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Monthly Archives: December 2022

They’ve opened up a local assistance center after that destructive earthquake in Humboldt County. The City of Rio Dell is hosting the center for those impacted by the 6.4 that hit last Tuesday, December 20th. The Humboldt County Office of Emergency Services and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services are partnering for the center at Monument Middle School. It’ll be open today and tomorrow for residents to register for help from multiple agencies who will have representatives there. It’s not only for people living in Rio Dell, it’s for all who may have had damage or destruction caused by the temblor. The mayor says they will be there for the community, to help people “pick up the pieces”. She and other officials say immigration status will not be taken into account for victims.

There’s new life being breathed into the old Kmart building in Lakeport. It’s been three years since it became a victim of the massive closure nationwide including Sears stores. Lake Co News reports at the last Planning Commission meeting of the year, an architect’s application for a use permit was approved for the architectural and design review. The plan is to renovate, then subdivide the nearly 91,000 square foot space into three leased spots, two will be taken up by a new Marshalls store, and the third will be occupied by a Tractor Supply Co., which will be the second location in Lake County. Kmart closed after being in that spot for nearly 3 decades.

It’s the end of the road for the State Fire Marshal. Chief Michael J. Richwine says he’s retiring from Cal Fire’s Office of the State Fire Marshal. He’s been with the agency for 36 years and has been a firefighters for 42 years. He was appointed to the top spot by Governor Gavin Newsom in May of 2020. He was first a firefighter in the Hanford Fire Dept., then rose through the ranks in various positions including as a trainer, Deputy State Fire Marshal, Hazardous Materials and Pipeline Safety Division, chief of state fire training, and chief of the Fire Engineering Division. Today is the chief’s last day.

Cow Mountain in Ukiah is closed to the public. The Bureau of Land Management has closed the management area due to the heavy rain and oversaturation of the ground. The South Cow Mountain website says the Management Area is temporarily closed due to heavy precipitation and poor road and trail conditions with a phone number to call for more information, 707-468-4000.

2 people in Fort Bragg have been arrested after reports about a woman who had violated her probation staying in a hotel in town. Police headed to the hotel on Main St. on Wednesday looking for Rachel Hunt, where they saw her with a bunch of pills and multiple bags of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. With her, was Daniel Sanchez, also of Fort Bragg, who gave cops a phony name. They found he also had a felony warrant for a parole violation. The two were taken to jail after officers found evidence of possible drug sales including, prescription meds, marijuana, small plastic baggies and metal knuckles. Some of the charges against the pair included violating their probations, possession of a controlled substance for sale, possession of drug paraphernalia, possession of metal knuckles and providing false ID to a police officer.

We are still getting pounded by rain in Mendocino County. The National Weather Service warns heavy showers will persist through tomorrow morning with rainfall totals in Mendocino County from 3.5 to 6 inches. The service also warns rivers are rising fast, with the Russian River near Hopland expected to reach 15 feet or flood stage by Saturday. That means there could be flooding of Highway 175 at the approaches to the Russian River bridge. Minor flooding is also expected on cropland on the west bank of the river. A Flood Watch is in effect for the Russian River near Hopland from late tonight to tomorrow afternoon. Navarro River near Navarro is forecast to rise today to 16 feet and peak at around 20 feet tomorrow night. Flooding for the Navarro is 23 feet, which we are not expected to see.

There’s still a chance to receive your inflation relief payment. The payments from the state started going out mid-November. The Middle-Class Tax Refund direct deposit payments have already been sent from the California Franchise Tax Board, who says the rest of the payments are being sent as debit cards and should be mailed out over the next two weeks. Those eligible who have not received their payments are folks who got a state-issued pandemic stimulus payment through direct deposit but changed their banking info after they filed their 2020 taxes. The agency says as of yesterday they had sent over 7 million direct deposits and more than 8 million debit cards worth $8.4 billion, most of the $9.5 billion to help defray the cost of gasoline, groceries, and other goods over recent months. Payments range from $200 to $1,050.

There are five free days at national parks in 2023. The U.S. National Park Service has free entrance days each year for the holidays and to celebrate milestones for natural preservation, like the anniversary of the 2020 Great American Outdoors Act. There are over 400 parks that qualify. The first free day is January 16th, the birthdate of Martin Luther King, Jr. Keep in mind, it’s only entrance fees that are free, you may have to pay for tours, camping and transportation. The other four days that are free are April 22nd, August 4th, which is the anniversary of the Great American Outdoors Act, Sept. 23rd and November 11th: Veterans Day.

