendocino County Water Agency, and Redwood Waste Solutions.  

To join the cleanup, pre-register at by September 10. For questions or for more information, contact Deborah Edelman at

A man in Dos Rios has been arrested on several charges including brutality towards dogs. Charges against Trevor Williams were filed after the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was called to a home last Thursday because of reports three dogs were shot to death. The dogs died while their owners were away. They found them after returning from a trip. They identified Williams as the suspect after home surveillance video caught him. When deputies came to the home, they found the dead animals had been shot in a kennel in the backyard, then dragged to other parts of the property. They have no motive for the shooting. Williams has been charged with cruelty to animals, committing offenses while out on bail and violation of a restraining order. He was held on $220,000.00 bail.

After rumors of a plea deal with no jail time for a disgraced former Ukiah police officer, it came true. Yesterday former Sergeant Kevin Murray was sentenced to two years’ probation, plus a potential for a suspended prison sentence if he breaks the law again. Murray was fired after reports of a string of sex-related crimes, a burglary, possession of meth, and witness intimidation. There’s at least one civil lawsuit against him for a sex assault against a former colleague still hanging in the balance. The judge says he needs to stay away from drugs and alcohol and weapons or he will face prison time. She also scolded him for damaging the Ukiah Police Department that will take generations to heal. Meanwhile folks on social media and various news sites say he got off too easy.

After reports of a man shot dead in Fort Bragg, deputies nabbed another man just out on bail from jail. Mendocino County Deputies called to a hospital for the gunshot wound victim, identified as Daniel Shealor. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports investigating several witnesses over two weeks in various parts of the Northern California coast. They determined Shayne Wrede who was wanted for a 2020 murder in Caspar was to blame. Last Wednesday with the help of the Marshal Service’s Fugitive Task Force they found Wrede in Sacramento, but he got away. A SWAT team was called to the area along with various law enforcement teams until they got him. Wrede was brought back to Mendocino County and booked into jail and held on $575,000.00 bail.

Someone in Covelo reports seeing another man commit an armed robbery against another man in front of his house. Deputies responded to the area after reports Georgie BrittonHoaglin confronted the suspect sitting in his car in front of a home. The man stopped when he was approached, but says BrittonHoaglin pulled out a pistol, then demanded the man give him money. The witness says since he didn’t have money, BrittonHoaglin pistol whipped him, so he handed over cigarettes and a cell phone. Round Valley Tribal Police helped deputies find the guy who they say they saw toss the pistol. He was arrested and found with the witness’s phone and taken to jail and booked without bail.

After the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors decided to start charging for certain Public Record Acts requests, several media outlets said it would be too financially restrictive for them to get the requests filled. So the County decided to institute a grant program for any outlets who couldn’t pay. Now they say that’s illegal. Several groups including the First Amendment Coalition, the California News Publishers Association and the Society of Professional Journalists Northern California Chapter’s Freedom of Information Committee wrote a letter to the County Council, BOS and CEO saying they’re working to advance free speech and have a more open and accountable government, allowing for public participation in civic affairs and what’s been offered up is not lawful. They also want to define a media outlet is strictly considered with First Amendment rights, which would prohibit discrimination.

In a stunning turn of events, prosecutors in Mendocino County are calling for disgraced former cop Kevin Murray to be jailed. Murray, as you may recall, is accused of serious sexual assaults, intimidation, and hostage like situations with women. There was a plea deal agreed to apparently that was not to include jail time or registering as a sex offender. The court date last week was canceled and rescheduled for today. Suddenly a motion was filed yesterday by the DA’s office to give Murray a one-year jail term, as the Sonoma County Probation Office recommended after an independent sentencing assessment. The DA’s office had said they couldn’t get two women to testify and never agreed to no jail time.

The Legislature pulled the trigger on giving a chance to fast-food workers who may have a quarrel with restaurant owners. Lawmakers approved a first-in-the-nation measure that could protect workers. There will be a 10-member Fast Food Council formed who will set minimum standards for wages, hours and working conditions in California. But the minimum wage will be capped if there are more than 100 restaurants in a chain to $22 an hour. Restaurant owners decried the measure as being too costly. But the Service Employees International Union President said it was history making. Almost every Republican voted against it. The International Franchise Association President says it’s discriminatory.

A small wildfire has been quickly squelched on Mount Konocti. The fire in the Black Forest was reported yesterday in the early afternoon hours, apparently triggered by a short thunderstorm. Lake Co News reports a reader saying they saw a lightning strike hit and start the fire. Firefighters hiked up to the area, up a hill where the news site reports they found a small spot ablaze, along with a tree. Cal Fire was on the scene with choppers and tankers, smothering the fire before ground crews arrived. The fire burned about a tenth of an acre.

The Feather Alert bill in the Legislature is another step closer to passing. Much like Amber and Silver alerts, the bill would mean the notification of the public if Indigenous people, especially women and girls, are missing. A key Assembly committee passed the bill after amendments were made and the Senate first approved it. The bill was drafted by Assemblymember James C. Ramos, who is the first and only California Native American lawmaker. He says creating the alert system was a top recommendation from tribal leaders. He also said the state has the greatest population of Native Americans than any in the nation. Some of the those supporting include the Yurok Tribe, California State Sheriff’s Association, California Tribal Families Coalition and the California Tribal Business Alliance.

The fire that’s been burning for almost a month near the Oregon border had its containment total lowered. The Six Rivers Lightning Complex which was 12 fires that all started in a thunderstorm August 5th has burned over 34,000 acres and is 54% contained. Fire officials updated the containment percentage to reflect the exact amount of the fire perimeter that’s fully contained. It’s a pretty big reduction in the containment percentage, but at least half is under control. Firefighters had a good day on the fire yesterday after several days of tireless work. They’ve been extinguishing hot spots, securing lines, and building a large buffer in areas they feel confident will hold so they can stop forward progress of the fire. There was a blow up of activity in one part of the fire, prioritizing the area of Zeigler Point where a spot fire sparked last night.

A fire in the Ukiah region triggered evacuation warnings that were rescinded fairly quick. The Old Fire broke out this weekend on Yokayo Ranch Road southeast of Ukiah. There was one victim who had to be flown to a hospital after being burned. A trailer and home were destroyed and three dogs were killed too. Mendofever reports a fourth dog popped up out of the burn area. The pet is now at Mendocino County Animal Control and expected to survive. The news site reports the burn victim ran out of the home where the fire had begun and told a neighbor, who called for help. The fire blackened about an acre. There was no cause announced yet.

