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As we hit the two week mark from the General Election, the Mendocino County Elections Office says not much has changed. Susan Sher is still way ahead in the Ukiah City Council race. Sher had over 1,700 votes for about 22% of the overall vote, ahead of incumbent Mari Rodin who had 1,636 votes just under 22%. The other incumbent Juan Orozco was just behind Rodin with 1,585 votes for 21.05 percent. Those three will get seats unless it changes drastically in the next two weeks. Sher will fill Jim Brown’s seat. He was running, but was in fourth place and there were only 3 seats open. Also on the ballot, Measures O and P were passing. O had 60-percent “yes” votes and P had about 55-percent for “yes”.

Cal Fire has awarded some new grants to maintain healthy and resilient forests. The agency’s Wood Products and Bioenergy Team distributed $14 million in new grants to non-profits, family businesses, wood products manufacturing facilities, and county and local governments. The 10 grants to help those bestowed with the awards to build infrastructure to have the capacity to sustainably manage California’s forests as part of the state’s Wildfire and Forest Resilience Action Plan. Since the beginning of the year Cal Fire has awarded $54 million through the program.  The grants come from the state’s General Fund. They are also accepting new grant applications. Visit CAL FIRE’s Wood Products and Bioenergy webpage for details.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is in today, Mendocino Supervisors are off this week. In Lake, Supervisors are hearing an analysis on proposed new rates for Middletown sewer customers. The Board will be sitting as the Sanitation District Board of Directors and hear from the Special Districts Administrators on the new rate structure which they’ve adjusted since sewer rates were adopted in 1995. The rates were supposed to be adjusted and considered around the time the Valley Fire broke out, but it was postponed. There were several disasters after that. Last year they picked it back up again and will discuss at their meeting today and have a public hearing after Thanksgiving.

A man from Ukiah’s been arrested for drugs and having a flare gun. Police say they stopped a car in a Willits grocery store parking lot because of an expired registration, and other equipment violations. The driver, Steven Lawson admitted he didn’t have a driver’s license. So when the officer when to check his information his partner saw the guy playing with a plastic baggy with white crystal like powder on his lap. Lawson was then detained. Cops then found a live flare gun round in his pocket with ammunition for it too. Since it’s considered a firearm, and the white powder turned out to be 22 grams of meth, he was booked into jail for possessing a controlled substance, possessing a firearm, possessing a controlled substance while armed and being a felon in possession of ammunition.

Congress has passed the FEMA Improvement, Reform and Efficiency (or Fire) Act. Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson, along with Zoe Lofgren, the Chair of the California Democratic Congressional Delegation and Jimmy Panetta celebrated the passage. It will update the Stafford Act which was passed to govern Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to improve wildfire preparedness and its response programs. That was one reason firefighters would be proactively deployed as red flag warnings are forecasted. Huffman says as climate change worsens the Fire Act is an important step forward. Thompson noted the state was on the frontlines of the climate crisis with wildfires and drought threatening communities.

A man from Ukiah has been arrested for carjacking and elder abuse. Police say Eric Norton Smith was the suspect in a carjacking yesterday morning behind Staples on Airport Park Blvd. A 78-year-old woman told police an unknown man demanded a ride to the hospital and when she tried to shut her car door, he stuck an aluminum baseball bat into the door, preventing her from closing it, then pulled her out of the car and took off. Someone randomly called the CHP at the same time to report a car driving erratically on northbound Hwy. 101 with damage that looked pretty new. The car matched the description of the carjacked vehicle. Officers caught up to Smith, a transient and took him to the hospital, where he was booked. He also had a warrant for his arrest.

Lake County’s unemployment ticked back up slightly. With the latest jobless rates, California has recovered all of the jobs lost during the COVID recession. October’s numbers showed Lake up to 4.5% in October from 4.3% in September. Mendocino was super low though at just 3.3% unemployed. The Employment Development Department reported all of the nearly 2,760,000 jobs lost in lockdowns are back. But most of the industries showed a reduction in force, but not in mining, logging or construction. There were an additional 56,000 jobs added in October, 30,800 jobs above the pre-pandemic total of February 2020.

More info on PG&E’s Fire Victims Trust has been released and Congressman Mike Thompson has updated us on that and his related legislation. Thompson reported on the Fire Victims Trust which had to be set up after the utility claimed bankruptcy a few years ago. It was to go to those most impacted by the wildfires believed to have been ignited by PG&E’s equipment failures. Thompson also said he doesn’t think fire survivors should have to pay taxes on their settlement funds, which is the cornerstone of his legislation. He says he’s been working with the IRS on the matter and says there are some existing tax provisions that can help defer or fully offset the Fire Victim Trust payment taxes.

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