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Disaster declarations have been granted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for crop losses for various counties including Lake and Mendocino due to late freezes last spring. The Secretarial disaster designation also includes Butte, Glenn, Napa, Tehama, Trinity and Yolo. This means there are emergency farm loans for physical and crop production losses of up to $500,000 for the April freeze. Like the pandemic, there are also SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans available for small, non-farm businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, and most private non-profits of any size. The application deadline is July 5, 2023.

To apply: Contact the local Farm Service Agency (FSA) office in Ukiah at 707-468-9223. Hearing-impaired individuals should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at 202-720-2600.

Additional information can be found at the USDA website: https://www.fsa.usda.gov/programs-and-services/farm-loan-programs/index

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife is reopening some of its license sales offices for the first time since 2020 due to COVID-19. Hunters, anglers and others can go in person to any of the sales offices to buy hunting and fishing licenses, tags, report cards, hunt applications, lands passes, Warden Stamps and other offerings. License sales and customer service folks are available by phone, mail, fax, email and internet.

Locations and hours are available on CDFW’s website. But you may also be able to get them through an independent license sales agent, like a sporting goods store, large discount store, or bait and tackle shop.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office is reminding we are in flu season, and with that, a rise in cases of the flu, RSV, and Covid-19 cases are expected across the country. The agency says in Mendocino County flu and cold season is here early, and there is a rise in the number of infants and toddlers getting seriously ill. They also remind there are flu and Covid vaccines available at county vaccine clinics, pharmacies, community health centers, and doctor’s offices. A reminder the viruses affect everyone including very young children, and most severely for the less than 2 year olds.

A new housing development aimed at getting people off the streets in Fort Bragg, has opened. The rent-subsidized Plateau is housing nearly 70 people including families and the elderly. There are one- and two-bedroom stand-alone units and two-story duplexes for families. It also includes meeting and activity areas, including basketball courts. The development has “permanent supportive housing” and was about $27 million dollars. The rent varies for tenants from $452 — $1,048.month. Applications opened last spring and those chosen had to go through a rigorous process to be accepted. There are 300 senior applicants on the waitlist.

The Mendocino County Grand Jury’s report on the school district has shed a light on special education services. After interviews with some parents, the Mendocino Voice reported some kids just weren’t getting the attention they needed to succeed. Over the summer, the County’s Civil Grand Jury found the Special Education program was not up to par. The report said the district was not providing mandated services. Some families filed complaints, and the district settled with them, but the families who sued never got their settlements. The Grand Jury also surmised that the school district was disincentivized to give proper services to students with disabilities because it was complex and expensive. But the Mendocino Voice reported the district’s board disagreed and has yet to put into practice any of the recommendations.

The Mendocino Planning Commission has taken on short-term rentals, changing zoning regulations. Last week the 5 member panel voted to classify a single-family residence or accessory dwelling for transient living as ‘Transient Habitation – Lodging (Limited)’, which is actually a commercial use.  This means anyone renting their place needs to get a Major Use Permit. At the meeting we also learned about 3% of all homes in the county are being used as vacation rentals. It was also noted, due to the amount of vacation home conversions, less homes are being built, a net loss over ten years of about 200 homes built. Some at the meeting were urging more homes to be built to address the shortage.

California’s take from the sale of recreational cannabis is down for third quarter. As of last Wednesday, the total cannabis tax revenue for the third quarter came in at $242 million. That included the excise tax, which was pegged at about $128.4 million and $113.6 million in sales tax revenue. The total wasn’t folding in the outstanding returns, or any local taxes cities and counties collected. The second quarter for the year was just under $300 million, including the excise tax, cultivation tax, and sales taxes. The state has made $4.4 billion dollars since 2018 in total tax revenue from the sale of cannabis which includes the cultivation tax which the state stopped in July.

It was a record… Even though we were dealing with extreme heat and severe drought, the state had less of a fire season than some thought. An area of about 362,400 acres burned this year, compared to over 2.5 million acres last year. The Governor announced last week in Napa the end of the peak wildfire season. With that, the news, of smaller acreage burned, due in part to major investments in forest health and resilience projects and a bigger firefighting fleet. But some say it was more about a stroke of luck. And this year was more deadly. There were nine deaths in 2022, compared to three deaths in 2021. The biggest fire this year was the 77,000-acre Mosquito fire in Placer and El Dorado counties, compared to last year’s biggest blaze, the 963,000-acre Dixie fire.

The Gov. says yes to give $1 billion from the state budget to fund homelessness housing after pulling it from local governments he deemed unworthy because they weren’t being aggressive enough housing the un-housed. At a meeting Friday with mayors and other local officials, he set out the goals. Newsom said it was good to hear about all the progress being made, and the acknowledgment that the state needed to step up its game cleaning up the streets. Just a couple of weeks ago Newsom put the $1 billion dollars on pause telling cities and counties they needed better plans, and that the ones that he’d been sent were “simply unacceptable”. Those working to solve the problem said the pause was counterproductive.

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