The postponement of the sentencing for a disgraced former Ukiah police officer was not about one of his victims after all. Mendo Fever and Kym Kemp are both reporting the most serious charges against former sergeant Kevin Murray were dismissed because a key witness wouldn’t testify against him, and she couldn’t be found. But her lawyer says that’s all bogus. She’s one of three women accosted by Murray and forced into some sort of sexual situation they fought off. The lawyer of the woman in question says she was prepared to testify and lives in Sacramento. Both news sites are reporting the DA’s office has not commented on a sweetheart plea deal for Murray, but have supposedly, privately admitted the case crumbled when the City of Ukiah agreed to pay one victim a settlement. The Sacramento witness’ lawyer says his client had no idea Murray wouldn’t be getting jail time, wouldn’t have to register as a sex offender and was getting out of any severe punishment. Murray is now supposed to be sentenced tomorrow.

There’s a problem with Red Sea Urchin in North Coast waters. Divers have been trying to corral the sea animals to sell, which they can make a boat load off of, since they’re considered a delicacy. But a second fishery disaster declaration is expected from the Federal Government to save anglers and processors. Red Urchin are disappearing from Noyo Harbor and elsewhere. The Mendocino Voice reported on a couple of locals who say the last five years have been the toughest for harvesting the urchin. They say now they only get about 500 pounds total, but when they started five years ago, it was twice that amount. The last federal disaster declaration was for 2016 and 17, giving Calif. over 3.3 million in aid. And the Governor has signed another declaration to get more aid this year, but the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Marine Region Manager says there’s been no confirmation yet.

A man wanted in Lake County after reports of an assault on a woman a couple weeks ago, has turned himself in. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports Arturo Gutierrez went to the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office but was transferred to the Lake County Jail. The sister of the victim says her sister can finally rest now that the man was caught.

After rent freezes during the coronavirus lockdown, some cities in Calif. are instituting rent control to protect residents from exorbitant rent. In Bell Gardens one woman fought the doubling of her rent in court and won. Then pretty soon, a rent control bill was introduced after a group called Tenant Advocates came out fighting. The City Council there voted unanimously for a rent stabilization ordinance. Then a domino effect. They did it in Antioch, they’ve capped rent increases too. Earlier this month, Pomona’s City Council also set a rent cap, and in Santa Ana, they adopted an ordinance last year. Oxnard enacted a cap this past spring and Pasadena will consider it in November.

Three raises in one year could be coming to some California firefighters as part of their new contract. Cal Fire Local 2881 is also looking to shorten the long hours they have to work, without taking a pay cut. The union represents 8,100 permanent and seasonal firefighters. Last week a tentative 2 year agreement was reached with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration. The union still has to vote on it, then it moves to the State Legislature before it can take effect. They would receive a 2.5% raise retroactive to July 1st, a 2% raise again Jan. 1st and yet another 2% next July 1st. Hours would be cut from their average of 72 to 66 by November of 2024. It would cut into the state budget, by about $126 million/year by 2024.

A couple of Manchester ranchers are honoring a local activist. Rachel Binah has a new grove of Redwood trees erected in her honor thanks to Kenneth Jowers and Robert Larsen. During lockdown the pair planted 50 donated redwood seedlings. Low and behold they sprouted after they thought it was a lost cause. Several trees had pushed their way up through the earth, some as tall as 40 feet high, so they planted more. The pair decided to dedicate the grove to Binah, a Little River resident who’s been a long-time environmental activist. So, they erected a sign on Binah’s behalf, inviting her over to show the 79 year old her redwood grove.

The Governor has announced he’s appointed a new Surgeon General. The role first established by Newsom in 2019, but the first quit this year. Newsom announced he’s appointing Dr. Diana Ramos of Laguna Beach as the new Surgeon General. With over thirty years of experience focusing on health equity and reproductive health. She’s leaving the California Department of Public Health’s Center for Healthy Communities, where she was managing the state’s public health and prevention programs. She will first have to be confirmed by the state Senate.

The latest news from Visit Mendocino County shows $433 million in tourism spending. That includes over $200M in tourism related employment. The group reported the news for the year 2021 and that lodging was most of the money they received. The agency is the marketing division for the Mendocino County Tourism Commission. They also credit many new programs that have started for the 2021/22 tourism calendar which brought in almost 1.8 million visitors to the county. They say they expanded their marketing campaign focus into new multi-media and digital marketing programs, regional partnerships, community programs and online outreach.

A special meeting is being held by the Lake County Board of Supervisors regarding a grant application for a behavioral health facility for juveniles. The matter came up at their meeting last week and they will continue the topic after the board was informed Hope Health was being formed so that a new treatment facility could be built. At the same meeting, they’ll discuss putting money into a broadband project and an agreement with a temporary Public Health Officer. The meeting is folded into the board’s regular Tuesday meeting. They’re looking to appoint Dr. Karl Sporer as the Public Health Officer, but only for six months at a rate of about $6,000 a month. Dr. Gary Pace quit this past spring, but came back after the doc hired after him left quickly. Pace has given formal notice again. He’s therefore done August 31st.

The unemployment rate has dropped again in Both Lake and Mendocino Counties. It’s also down in the state and in various parts of the country. In California, the Employment Development Department reported Lake County’s unemployment rate was at 4.2%, down almost twice as much as it was last year. In Mendocino County, the rate was one of the lowest in the state, at just 3.2%. The rate across the state hit a new record low last month, at 3.9%, down from 4.2% in June. Nationwide, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said unemployment was 3.5% in July, compared to last July when it was 5.4%. The state added almost 85,000 more jobs in July. This time around the lowest unemployment rate in the state was San Mateo with just 1.9%, and like many months past, the highest was Imperial at 14.2%.

There are still struggles for those living in fire country. The Advocate reports some folks who dealt with fires the last few years have been losing their homeowners insurance policies. After the firestorms in 2017 and 2018, insurance companies have stopped covering tens of thousands, so they don’t have to cover folks living in high fire-risk areas. That means those homeowners have to purchase insurance through the more expensive California FAIR Plan. As we enter what’s generally the worst of the fire season, autumn with predictably windy weather, more homeowners could be out of luck too. There are new regulations in place in Calif. to bring down the cost and protect from potential loss of coverage, but the insurance industry is pushing back against the new regulations. Some in the industry are reportedly concerned providers would just stop providing coverage altogether.

