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A fire in the Ukiah region triggered evacuation warnings that were rescinded fairly quick.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.

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