A dramatic change of events for the Potter Valley Project as the Fed has a change of heart. PG&E has been planning to decommission the hydro-electric plant that diverts water from the Eel to the Russian River for some time. Now the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC, says it may reopen the license. The agency granted PG&E its annual license last April, but will apparently add requirements for wildlife protection and habitat monitoring proposed by the National Marine Fisheries Service in March. PG&E says there’s no evidence of harm from the decommissioning process. But FERC is accepting comments supporting and planning the reopening of the license as PG&E promises to send in the decommissioning documents by January of 2025. Also, PG&E has asked FERC if it can transfer some of its hydropower projects to Pacific Generation as a reorganization move.

Some information has been updated for folks displaced by the Dec. 20 earthquake in Humboldt County. The Red Cross Overnight Shelter remains open at the Fortuna Firemen’s Pavilion. The Red Cross also has dumpsters set up at Rio Dell City Hall after they gave out nearly 200 clean up kits. They ask not to dump hazardous materials there though. There’s still a Local Assistance Center opened at a middle school in Rio Dell (Monument). Also, the supply distribution site is moving to the Rio Dell Community Resource Center. If Rio Dell residents are having a hard time reaching their landlord for help with cleanup, they’re told to call the City itself. The boil water advisory was lifted. And anyone who gets CalFresh benefits and lost food can get replacement benefits. Donations are still being accepted at the Rio Dell Fire Dept who has set up a Venmo and GoFundMe for residents. Also, Pay it Forward Humboldt and the American Red Cross.

A man in Fort Bragg found hiding in a closet inside a business has been arrested after an alarm was set off. On Tuesday cops got a call to the commercial building on Main St. and saw a window had been broken on the side of the building. Inside they saw a backpack that was unique enough that the officer remembered who it belonged to, 29-year-old Peter Rose. He’d been involved in an earlier call with police, so the officer requested backup. They found the guy under cardboard in a closet and arrested him. Rose had some foreign coins in his pocket, apparently stolen from desks in the office.

A little extra to start the New Year. On their way out the door for the year, the Lake County Board of Supervisors voted to give themselves a hefty raise. At their last meeting of the year this week members voted for a 40% raise which will start in March. Supervisors have been making about $25,500 a year for some time and had discussed a raise last month. Now they’ll have it unless there’s a referendum against it. But there also has to be a second vote to put the pay raise in motion. If all goes as planned, supes will pocket an additional $2,100 a month. Also, at their meeting the Board said no, by a narrow margin, for a new senior substance abuse counselor to be hired.

There’s a flood watch in Lake County as the Atmospheric River dumped historic amounts of rain. The National Weather Service put out the watch for today starting at 4 p.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday. Another dumping is expected with as much as 4 inches of rain in lower elevations and some areas could reach a total of 7 inches at higher elevations over the coming week. Since the earth is already pretty wet, the increase of flooding comes as the water just lays on top of saturated soils. We could see the atmospheric rivers continuing into late next week with Lake County expecting almost 8 inches from today to Saturday.

In Mendocino County we also have a flood watch in effect, but it starts today at 4p and ends Saturday, New Year’s Eve at 10am. There’s also a hazardous weather alert in place.

A Calif. correctional officer is charged with using his power to get sexual favors from female inmates. Reports say Officer Greg Rodriguez would flirt with the inmates, especially one 30-year-old at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla who he’s accused of raping. He would lure them over the loudspeakers when they were in the recreation yard to the parole hearing room and victimize and rape them. That’s according to two federal civil rights lawsuits filed against him this month. The suits claim there was a code of silence within the prison which allowed the officer to pick off the women, before he was finally placed on leave, then retired. An investigation started in July, turning up 22 victims, but officials say there could be more.

The California Health Marketplace is open. Covered Calif. is telling those without health insurance they should sign up, especially now with the trio of respiratory illnesses this winter, RSV, the Flu and of course, COVID19. Californians who cannot afford it, can get help through the marketplace, also known as the Affordable Care Act. But they will need to sign up before the end of the year to be covered by Jan. 1st. Financial assistance is available on a sliding scale to reduce premiums.

If you’re worried about your property during this crazy rainstorm, you can get free sandbags. As we’re in the midst of flood watches and alerts, Friedman’s Home Improvement in Ukiah has 20 free sandbags and sand for anyone in need. You can also buy more if needed, but the sand is still free. Just go to the yard entrance at any of their locations. A caveat: you will have to fill your own bag. For more info, call the store manager.