A man in Willits has been arrested after cops connected him to a man being hit in the head with a baseball bat. Police say they found the victim bleeding from the hits. There were also several witnesses who said Damian Villegas, who’s a relative of the victim, was the attacker. They said the pair were drinking together at a local bar, but then got kicked out for starting fights and went to a second bar where another fight ensued in the parking lot. Witnesses say Villegas retrieved a bat from the trunk of his car, hit the victim multiple times, then took off. Villegas was known to police from previous contacts. After reports of a man with a bat hitting a sign, they went to his house and found his girlfriend who claimed she didn’t know where he was or about the bar fight. They found him nearby and arrested him for Assault with a Deadly Weapon. And his girlfriend is facing charges for Aiding and Abetting and Accessory After the Fact.

Environmental activists are up in arms again after an eight-month hiatus of logging in the Jackson Demonstration Forest restarts. The state had announced a new co-management deal between Cal Fire and local tribes and that they would log only smaller groves. Now tribal leaders and activists say this could get in the way of the co-management plans for the forest. Some tribal leaders are reportedly displeased with the decision to restart logging. Mendo Voice reports the leaders saying they were not informed about the logging starting up again. The Save Jackson Coalition put out a statement too, it says the chair of the Coyote Valley Band of Pomos told them the state wants to continue logging on their Homeland while still negotiating with them, which makes him question their commitment to a co-management deal.

Fort Bragg is getting back to pre-pandemic celebrations with the return of Paul Bunyan Days. The event is happening over Labor Day weekend after a COVID19 pause for safety reasons. Applications to participate are now open. There will be a parade on Labor Day itself. Other events through the weekend include the logging show and log rolling competition, Belle of the Redwoods competition, kiddie games, and more. The theme this year is “the tradition continues.” A full schedule for the weekend, along with entry forms are on the Paul Bunyan Days website, and Facebook page.

A new report shows murders in the state of California were up again, and so were violent crimes. The state Department of Justice has put out the latest crime reports showing crimes up, but arrests down. The State Attorney General was in Southern Calif. earlier this week touting gun control laws were keeping homicides down. But there were over 2,360 murders in the state last year, 150 more than the year before. Still much lower than the highest year, 1993, when there were nearly 4,100. But there were more deaths in the state last year than the last 15 years. There were about 2,800 arrests per 100,000 people in 2020, and 2,606 last year, down by more than 200.

Redwood Credit Union says it’s matching donations for the Mendocino College Student Emergency Fund. The Fall 2022 semester has begun at the school and students are getting back to it and starting their career prep after an unpredictable few years. Inflation has also kicked in, making prices for food, gas, books and living expenses higher. The Fund will help students challenged during these times. The College says the Fund is one way they can help students worry less and study more. They have $12,000 dollars from the Credit Union to distribute up to $500 one-time emergency grants. And donors will be matched, so it could reach $24,000 in emergency aid for students in Ukiah, Lakeport, Willits and Fort Bragg.

Visit and choose Student Emergency Fund.

If the Governor signs off the state of California could begin to release an increased number of sick or dying inmates. The state Assembly first has to approve the bill the Senate has already passed. Those against the current plan in place say it’s too strict and ill or dying inmates are too sick to pose a threat. And it would ease overcrowding and be less expensive. Over 90% of inmates died while waiting for compassionate release between January 2015 and April 2021. The nonprofit Families Against Mandatory Minimums also says 304 inmates were trying to get compassionate release, and only 53 were released through the courts.

The drought in California is serious, as most of us know, but apparently there’s just a small percentage of voters who say they’ve been impacted by the water shortage. The poll of 9,000 voters across Calif. showed 71% thought the issue was “extremely serious,” but 23% said it was only somewhat serious. The poll by the UC Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies and co-sponsored by the Los Angeles Times also revealed only 9% of respondents said they and their families were affected “a great deal” by the current water shortage, and 32% said they’ve been affected somewhat. 57% said they were affected “only a little” or not at all.

There’s a huge new mural gracing the side of a building in Fort Bragg. On the corner of McPherson and Redwood, the Alleyway Project has organized the piece by Ryan Grossman featuring giant redwoods. It’s the second mural by Grossman for Alleyway. The other outside a hardware store on Highway 1. The new one is planned to wrap around the whole Forrester building, but it’s so big, you may want to walk across the street to check it out. The Forrester has an art studio below and rental units above. And is named after the owner’s grandpa.

For more information about the Alleyway Project and for a map of their murals and several of the others that dot the town, go to

The Calif. Attorney General has remarked on the recent move by President Biden to forgive as much as $10,000 in college debt for certain individuals. Bonta issued a statement yesterday after the announcement that the US Department of Education would cancel $10,000 in federal student loan debt for those who make less than $125,000/year, plus $10,000 more if a borrower also received Pell Grants in college. Bonta said it would be a “game changer for millions…” And he said as a borrower himself he remembers getting the payment reminders and felt the weight of the moment. The president also extended the student loan repayment date to start again, due to the pandemic, at the end of the year, not the end of this month.

The CDC has put out a statement that the Novavax COVID-19 vaccine is a good option for children 12 to 17. The recommendation comes after the FDA authorization for emergency use for that particular age group. The Novavax vaccine is available now. The CDC says it’s an important tool that provides a more familiar type of vaccine technology for adolescents. The vaccine has harmless proteins with another ingredient to help the immune system respond to the virus in the future. It’s similar to the Flu and whooping cough vaccine technology.

You better rethink that car purchase in the future as California prepares for a 2035 deadline for all new cars, trucks and SUVs to only be powered by electricity or hydrogen. The move due to climate change will trigger a vote by the California Air Resources Board today. You can still drive a gas-powered vehicle, but they would no longer be sold here. Hybrid vehicles will also be able to be sold in the state, but only one-fifth of car sales. The move could be a game-changer in reducing emissions and air pollutants. The Governor remarked that the “climate crisis is solvable” saying he just need big, bold steps to slow carbon pollution.

A delay in the sentencing of a disgraced former police officer from Ukiah. The judge in the case against Kevin Murray, who’s accused of sexual harassment, false imprisonment, intimidation and more, said instead he will be sentenced, at an undetermined date, without explanation. There were protests outside the court ahead of the sentencing date. Murray’s lawyer said he didn’t know why and the deputy DA on the case didn’t comment. It all comes after reports earlier this week that his plea deal for probation could be upended, and that instead he could get a suspended sentence after one of his victims complained. The DA also dropped three felony sex-related offenses against Murray. There are also other civil complaints against him.

