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The yearly burn ban for Lake County is over. As 8:00 am, you’ll be able to burn again with a permit and many caveats. Cal Fire says wildfire risk is way down due to recent rains, but you will need burn permits for all outdoor burning in the Lake County Air Basin, which you can pick up at your local Fire Protection District. There is also a Smoke Management Plan required for burns that you’re planning over several days, overnights or standing vegetation burns, whole tree or vine removal, burns over 20 acres, and any other burn where there might be a lot of smoke. Check out the Smoke Management Plan at the Lake County Air Quality Management District office. But call ahead for an appointment.

More than 200,000 dollars has been awarded to local animal welfare groups from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. The Animal Welfare Grant Program from the Foundation donated $208,000 to support groups caring for pets and wildlife. The grants from $2,500 to $80,000 were based on the organization itself and how they operate. The money went to county shelters, private veterinary clinics, nonprofits, and state wildlife offices. Some of the larger organizations have been dealing with challenges like supply chain issues, staffing challenges, and lost revenue due to canceled fundraisers. The money made possible through the foundation thanks to the Jacob-Woods Animal Care Fund.

Less water for Agriculture use reported at the latest Redwood Valley County Water District Board of Directors meeting. On November 17th the Board met and said there is still enough water left for ag use which has to be used by the end of the year. Since we’re in for another dry year, they say it’s a good time to fill ponds for use for frost protection next spring. They say they’re working on better determining the amount of ag water customers are using in the future. They say some folks have contracts for more water than they use, but there’s been no way to track unused water. They also discussed the draft working document for the consolidation of water for the City of Ukiah, Redwood Valley, Millview, Willow, and Calpella Water Districts.

Cigarette maker R.J. Reynolds along with others are going to the U.S. Supreme Court to get an emergency order so California won’t ban flavored tobacco products after all. But the will of the voters is at stake here as they passed the ban in something of a landslide earlier this month. There was also a ban two years ago by the state legislature, but it never happened after tobacco companies petitioned to get it on a ballot. That backfired after almost two-thirds of voters approved of the ban of cotton-candy vaping juice to menthol cigarettes. It’s supposed to go into effect by Dec. 21st. But in their last-ditch effort, the cigarette manufacturers filed a federal lawsuit to challenge the ban, then the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals denied the company’s emergency motion, so it’s off to the Supremes next.

Xmas is kicking off early in Downtown Kelseyville with the yearly Christmas in the Country and Parade of Lights. On Friday, the “Christmas in Toyland” celebration kicks off at 5:30 p.m. with the merchant open house. Then it’s the Parade of Lights tour through downtown. They’re having pictures with Santa, of course. That’s over at Lady Luck Garage until 8:30 p.m., featuring hot cocoa, cider and cookies, plus loads of food, including pizza, chili, tamales and more. 

The Noyo Food Forest needs the community’s help. They need volunteers to pop over to help pull weeds, plant seedlings, and perform other garden maintenance. The location is behind Fort Bragg High School.

The Food Bank is asking for help providing them with more bags. They ask if you have any extra Harvest Market bags to bring them back so they can be filled for the holidays. Staff there ask for them to be dropped off at the North end of Franklin.

A new report says over seven-thousand convicted pedophiles have been released from California prisons. The report of almost 55,000 convicted sex offenders since 2019. It showed many were released after serving under one year. And that goes for predators who were found guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child. The data released also showed 76-percent of them committed crimes involving children. At last count there were almost 62-thousand offenders in the state.

That major strike going on at UC campuses statewide had a breakthrough, postdoctoral scholars and academic researchers reportedly reached a tentative agreement. That will give them more pay and cost-of-living increases. But apparently, they’re not jumping back into work so quick, instead they’re staying away from campuses in solidarity with around 36,000 graduate student workers still on strike. The union says they’re happy they were able to reach agreements for some, which will improve their quality of life, but now’s the time for UC to make concessions to Academic Student Employees and Student Researchers to reach fair agreements to recognize the contributions those workers make.

There was no Board of Supervisors meeting in Mendocino County last week or this week. But in the latest report to the Supervisors from the CEO, they got an update on recent labor negotiations. CEO Darcie Antle said all eight of the Memos of Understandings with labor unions for county employees were all expiring. She reported only three of the eight had reached an agreement with the county: the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the Mendocino County Law Enforcement Management Association, and the Mendocino County Association of Confidential Employees. The report said many were looking for higher wages so the county doesn’t lose them and to attract new people, for which the County agrees, per Antle. But before it’s possible, Antle says they have to fix the salary system and health insurance and address other structural issues.

The relief checks going out to the middle class in California are up to more than $5 billion so far. The latest data is that 19 million eligible residents and their families got the stimulus money for inflation relief. The amount adds up to over half of the total payouts that are being made. The rest should reach bank accounts or mailboxes by the beginning of next year. The so-called Middle Class Tax Refund adds up to $9.5 billion dollars. As we reported yesterday, the payments are between $200-$300 for most, and up to $1,050 depending on tax filing status from 2020 income tax returns and whether or not recipients have claimed dependents.

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