The Dungeness Crab fishery is finally getting under way. Commercial crabbers can start fishing Saturday in Humboldt County, but negotiations over the price could delay things again. Crabbers are reportedly negotiating still with fish processors over the per pound price, so they may not have a deal in place until next week. Word it is could be about $4.75/pound. And the price could go higher depending on the amount of available crab. Plus add in inflation for other costs to crabbers like fuel, repairs and spare parts. South of the Sonoma-Mendocino County line, Humboldt County crabbers didn’t have to reduce their traps due to humpback whales.

A man accused of a double murder at a home in Northern Calif. considered a fugitive has been caught. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s dept reportedly saved a 4-year-old from the scene at a home in Eureka just after midnight Tuesday. The parents of the child were found dead after the tot’s screams were heard. Deputies had been searching for Russell Martin Albers in connection with the shooting. The Sheriff posted on Instagram “Great Police work and teamwork by our deputy sheriffs, dispatchers, California Highway Patrol, Bureau of Land Management, State Parks, EPD, and University police” who helped them nab Albers. They have not said what his relationship might have been with the couple, but witnesses identified him as the shooter.

Bond proposals on the General Election ballot last month means more money to schools. Voters approved about 2/3rds of the TK-12 and community college construction bond proposals. Of the 71 of 101 approved, 65 out of 94 TK-12 proposals and six of seven community college district ballot measures will bring in about $20 billion for renovations and new construction. Humboldt County lost almost $8 million for the Ferndale district though, they had many buildings in disrepair even before last week’s earthquake. Napa also lost by only a half point. Most of the bonds won in Southern California where some of the initiatives won more than 70% of the vote. Some of the districts say they’ll have to dip into COVID relief money for the repairs.

One of the largest wine-making companies in the US is suing their insurance company after damage to their properties from wildfires. Jackson Family Wines, who makes Kendall-Jackson, Arrowood and more sued in federal court claiming Zurich Insurance Co. had not paid anywhere near their policy claims for the Nuns, Tubbs and Pocket fires of 2017; the Kincade Fire of 2019; and the Glass Fire of 2020. The company says they’ve received less than $70 million dollars, or about 16% of their total losses they submitted invoices and proposals for. Jackson Valley has several wineries and around 15,000 acres of vines in Napa and Sonoma counties. They say the insurer was deliberating delaying open fire claims to avoid paying out.

A man from Ukiah’s behind bars after he was found by patrol officers with drugs, a knife, and a dirk/dagger. Deputies out on patrol Friday saw 30-year-old Kevin Worley driving a car and knew he had a suspended license and an active misdemeanor arrest warrant. Worley pulled over and was searched. He was found with a concealed dirk or dagger, suspected methamphetamine and suspected fentanyl and booked into jail on $18,500.00 bail.

After the atmospheric river ripped through Mendocino County the National Weather Service says it dropped about six inches of rain or more. The service reports there was heavy rain across the county, with the most at over six inches in Northwest Mendocino County at 3,100 feet. There were history making rain reports, over 1.9 inches fell on Woodley Island in Eureka, breaking its last record of 1.68 inches almost to the day, on Dec. 26, 1931. There were also strong winds that toppled a tree onto one person’s car while they sat at a campground in Humboldt County. The NWS had reported strong winds took down multiple trees across Humboldt, Del Norte and Mendocino counties.

The wildfire risk map is being updated in California. It’s the first time since 2007. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection or Cal Fire is having meetings to discuss the updated map next month in Sonoma, Lake, and Mendocino Counties. The department’s Wildfire Hazard Severity Zone Map still needs formal regulatory approval though. It currently shows more wildfire hazard areas within California than there were 15 years ago, including in unincorporated and rural areas.

A man is dead after a crash in Potter Valley. The California Highway Patrol reports 18-year-old Samuel Caldwell of Potter Valley was driving a 2016 Subaru Crosstrek on Eel River Road early Monday morning when for unknown reasons he went over the double yellows into opposing lanes of traffic. His car was hit head on by a 2001 Chevy Cavalier on Eel River Road. The CHP says Caldwell and another 18-year-old, also from Potter Valley, both had major injuries. The driver of the Chevrolet, a 19-year-old male, also from Potter Valley, also had major injuries. And a 28-year-old man in the Chevy who lives in Willits was killed. The CHP says they suspect alcohol was a “contributing factor in the crash”. They arrested Caldwell for suspicion of felony driving under the influence.