A small fire has been put out between Ukiah and Hopland. Mendo Fever reports yesterday morning firefighters descended on an area along Highway 101 near Nelson Ranch. Officials say the fire was burning in oak woodland adjacent to the highway, but within 10 minutes of their arrival they contained it. It burned about a quarter acre.

As we get closer to the general election in November, in Lakeport there are a couple of open City Council seats. They will also have an initiative regarding the long proposed South Main Street annexation. As far as the council seats, incumbents Stacey Mattina and Mireya Turner are seeking reelection, Mattina for her third term, and Turner, term 2. Apparently, they’re the only pair who have filed for their own seats, which also happened in the last general election. Since the annexation issue is on the ballot, the two city councilors names will also appear. They could have just been re-appointed, but the city manager says, since there was an issue on the ballot already, Mattina and Turner’s seats will also be included. The annexation question is only up to property owners in the area, 20 people get to vote on that.

Since he still has not been found, the Lake County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warrant for a man wanted for an assault. The agency has been searching for registered sex-offender, 62-year-old Arturo Pedro Gutierrez for an assault last Thursday. The warrant is for $500,000. Deputies say they believe Gutierrez may be around the Willits area, as he’s been seen there in the past.

A special event is planned at the Ukiah Senior Center, and they want the public’s help. The Center is replacing the floors in their thrift shop on Leslie Street after a pipe burst early this month. They are re-decorating but would love some help to replace the floor. Part of the floor they’re replacing is not covered by insurance, so they’re having a parking lot sale Oct. 1st including store sale items. They’re planning games for the kids while their parents shop.

The fire burning across Humboldt County, is still burning. The Six Rivers Lightning Complex has blackened over 27,650 acres as of this morning, with 80% containment. The fire’s continued creeping along but changing weather has helped grow the containment. Clear skies have helped aircraft make more drops, and firefighters have been able to dig more lines to slow the spread. And some of the evacuation orders have been downgraded to warnings. Areas are still pretty active due to the terrain, like Horse Range and Waterman Ridge.

They’re still trying to decide what to do as a handful of homeless folks are living at the soon to close Elijah House in Lake County. The Board of Supervisors had a discussion about unsheltered residents in Lakeport after the home closes at the end of this month. The monthly costs to continue running the shelter in the old juvenile detention facility are over $50,000. The Board decided to continue discussing the upcoming closure and what caused it in the first place. The board also heard about early activation permits from the Cannabis Task Force and a request to have them rescinded due to too much red tape. They also heard from the former CEO of Adventist Health Clearlake who now works in Tribal Health. David Santos proposed the board consider an urgently needed youth substance abuse center. They’ll revisit the matter next week.

It’s like before times in Calif. as students at public colleges and universities get back to class without vaccine and mask mandates and nary a test to be taken. After two years of dealing with the pandemic, many restrictions have been lifted or eased big time. Last fall there were indoor mask mandates at state colleges and universities and at community colleges and tech schools statewide. There were also routine tests where waivers were allowed. The protocols will vary by school, as some never had vaccine mandates or they have since been rescinded if they did. Vaccine mandates are still in effect at UC and CSU campuses, but not facial coverings. They will be monitoring Mpox now though.

A woman from Clearlake Oaks connected to an arson fire has been to court. The judge in Tori Brannon’s case has signaled there’s enough evidence for her to be arraigned on the charges. She had to first have her competency restored after her lawyer said they didn’t find she would be able to understand the proceedings against her, and she spent months in a state hospital for that. Brannon faces various charges including aggravated arson, causing fire (inhabited structure), being under the influence of a controlled substance and carrying a concealed dirk/dagger related to another crime last year. Eleven structures burned in July of 2021 in Clearlake Oaks. She apparently admitted it out loud where neighbors could hear.

The latest report on housing shows over 30% more homes for sale this year over last. The homes in the area of Marin, Mendocino, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. There were nearly 2,700 homes and condos for sale at the end of July. Each month the inventory seems to be growing from the year before, and that’s nationwide too. But still inventory is lower historically speaking. There have been 10,000 homes for sale at once in the same Northern Calif. region. No matter, there were little sales comparatively. About 1,170 homes sold in the region in July, 32 percent lower than last year, and 7 percent below the month before.  In Mendocino County homes and condos for sale were up for 7 months, a 109 percent increase in July, then in 2021. Lake County had 26 percent more homes for sale in July than a year before.

Intro: Consumer advocates are trying to get Governor Gavin Newsom to sign a bill to raise what car insurance companies must cover in an accident. The “Protect California Drivers Act” would raise the mandatory minimum amount of liability insurance to 30-thousand dollars for a single injury or death, 60-thousand if more than one person is injured or killed, and 15-thousand to cover property damage. Craig Peters with Consumer Attorneys of California says the bill would double the current rates, which only require coverage of 15-thousand, 30-thousand, and five-thousand dollars respectively.

            :09  “Fifteen-thousand today will barely cover the cost of an ambulance ride to the hospital, and $5,000 will barely fix a minor dent in a car.”

Tag:  He notes when the current rates were set, back in 1967, they were intended to cover the cost of a two-week hospital stay or the replacement of the vehicle. Since every California driver is required to have insurance that meets state standards, the law would protect victims of car crashes from incurring massive debt. The bill’s few opponents, including some insurers, said it’s the wrong time to be raising the cost of coverage.


Second Cut: But Peters says the bill was the result of negotiations between consumer groups and insurance industry representatives. He says the change is long overdue.

            :07  “California has lagged behind every other state in the union. This will actually put us back into the middle of the pack. “

Tag:  Senate Bill 1107 has already passed both houses of the California Legislature. If it becomes law, the new limits will take effect in 2025. They’d also increase ten years later – to 50-thousand or 100-thousand dollars for injuries or deaths, and 25-thousand dollars for property damage.

No moves by the Clearlake City Council for two vacant seats. The council also decided to hire an executive search firm to find a new finance director. The two open seats, filled by Mayor Dirk Slooten and Councilman Russ Cremer have no competitors. The City Clerk/Administrative Services Director says the council had the option to appoint the two to the seats they hold, or have an election in November. The city has the budget for that, so if the council does nothing by tomorrow, the election will go forward for the two seats and for the city treasurer. The city treasurer position has been appointed since 2006 when the last elected treasurer left the job.

