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As we head into one of the busiest weekends for travel, the CHP is once again beefing up patrols. The maximum enforcement period starts tonight around dinner time, at 6:01 p.m. ending 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 27. The CHP Commissioner says with every holiday, they work to keep drivers safe as they head out to gatherings with friends and family, and that they’ll take necessary action or give help as needed for those who may be stranded on the side of the road. They’re also going to educate motorists and enforce laws across the state, as well as watch for unsafe driving, including impaired or distracted driving, unsafe speed, and people not wearing seat belts.

Poachers have reportedly left behind a couple of elk in an area where newly released Condors frequent. The Northern California Condor Restoration Program has x-rayed the elk which were illegally killed and says one of the animals had enough lead in it to kill several condors. They say if someone had not reported the poached animals as soon as they did, there might have been dead condors too. The manager of the program and Yurok Wildlife Department Manager says the condors could have consumed meat from the dead elk and died. He says at least four of the recently released condors were “less than a 10-minute flight” from where the poaching took place. All of the meat with lead in it was removed from the area.

After 3 major crashes a local trucking company has settled a case with the federal government. Steve Wills Trucking and Logging crashed on Hwy 20 between January of 2020 and December of 2021 causing raw milk to spill into waterways. In one of the crashes, the driver died. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the settlement for violations of the Clean Water Act. In the first instance, in January of 2020, a tanker with raw milk crashed near Glenhaven, overturned and went down an embankment, releasing milk into Clear Lake. In April of that year, there was a second incident near Clearlake Oaks, again releasing raw milk into Clear Lake, and in the third, also in Lake County a truck went down an embankment into Grizzly Creek. The drivers were cited in two of the incidents, the third is being investigated, as the driver was killed.

As we head into the holiday weekend, the Redwood Empire Foodbank reports an unprecedented demand. They say they’re also trying to meet family needs as the cost of food is rising. They say the number of households relying on the foodbank doubled between October of 2020 and October of 2021. In the year-plus since then, demand is up another 38-percent. Redwood Empire Foodbank is the largest hunger relief program in the North Bay. Organizers are expecting to spend 50-percent more money on food this year compared to last year.

The Lake County Public Health Office says they’re concerned of a potential for a major increase in respiratory illnesses this holiday season. They report more respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), flu, common cold, COVID, which they say can impact healthcare overall locally. The agency says they’re mostly concerned about all of the illnesses happening at once in young children or elderly members who may not be able to access care. The office says healthcare facilities should think about expanding their capacity for the evaluation and treatment of pediatric patients so any increase in patient volume can be managed.

Not a lot of meaty crab on holiday tables this year. There’s a temporary restriction on recreational crab traps, but it’s supposed to be lifted Monday. Perhaps in time for Christmas… The California Department of Fish and Wildlife says there were only three humpback whales in the area earlier this month, so the risk of entanglement isn’t as great. So, the crab trap restriction is being lifted for the northernmost parts of the coast, but it’s staying in place for other zones until the middle of next month, south of Point Arena. There were 39 humpbacks in that area just a couple weeks ago. They’re also looking at the quality of crab meat. If it meets muster, the fishery will open Dec.16th, with the obligatory 64-hour gear setting period starting Dec. 13th.

They’re adding two weeks onto the schedule of the downtown ice rink in Ukiah. The Community Services Supervisor says it takes up to four days to make enough ice for skating and since the city has all of the needed equipment to operate the rink, they only need to hire a contractor for electricity. There was a glitch with their Tesla chargers last week, but they’re online in time for opening day this weekend. It’s the seventh year they’re had the ice rink in town, and this year they’re opening early, instead of the first Saturday of December. And the season will continue until the middle of January.

The pandemic really did a number on enrollment at California State Universities which continues. Apparently, there are less transfers from community colleges even though freshman numbers have bounced back to near their pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. The Interim Chancellor says they have to give the challenge their immediate attention and be nimble and creative adapting. The latest undergraduate enrollment was off again, at about 404,820, down around 17,500 students than the year before. Besides less new transfer students, the Chancellor reported more full-time students were also changing to part-time.

Due to security reasons, we don’t know where the Governor and his family are for the holiday weekend. The Governor left Sunday for travel, but the location of where the Newsom family is was secret and won’t be revealed until he gets back. The California Highway Patrol made the decision not to divulge the family’s travel plans, but apparently, it’s out of state. The situation unfolded this way after his summer trip to see his in-laws in Montana. That’s one of nearly 2 dozen states for which California banned state-funded travel because of discriminatory policies for LGBTQ+ people. Newsom reportedly paid for the trip with personal funds, but did maintain a taxpayer-funded security detail.

They’re finally getting a new welcome sign at Woodland Community College’s Lake County Campus in Clearlake. Lake Co News reports the new college entrance sign will be constructed by a company out of Sacramento, who will also make the one for Woodland Community College. The signs will also include the ability to post digital messages for the public, students, faculty, and staff. The LED sign at Woodland has failed a bunch and doesn’t work anymore. And the one at the Lake County campus, is made of wood, peeling and fading. Plus there’s no way to post messages on it. The new sign will allow those driving along Dam Road Extension to see messages about upcoming events and important activities at the campus.

The new Kids of Caltrans campaign is starting and looks to spur drivers to slow down for Caltrans workers and help keep roads safe. The new public awareness campaign is supposed to be impactful. It started this week as part of a partnership with the California Office of Traffic Safety and the California Highway Patrol. There are pictures of children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews of Caltrans workers in the “Move Over” campaign. The video messages will be shown all across the state until the end of next January. It’s to also bring awareness to the highway workers, law enforcement officers, emergency personnel and tow truck drivers killed or injured along California’s roadways every year.

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