A slew of new laws go into effect like any other New Year. But for the first time ever in California, though, jaywalking will be decriminalized January 1st. For nearly 100 years, California had one of the strictest jaywalking laws in the country which included possible arrest and big fines. Now the “Freedom to Walk” Act gives more flexibility to pedestrians, at the same time saying careful judgment when crossing streets, if there is no immediate danger, and the pedestrian isn’t creating a hazard, is legal.

California is now considered the most populous state. According to a recent report by the U.S. Census Bureau, which also says the Golden State has lost over a half-million residents since April 1st of 2020. As of July 1st, of this year, California’s population was just over 39-million-29 thousand.

Federal law enforcement agencies being heralded by Congressman Mike Thompson, the Chair of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force on new rules regarding ghost guns. Lake County News reports Thompson, who now covers all of Lake County, is strongly supporting a move by the Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for new guidance on ghost guns which Thompson says criminals use because they’re untraceable and can be sold without a background check. The new rules come after the House’s Gun Violence Prevention Task Force pressured the ATF to enforce a rule against the use and sale of ghost guns.

The CHP has put out some guidance ahead of the New Year on public and traffic safety after the Governor signed some new bills into law regarding rules of the road. One of them lists who can legally sell recycled catalytic converters as the parts. The recyclers are now required to have documentation on the part and a copy of the vehicle title where the catalytic converter came from. It’s to bring down the amount of catalytic converter thefts in the state. Another is regarding speeding and reckless driving with more and more street racing in Calif. Anyone involved in sideshow activity, exhibition of speed, or speeding over 100 miles per hour resulting in a death can be charged with Vehicular Manslaughter with Gross Negligence. And the new “Feather Alert” will begin, like the Amber or Silver Alert, the Feather Alert is triggered when an indigenous person has been kidnapped, abducted, or reported missing under unexplained or suspicious circumstances, and specific criteria has been met to permit alert activation.

A power outage has been reported near Fort Bragg along Highway 20. As of last night there were about 140 or so customers were without power. Then about a half our later a small fire was reported with power lines down pretty close to the area, which was caused by severe weather. No estimated time of the power coming back on was immediately available.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has some events coming up in the New year. On January 10th, there will be a yearly meeting to go over general business and organization for 2023. You can attend on Zoom or the county’s YouTube channel. If you want to comment send an email to the Board of Supervisors through their eComment platform. Or leave a voicemail on their phone line. For details about the agenda, visit the Board’s website.

The yearly swearing in for the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors new members is set for the New Year. At their first meeting in 2023, next Tuesday, the Board will swear in newly elected members at 10 am. The County Assessor/Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Katrina Bartolomie will be conducting the Oaths of Office. Elected officials are being told to bring the Oath of Office they have already received, and if they didn’t get it to call the Registrar’s office. You can catch the swearing in ceremony on the County’s YouTube page.

The Palace Hotel in the news as it’s restored to its former glory. The Ukiah mainstay is being overhauled by architects and engineers from San Francisco known for recycling historic buildings. The historic preservation experts are going to get into the permitting process for the facelift, working with city officials and apparently applying too, through the state Historic Preservation Office. They’re eyeing a start of construction in about a year. The new owner says she’s putting one year into the plan, then after all approvals are secured the old hotel will be transformed into a visitor and retail center. Architects Page & Turnbull in San Francisco are collaborating. The first draft application of restoration plans are being sent to state Historic Preservation Office next month.

Some towns in Humboldt County are still picking up the pieces after the 6.4 earthquake rattled residents. The Sheriff William Honsal and the Office of Emergency Services manager Ryan Derby were at Thursday’s special board of supervisors meeting for an update. It had been canceled on Tuesday because it was the same day as the temblor. The Sheriff said the state of emergency was declared last week with an eye on keeping community members housed and safe. And Derby said they were coordinating with several agencies to get damage estimates. The board unanimously voted to ratify the state of emergency which will help expedite recovery efforts.

Congressman Mike Thompson lauded the latest government funding bill which he says had provisions he wrote on marriage and family therapists and telehealth to be included. It was due to COVID19 and lockdowns that many people needed to access care and couldn’t. Thompson said it’s essential to the wellbeing of the community to be able to get care including an expansion of the amount of mental health care providers to Medicare beneficiaries and for an expansion of telehealth since the COVID-19 pandemic. Thompson says the policies he was able to get into the government funding bill, will help communities get the care
they need, especially in underserved and hard-to-reach areas.