Money is coming to a Lake County water district in the latest round of grants. The money is to help smaller towns with water supply issues during the historic drought. This is the Department of Water Resources eighth round of Small Community Drought Relief funding. They’re distributing $40 million to over a dozen projects in Butte, Humboldt, Lake, Madera, Mariposa, Placer, San Luis Obispo, Riverside, Sierra, Tehama, Trinity, Tulare, Ventura and Yolo counties. 12 of the 15 projects will go to disadvantaged communities for long-term solutions like pipeline replacement, well installation, and infrastructure upgrades. For Lake County, water could become scarce due to the level in Clear Lake, so Mount Konocti Mutual Water Co. is getting $2.3 million to replace leaking water storage tanks with low water intake pumps.

A grassfire that started earlier this week near the Costco in Ukiah was arson. Fire investigators say the fire was human caused Monday. It started in a grass field. Police say they’re investigating but have no suspects at this time. Mendo Fever reports on the afternoon of the fire someone reported seeing three Hispanic males in the area in a silver Mitsubishi sedan. One of them, the reporting party says, fired either a flare or a roman candle before the grass fire ignited. Then the three took off. Later a Be on the Lookout was sent out by police for the vehicle.

After the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors announced new fees for permits, now the Ukiah Unified School District is having a community meeting on Developer Fees. School District staff are hosting the meeting Monday at the School District Service Center on S. Orchard Ave. at 5:30 p.m.  The town hall comes after Trustees agreed to have a discussion, then consider reinstating developer fees which help ease impacts of new developments on school facilities. About 7 years ago the Trustees stopped collecting the fees for a time, but then during the last school year Trustees asked the Administration to start a new developer fee study, which a consultant has completed. That was presented at their last Board meeting.

There’s a slew of new candidates for Fort Bragg City Council after a deadline extension for applicants. There are four open seats, one, just a two-year term. And Vice-Mayor and Councilmember Jessica Morsell-Haye’s announced she was not seeking reelection. 11 candidates in all have applied for one two-year term seat and the 3 others for four year terms.

The Coastal Cleanup is coming, and Mendocino County residents and visitors are invited to join in. The Mendocino Land Trust is partnering with other organizations and groups for the annual event, which is happening, Saturday, September 17th. There are 17 sites organizers are working with. They’ll supply the cleanup effort.  Last year nearly 300 volunteers came out, removing over 3,600 pounds of trash and recyclable materials from local creeks, rivers, and beaches. The Mendocino Land Trust has been coordinating the event for twenty years.

Visit for details about each of the Mendocino County sites or visit to view an interactive map of sites all over California.

The family of a man who died in the McKinney fire is suing an energy company for wrongful death. 76-year-old John Cogan died in the fire. His daughter Theresa claims in her lawsuit, that
PacifiCorp’s “utility infrastructure contacted, or caused sparks to contact, vegetation surrounding the equipment” last month near the Oregon border. There’s been no cause released yet, for how the fire started. But it killed three other people too, destroyed 185 structures and blackened almost 94 square miles. It is the largest fire this year and is still not 100% contained. Public Utility records state PacifiCorp filed documents with the state saying there had been an event with its electrical equipment as the time flames started

The body of a missing teen has officially been confirmed. After an autopsy Tuesday it was acknowledged that it was definitely 16-year-old Kiely Rodni who was found in a car in shallow water in a Northern California reservoir. The girl had been at a party in Truckee with hundreds of other teens and young adults, and apparently crashed on her way home. There are no other details about her death, only that it was definitely Kiely who was found by a volunteer dive team, Adventures with Purpose. Reports say the area where she crashed has curvy roads.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s hubby has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor DUI. For that Paul Pelosi is going to jail for five days. He has two days credit and got conduct credit for two more days. He will also work eight hours in a court work program instead of the last day in jail. State law says DUI misdemeanor defendants don’t have to be in court, and Pelosi was not there. He will have to also go to a three-month long DUI class and there will be an ignition interlock device installed on his car. He also has to pay around $7,000 in fines for the May 28th crash in Napa County.

Some of the offices that will appear on the ballot in November in Mendocino County apparently don’t have enough people running. Reporter Matt LeFever says in a draft list of candidates the Registrar of Voters office put out, it shows more than half of the special districts with open seats will end up appointing someone because it’s not competitive enough for an actual vote. And other races, LeFever notes, will just be someone running, automatically gets the seat, because there are just enough people running for those open seats. But the Registrar of Voters points out that the draft candidate list may still change some. There are open city council seats in Fort Bragg and Ukiah; open school board seats in Willits, Round Valley and Potter Valley; and open seats in various other departments including health care districts, water districts and fire districts, that could all end up being competitive races.

The Probation Dept. in Mendocino County is reportedly trying to talk down a jail term to a suspended one-year sentence for a former Ukiah cop accused of sexual impropriety, burglary and more. Former Ukiah Police Sgt. Kevin Murray’s lawyers do not support the idea, since they worked out a plea deal which strikes three sex-related felonies against him. Murray is set to be sentenced tomorrow for the case which also includes, intimidating a witness and false imprisonment. The plea deal would give him probation, not a jail sentence of any kind, suspended or not. Murray’s lawyer says there was extensive discussion on the agreement, and this is a change not discussed. But apparently one of his victims opposed probation.

The state has distributed a boat load of money they’re doling out for road repairs, including in Mendocino County. The California Transportation Commission (CTC) has over $2.2 billion for repairs and transportation infrastructure improvements, some of which came from the recent federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 and almost $336 million from the state that goes back to 2017. A good chunk is going to roads, drainage and guardrail upgrades near Albion, in Mendocino County; 2 million for road improvements on the 101 near Hopland; and another 2 mil in the county from Willits to south of Black Bart Road, also on US 101. For more information about transportation projects funded by SB 1, visit

Applications are being accepted by the California State Parks Dept. for new recreational experiences. The applications should be from public entities and would be funded by the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership Program with the federal government. There is over $190 million dollars available in the sixth phase of the grant program to provide opportunities for communities that have limited or no access to publicly available, close-by, outdoor recreation opportunities. The grant program was established 8 years ago with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund to bring new parks or provide major renovations to parks in economically disadvantaged cities or towns of at least 30,000 people.

A man permanently scarred by Ukiah Police officers during an arrest had his charges dropped. The Deputy DA in the case against Arturo Valdes, who was suspected of misdemeanor DUI, asked for a dismissal. Arturo was struck and had visible facial fractures after his arrest at his Ukiah home in March of 2021. Valdes’ lawyer says police in the case pleaded the 5th and their case fell apart. Neither has said publicly how many times they may have punched the victim in the head. Valdes was in an accident and didn’t wait for police to get there, so they went to his house and took him in on various charges. His lawyer says they were fabricated. And body cam footage was not available to the public, even though the Mendocino Voice tried to get it through the Public Records Act.

