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A solo car crash has killed the driver in Willits. Details are sparse at the moment. What we do know is several regional law enforcement agencies were on the scene last Friday afternoon. They say someone in a GMC Yukon was traveling north on Sherwood Road, south of Birch Street and for some reason they missed a turn, crossed the double yellow lines, went off the road and spun around and rolled, and hit a tree. The CHP in Garberville is investigating and say they don’t know yet if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash. The California Highway Patrol, Little Lake Fire Department, Brooktrails Fire Department, Willits Fire Department, and the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department were all on the scene.

After reports in the area of some sort of disturbance, Mendocino Deputies arrested a man. They say they got a call to the 1700 block of Tanya Lane in Ukiah by a woman who says she was physically assaulted by the father of her children. Deputies say 41-year-old Pedro Cortez-Ayala was accused of pushing the woman and threatening her. They say she had visible injuries on one of her arms so they arrested Cortez-Ayala for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Felony Criminal Threats, and Prevent/Dissuade a Witness/Victim by Threat or Force. He was being held on $25,000.00 bail.

A pair of people in Ukiah have been arrested after Deputies on routine patrol saw a suspicious vehicle and approached. The PatrolDeputy says the driver, Odessa Oneil had a big blanket in the back seat, and they saw it moving slightly. They denied anything was up with that, but the Deputy was apparently concerned for their own safety, so they lifted the blanket. Under it was another person, who gave a phony name. The Deputy later identified the passenger as Lee Long who had an active Felony PRCS warrant and was on Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) with multiple terms, so he was searched. The Deputy found pepper spray on him, so he was arrested for violating his release terms, having the pepper spray and falsely impersonating another. Oneill was arrested for Delaying Obstructing or Resisting a Peace Officer During the Performance of his Duties and Harboring, Aiding or Concealing a Subject Wanted for a Felony.

It’s Transgender Awareness Week and Lake County Behavioral Health Services invites residents to join in spotlighting the campaign along with Transgender Day of Remembrance on Sunday. The first time we had Transgender Day of Remembrance was back in 1999, it’s now recognized in more than 20 countries. The day honors Rita Hester, a transgender woman who was murdered in Allston, Massachusetts in 1998. On November 20, we remember transgender individuals who have lost their lives. Last year was the highest number of violent fatal incidents against transgender and gender non-conforming people with 57 deaths, the highest since they started monitoring in 2015. In Lake County they remind at Behavioral Health Services, their doors are open to all, regardless of gender identity, and say it’s a haven of safety and security.

For more information, please contact Lake County Behavioral Health Services at 707-274-9101 or 707-994-7090.

If you are a transgender person of any age, support is also available via the Trans Lifeline, at 877-565-8860. Visit for more information.

An Assemblyman is working to get a new monument built to honor Native Americans in the capital. Assemblymember James Ramos along with some area tribal leaders and others broke ground yesterday in Capitol Park to recognize Native Americans whose ancestral lands the Capitol now sits on. It comes during Native American Heritage Month. California has the most Native American residents than any other state. And Ramos is the first California Native American elected to the Legislature since statehood, 172 years ago. The new statue will be in place of the Junipero Serra sculpture.

The first death of the winter season due to the flu in a child who also had RSV. The California Department of Public Health announced the death of a child under 5 due to flu and respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. The agency says young children are the most vulnerable to severe complications from RSV and the flu. They say it’s made worse if the child has other underlying conditions or was born premature. They remind to vaccinate your entire household against the flu and COVID to boost immunity and lower the risk of severe outcomes.

A reward is being offered in Laytonville after some automated temperature sensing gauges were reported stolen. Apparently, the devices were in a UPS box at a rural home where they were awaiting pickup from the Eel River Recovery Project. Those who were burglarized say it’s a loss of about $1500, and a major loss of temperature data from the upper South Fork Eel River, something they’ve been doing for a decade to watch coho salmon in one of their last strong-holds in the Eel River watershed. They’re offering a $100 reward – no questions asked. The plan is, if whoever took them, and puts them back in the box where they were, they will put a $100 bill in the box. They say they don’t care who took them, they just want them back. For more information or help with getting gauges back, please contact ERRP Managing Director Pat Higgins at 707 223-7200.

Mendocino County’s dealing with a major staffing crisis per SEIU Local 1021. The union says there are vacancies in many departments, especially having to do with healthcare or social services. There’s a nearly 30% vacancy rate for public health nurses, 40% for Family & Children’s Services Social Workers, a 20% vacancy rate for Employment & Family Assistance eligibility specialists, a whopping 70% vacancy rate for mental health clinicians and road crew positions are at a 32% vacancy rate. The union says it means Mendocino County’s most vulnerable residents — including abused and neglected children, seniors, and people with disabilities — are not getting the services they need in a timely manner. And the county has acknowledged it may have to let some county roads go back to dirt or gravel roads because they cannot maintain them.

Solar panels are being installed at Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital for their carports. Over 150 spaces in the front parking lot will be powered by the sun. Visitors at the hospital and various clinics might have to find a way around the work for now as they close off the parking spots. The patient drop-off near the entrance for the ER will remain open. The carports will feature EV charging stations too as part of the hospital’s commitment to Planetree, which is a nonprofit global healthcare forum which created the global standard for person-centered health care. The hospital also says the new solar generated panels will reduce the hospital’s carbon footprint.

It’s Plowshares anniversary. For the organization’ 39th anniversary, they are inviting the public to come in for their Traditional Thanksgiving Feast in the Community Dining Room from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thanksgiving Day. Plowshares Executive Director says they will have all the same feast items they have for dining room guests, and for their Meals-On-Wheels seniors. You can sit in the dining room or take a meal to-go too. They are also accepting donations weekdays from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A woman accused of arson in Clearlake Oaks has accepted a plea deal, and the court agreed. It’s up to a judge to decide if they too will accept a plea deal, and in the case of Elizabeth Brannon, it was a yes. She was at the court and entered a no contest plea to arson of an inhabited structure/property; and admitted a special allegation charge of arson causing great bodily injury. She earlier denied all of the allegations and pleaded not guilty but changed her mind. She was examined by mental health professionals, then was back in court over the summer. The charges against her included aggravated arson, arson (inhabited structure),
causing fire (inhabited structure), possessing material for arson, being under the influence of a controlled substance and carrying a concealed dirk/dagger in another matter. A fire she was accused of setting damaged five of the six structures that were lit up.

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