Mendocino County workers trying to get raises all at the last Board of Supervisors meeting decrying claims of a financial crisis. The union representative for the workers said the county claimed it couldn’t afford a cost-of-living increase but called it a bogus claim. The county asking for a year to wait on the increase, so they had time to evaluate finances. The union rep at the meeting says the county’s not been on top of what their expenses and revenues were for the last five years. He suggested since there were so many open positions, to repurpose some of that money. The county claims it used the funds to pay overtime and hire extra help. They also note the board used money from one of the pandemic stimulus plans to remodel the Board of Supervisors chambers.

A bill sent to the Governor for signature or veto could mean those sending unwanted sexually graphic texts, emails, app requests or other electronic means could be sued. The bill related to “cyber flashing”, widely considered to be digital sexual harassment or abuse. Assemblymember Cecilia Aguiar-Curry says mostly young women are receiving the messages. The Assembly passed it unanimously and it was sent to the senate yesterday, also getting unanimous approval. The unsolicited content would allow a victim or recipient to get $1,500 up to as much as $30,000 from senders older than 18, plus punitive damages and attorney’s fees.

A woman from Middletown reported missing a week ago, has still not been seen or heard from.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported 38-year-old Goldie Morse disappeared August 13th and was officially reported missing Aug. 17th. Deputies say she was seen last in Cobb near the Black Rock Golf Course, but without a cell phone or shoes. The Sheriff’s Office reported to Lake Co News they have had a few possible sighting reports and were following up. Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to call Lake County Central Dispatch at 707-263-2690.

A man from Upper Lake is under investigation for an assault. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports they’re searching for 62-year-old Arturo Pedro Gutierrez, as a person of interest in an assault on a woman last week. The man is reported to be a registered sex offender connected to a case of indecent exposure in 2012. He is noted by the Justice Dept. as a high-risk reoffender. Anyone with any information as to his whereabouts is asked to call the Lake County Sheriff’s Central Dispatch at 707-263-2690.

The fire that was burning by Lower Lake, dubbed the Point Fire is fully contained. The fire started Saturday late afternoon west of Lower Lake and triggered evacuations. It burned close to homes but spared them and there was no damage reported. As of last night, the fire was 100% contained after blackening 14 acres. No word about how the fire started.

Kids don’t have to wear masks in Mendocino County schools, but the public health officer says it’s not a bad idea. Dr. Andy Coren says students and staff may consider facial coverings as the county is still in the median risk area, per the CDC. Coren says while masks are no longer mandatory, they are highly recommended. He also says he has heard virtually nobody is wearing masks which creates a “big vulnerability” that he would like to see go away. Dr. Coren said we’ve learned a lot more about COVID as a society, but there’s not enough people vaccinated in the state or the county for the 5-to-11 age group. He did say over the summer several schools enhanced their ventilation systems, which could be helpful.

In Lake County, the Board of Supervisors is considering a new cannabis garden, and a potential place for folks to go when there are public safety power shutoffs. At their meeting tomorrow, Supervisors are looking at using Northshore Park as a community center during intentional power downs. And what of the old juvenile hall, could that be a much-needed homeless shelter? The board’s also looking into a plan for a mental health treatment center for children too. But first the board will mull over a plan for an appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval for a major use permit and initial study for a cannabis cultivation project in Kelseyville. As usual the meeting starts at 9, with the option to join over Zoom.

Not a no in the room, from the Clearlake City Council to buy a piece of land for a new road to get to a major commercial development at Pearce Field. The City Manager asked the council to buy the land on Old Highway 53 from AmeriGas for $110,000 so the city can build a new road and future commercial development at the old airport. The city already bought a couple of pieces of property very near the airport property. The piece of property they’re buying now is necessary to finish the plans for the commercial development. The council voted unanimously on the plan and there was no comment from the public.

A small fire has broken out in Lower Lake. The fire started Saturday night and was pegged at between 15-25 acres. But Cal Fire reported last night it burned 14 acres and was already 90% contained. There were some hasty evacuation orders through Saturday night as there was concern the fire could blow up overnight.

The Mendocino County Public Health Dept. is reporting on measures to be taken by the county in the event of any Monkeypox cases. At the same time, the state has decided to rename the virus, Mpox. The agency says they’re ready to start contact tracing if Mpox arrives in Mendocino County. There have been no cases so far. Some ideas, that may sound familiar after the pandemic: monitor your health, if you get flu like symptoms that don’t end in a week, then a rash, you should isolate yourself from others and see your doctor, get vaccinated because the supply is scarce, so do it while you can. If you get it, stay away from others. It spreads by direct contact with the rash and any soiled objects from the open lesions, and by droplets in the air after a face-to-face conversation. You can be contagious until the rash is healed completely.

As Mpox, or Monkeypox is the new scare on the horizon, there seems to be some good news on the COVID19 front in Mendocino County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren reports local case numbers are declining. Coren says the county is no longer in the highest transmission level though, now it’s the median community level, which he calls excellent progress. He did however mention another new strain causing concern nationwide, called BA.4.6, a sub-stain of omicron. In the county the test positivity rate is at 9.5 percent, and the state is at 11.4 percent. On Friday the county had two people in the hospital with the virus, and so far, Dr. Coren confirmed 134 Mendocino County residents have died from the virus.

A teenager reported missing in Northern Calif. after a party near Truckee has been found dead. A group of diving volunteers out searching for 16-year-old Kiely Rodni found her car upside down in about 14 feet of water at Prosser Reservoir. The group Adventures with Purpose an underwater sonar rescue group posted on Facebook, they CONFIRMED Kiely is inside the car and notified her family. The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office later also posted on social media they were headed to the area. The girl disappeared Aug. 6th after midnight after going to a party at Prosser Family Campground with hundreds of other teens and young adults.

It’s doors closed for the Elijah House. The lone homeless shelter in Lakeport inside the old Juvenile Hall facility is closing for good Labor Day weekend. The program manager at Lake County Behavioral Health says they’re trying to find housing for those still there. They’ve been struggling apparently with staffing shortages as they close down and clean out the building as their contract was ending. A group that was helping with operations per a contract with the county says there were about a dozen or so residents left at the shelter who the group says should have other housing by the end of the month.

After months of town halls and discussions with community members, tribal leaders, conservation organizations and forest operators, Cal Fire has a new vision for the management of the Jackson Demonstration State Forest in the age of climate change. The agency says they’ve already taken some steps and there will be more, as they work with the Jackson Advisory Group on future management plans, saying there is a new foundation of science and equity. One of the most prominent additions is adopting a new co-management team with sovereign tribal nations who call the area their ancestral home. Cal Fire is also putting in another $10 million to support forest operations, removing any potential pressure on timber harvests to cover costs. They’ll update the ten year management plan, expand the advisory group, establish a Tribal Advisory Council and change up timber management plans focusing on smaller trees only.

We keep hearing about staffing shortages across industries. It’s hitting firefighters in Calif. as they are calling for help from across the globe. But there are programs utilizing prison inmates, who upon being released are getting hired permanently. But a new report says that hasn’t helped as much as was hoped for. The Associated Press reports a $30 million effort has only been able to offer jobs to a little over 100 firefighters, just about a third of the inmates who applied. Inmates only earn a few bucks a day when they’re not professionals, but after they get out, they can take part in a training program. The U.S. Forest Service reports being down by about 1,200 firefighters, 500 in California, and the Interior Department needs to find 450 firefighters, 150 in California.

The state Assembly has greenlighted a bill by Sen. Bill Dodd related to prescribed fires. The burns help clear brush out, Dodd says, which he touts as a cost-effective way to “minimize the intensity and scope of wildfires”. His bill would encourage more prescribed fires and adds $20 million dollars to the work. Controlled burning has been used for hundreds of years to clear dead and dying trees and brush, so it they don’t add fuel to fires. The bill would create standards for a fund to help cover the costs. It’s paired with another Dodd bill from last year to protect landowners and prescribed fire managers so they are not liable for fire suppression costs unless they acted with gross negligence.

Colleges across Calif. are going to be offering abortion triggering pills. A state senator from Chino introduced the legislation nearly 4 years ago. Senate Bill 24 says all CSU and UC campuses should offer non-surgical medication abortions, “abortion pills” by January. Ed Source reports the UC San Francisco research program Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health says this could be available to thousands of students next year. The governor signed the bill into law in 2019 and schools have been preparing ever since. But so far there are no CSU campuses offering the pills and UC schools don’t all have it, but the school systems both say they’re committed to offer the services by the Jan. 1st deadline.

Since the state says the moratorium on disconnecting water accounts for non-payment is over, the City of Fort Bragg says they will get back to it. The city had stopped disconnecting customers who were 60 days past due if balances were under $2,000 through the end of August. That was so they could apply for assistance, but the full past due amount has to be paid by September 2nd for the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP) Grant. The program can help with up to $500 towards past due bills.

For more information, visit the City of Fort Bragg’s Website or contact Lacy Peterson at, (707) 961 2825 ext 108.

A head on crash in Upper Lake has killed at least one person. Mendo Fever reports a semi-truck and gray pickup collided, with one fatality and more people with major injuries. The accident was reported yesterday afternoon on State Route 20 and State Route 29 in Lake County with several people trapped. Within an hour of the report medics were on the scene and removed the victims from the vehicles. They had to close the highway down as an investigation took place. The highway opened a few hours later.

Someone has been injured after falling off a boat in Lake Berryessa and getting hit by the vessel’s propeller. It happened Monday afternoon near Big Island. The Napa County Sheriff’s Office reported the man from Vacaville was cut on his left leg and arm. A sheriff’s boat patrolling the lake helped a local fire department volunteer to help the 20-year-old victim. He was taken to a hospital where his injuries were not considered to be life-threatening.

After the lockdown went into play and kids had to learn online, some parents fought back. Now Cal Matters reports as the parents became more and more frustrated, they decided to use that energy to run for office. The news site reports some parents were motivated by national controversies, like critical race theory and LGBTQ+ education. And more wanted to be able to have a hand in how money was spent to benefit students directly. The California School Boards Association reported about 50% of 5,000 school board seats in the state are open this election, but they can’t say for sure how many parents are running for offices that drew so much anger in the early days of the pandemic. Parents against mask and vaccine mandates as well as sex education are getting the support of the state Republican party, but still some school boards say they’re hard-pressed to find suitable candidates.

A weekend of celebrations in Guerneville as the town celebrates its 150th anniversary. At the same time, it’s also the 100th anniversary of the truss bridge that spans the Russian River. Tomorrow is the Come Together Festival in Downtown Guerneville. Music and a fair are happening between 1:00 and 7:30 p.m., that touts hula hoopers, food vendors, and more. Town officials say Guerneville will also be celebrating several years of enduring floods, fires and the pandemic tomorrow.

The proposed high-speed rail project that will roll through San Francisco and San Jose has passed a major hurdle. The California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors officially approved the final Environmental Impact Report, certifying the 43-mile project yesterday. The new rail section will link the San Francisco Bay Area and the Peninsula to San Jose, the Central Valley, and Los Angeles County. Now they have to secure funding for the final design and pre-construction.

The South Lake County Fire Protection District has secured a major donation to buy a couple of
new generation portable dip tanks, also known as HeloPods. That is a mobile helicopter dip tank for large choppers. That will help firefighters get a water dip site set up faster, so firefighters are only tasked with connecting hoses to a hydrant. It means choppers can suck water right from the hydrant as it hovers. Lake Co News reports that will shorten their turnaround times. The District is one of a handful of others in the state that use the HeloPods which are manufactured in Simi Valley.

A new strike team to fight fires in Calif. has been announced by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California Military Department. Team Blaze will be operated by a state military department. The Type VI strike team of wildland-style fire engines will be run by the California military. They’ll be able to carry a four-person crew. The Cal OES director says they value the partnership with the military, during these times of need, especially during wildfires or other natural disasters. And the military responded saying they too are proud to be part of the collaboration, making sure there are more fire engines and expert staff ready to roll during major emergencies.

Things are starting to look a lot better in the Six Rivers Lightning Complex fire. There was supposed to be a storm coming, but it never happened, so firefighters got to two-thirds containment on the monster fire, still the second largest in the state. Fire managers say they had minimal fire behavior yesterday and they were able to get debris cleaned up in some areas. Crews were also able to do work to protect natural resources in Humboldt and Trinity counties, and they say, to prevent further harm. Managers also say they’re continuing suppression efforts that can help get folks back into the area. The fire so far has burned over 25,000 acres and is 67% contained.

The Mendocino County Wildfire Recovery and Resiliency Survey is ready for residents to fill out. They’ve been working on the survey a couple of years looking for feedback on recovery and continuing needs of fire survivors. The Department of Prevention, Recovery, Resiliency, & Mitigation (PRRM) is looking for feedback after five years of destructive wildfires in the area going back to the 2017 Redwood Complex fire, the Mendocino Complex fire in 2018, the August Complex and Oak fires of 2020, and the Hopkins fire, last summer. Other concerns about fire mitigation efforts in the county for those not directly harmed by a declared wildfire disaster.

After reports of a motorcyclist down between Ukiah and Hopland earlier this week, more details emerge about the crash. The accident on Sunday morning happened, the CHP reports, after a white SUV tried to merge onto the 101 south at Talmage Rd. when a blue Harley Davidson was also at the onramp. The SUV apparently headed the wrong way onto the highway, hitting the motorcycle. The motorcyclist was killed, and the driver of the SUV was uninjured. They stayed on the scene though. Reports say that drugs and alcohol were not considered to be factors in the crash.

If you need records from Mendocino County, you’re going to pay for it. The Board of Supervisors has approved charging money for records requests. But get this… after some local media complaints about the costs, the Board approved of a separate fund of grant money to cover those requests. Mendocino Voice, which was one of the organizations speaking out reports the ordinance is not legal per the California Public Records Act. If you’re requesting records from the county, it’s $20/hour for a search of records considered to be public domain, which up to $150/hour for records that may need redactions. And the county will have to give the requester a good faith estimate of how long it’ll take if it’s over $50. The first hour is free, but only once a month for the same person or organization. Apparently the county’s following guidance by the state attorney general.

A church that ignored pandemic related safety restrictions by continuing to hold mass gatherings and accrued $200,000 in fines is off the hook. A state appeals court ruled Calvary Chapel San Jose and its pastors who were held in contempt of court and ordered to pay massive fines because they violated indoor public gathering limits in 2020 and 2021. The Appeals court ruled to overturn the lower court decisions after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against the state’s ban on indoor worship as COVID-19 continued raging across the state, saying it violated freedom of religion. But Santa Clara County says they’ll still be going after $2.3 million in penalties from the church for breaking COVID safety rules in late 2020.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors looks poised to take up concerns by the Grand Jury about mismanagement and delays of the equity cannabis grant program. The General Government committee, which meets monthly will now oversee the program, something Cannabis advocates have wanted for a while. The state funded program is to help folks in the cannabis industry who were impacted by the federal government’s war on drugs. The board asked to approve an amendment to an agreement with Elevate Impact for work they did last year and weren’t paid for. It all comes after the Grand Jury report entitled “Building the Airplane While It’s Flying”. At the meeting Tuesday the county counsel said the board could end the program it wanted to.

After a shooting on Highway 20, the name of the victim who died has been revealed. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports 52-year-old Daniel Martin Shealor of Fort Bragg was murdered Friday morning. He apparently got himself to the hospital somehow but died at the hospital that day. No other info was released. Mendo Fever reports a friend of the victim has set up a fund for his cremation because she’s $750 dollars short. Donations are being accepted for the cremation through Cashapp at $crystallaviletta.

The kelp forests off the Mendocino coast are starting to recover with improved environmental conditions – and thanks to a conservation program that sent divers to remove 45-thousand pounds of invasive purple sea urchins. The urchins have devastated the once massive bull kelp forests, leaving a lifeless barren behind. Dan Abbott with the Reef Check Foundation says this is the first large-scale kelp-restoration project of its kind in northern California.

 :10  “It’s not back to where it was, say pre-2015. It’s still only about 20% of the historical average. But again, it’s only like a year and a half in. And it’s a very encouraging result.”

Tag:  The purple sea-urchin population has exploded in the last eight years or so, partially because a wasting disease has decimated their chief predator, the sea star. In addition, the area has no sea otters to keep the urchins in check – because the otters were hunted to extinction in the early 19-hundreds.


Second Cut: Sheila Semans with the Noyo Center for Marine Science in Fort Bragg says the kelp forests are crucial habitat for hundreds of species.

 :14  “The sea lions hunt in it, the abalone eat it, the rockfish hide in it. There’s just so many ecosystem services that it provides. On top of that, it sequesters carbon, and it buffers wave action along the coast. “

Tag:  The Noyo Center also is working to create a new fishery for purple urchins, which can be fattened up in an aquaculture facility and sold. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says it plans to develop a comprehensive statewide Kelp Recovery and Management Plan over the next 5 to 10 years.

After inmates jailed in Lake County during the pandemic triggered changes in the system… the Grand Jury has adjusted their reporting. The report “Confinement During a Pandemic: A Report on Inmate Health” was revised to show changes have been made at the jail, especially the report outlines, in the area of behavioral health. The cost of healthcare for inmates is over $2,500,000/year in the county. But the Grand Jury said even still they were getting feedback about maltreatment of inmates. The report showed the main problem was with the company providing healthcare for the inmates, Wellpath. They found there was no in person psychiatric counseling available nor were there any group sessions due to the pandemic. The jury report says counseling sessions need to be done in person, plus there needs to be follow up care for patients, and better management. They request the Public Health Dept. oversee healthcare agreements at the jail.

The Legislature is considering a bill so labor conflicts at fast food chains, falls to the corporation, not individual franchisees. Something that would be a first, in the nation. The bill says workers would be allowed to name the chain as the responsible party if a worker claims minimum wage violations or unpaid overtime at a franchise location. And also the franchisee would have a path to sue a restaurant chain if their contract had clauses so they had no choice but to violate labor law. It looks to appease unions who want fast food businesses more strictly regulated. There could also be a state-run, fast food council that would set wage and labor standards across the industry.

The California Department of Justice is not saying it its reviewed body camera footage of a deputy-involved shooting near Geyserville. A Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy shot and killed an immigrant farmworker who they say was armed with a hammer, a gardening tool and a rock. The Department of Justice says they’re not investigating the July 29th shooting but didn’t say they decided against it after reviewing body-cam footage from the involved deputies. A state law that went into effect last year says the California Attorney General and Department of Justice have to investigate law enforcement officers who use deadly force against unarmed civilians. The DOJ says the man who was shot and killed did not appear to be unarmed.

More fraud regarding payments that went out in the state during the lockdown. A review of California’s Rental Assistance Program by the State Controller Betty Yee shows widespread fraud. Just like the Employment Development Dept. Documents released by the Controller on the Housing and Community Development’s payments last year showed potentially fraudulent applications worth as much as 18 million dollars and about seven million was disbursed. The assistance program was put in place in March of 2021 to give eligible residents financial help with rent and utilities amid the COVID pandemic.