In Lake County a group serving teenagers donated some goods with the help of Santa for Christmas. Totes4Teens delivered stuffed duffle bags and Santa Bags worth about $350 to teenagers across Lake County. 131 teens in need received the items after the Totes4Teens committee spent all year getting the program together. The goods were delivered the Monday following Thanksgiving to the agencies and schools who were helping. Then they are able to get the teens their gifts during the winter/Christmas break. The group says many of the donated items were handmade, everything was brand new, size appropriate, and high quality.

Californians are being invited to nominate folks who have shown themselves to be leaders, and who have significantly contributed to a healthier Calif. The California State Park and Recreation Commission (SPRC) is giving the Golden Bear Award to residents who have helped preserve the state’s natural and cultural resources and created opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. The award recognizes these people each summer. The Commission gives out the award to five individuals – one statewide and one per division (Northern, Coastal, Central, Southern). The 2023 nomination period for the Golden Bear Award program is open now until June 30, 2023.

The newest dean for the Woodland Community College’s Lake County campus has been announced. The Yuba Community College District has chosen Ingrid Larsen unanimously. Lake County News reports Larsen has been an academic counselor and instructor for college success skills there since 2016. She’s taking over for Dr. Annette Lee who was the dean on an interim basis. Larsen studied undergrad at California State University, Chico, then got her Masters in counseling at Sonoma State.

The District Attorney for Sonoma County has announced the first payment by Pacific Gas & Electric Company (“PG&E”) to pay local nonprofits impacted by wildfires. There are five payments to be made as part of an agreement with the energy company related to the Kincade Fire. Fire Safe Sonoma, Conservation Corps North Bay, Nuestra Communidad, Council on Aging, Interfaith Shelter Network, Boys & Girls Clubs of Sonoma-Marin and Jameson Humane all got at least $100,000. They will get four more payments too. Several local health clinics are getting tens of thousands of dollars too because of air contaminants related to the 2019 fire that burned 77,000 acres and destroyed hundreds of homes. It triggered the largest evacuation in the county’s history, with 200,000 residents rushed from their homes. 5 people were injured in the fire.

A grant has been awarded to Redwood Community Services for its Tule House in Lake County. The money to be used for improvements and expansions at the residential treatment program for mothers undergoing treatment for substance use disorders. 8 moms get to stay in a family-like setting and have their kids with them. The Department of Health Care Services’ (DHCS) Behavioral Health Continuum Infrastructure Program is one of more than 50 projects that benefitted from the Governor’s recently announced half billion dollars to improve California’s behavioral health infrastructure for children and youth. 8 more beds will be added at the House for a total of 16 women in treatment at one time.

Questions remain about why the coast of Northern Calif. gets hit by earthquake’s in the “Mendocino Triple Junction.” The USGS named the point where three faults and three plates meet where it’s said to be the most seismically active area in California. The San Francisco Chronicle reports one of the researchers at the federal agency says there have been at least 40 other size 6 or larger earthquakes along the faults over the last 100 years. It includes six which were 7.0 or larger too. There was also a 6.2 one year ago on December 20th, 2021. The area is also sometimes called the “Triangle of Doom”. The USGS is still trying to pinpoint an exact location of the epicenter. Right now, they have an idea, but it’s not concrete.

A former Rohnert Park police officer pleads not guilty to federal charges against him that also include a former sergeant. Joseph Huffaker was indicted on charges of impersonating a federal officer, falsifying records and aiding and abetting. Another defendant, Brendan “Jacy” Tatum, pleaded guity to extortion charges against him at the beginning of the month. Tatum was charged with extorting at least $3,700 in cash and 85 pounds of marijuana from drivers traveling Highway 101. Huffaker is accused of taking part in at least two of these incidents. Tatum led the Rohnert Park Public Safety Department’s Drug Interdiction Team for three years. Prosecutors accuse both men of running a shakedown operation where they could coerce drivers into giving them cash, pot and property if they would let the drivers go.

When tens-of-thousands of people lost power in Humboldt County after an earthquake last Tuesday, a mini power grid turned one Native American reservation into virtually the only area where the lights were still on. Some 10,000 people were served by the Blue Lake Rancheria during the day long power outage. Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport and Blue Lake Rancheria were the only two public places that preserved power in the area during that time. Many lined up to use wifi and charge their devices after tribal police opened up an emergency center.

Three big Lake County projects will get funding thanks to Representative Mike Thompson of California’s 5th district. $3,738,600 in total from the government’s final 2023 appropriations government funding bill. Including $2,000,000 for the Clearlake Burns Valley Sports Complex and Recreation Center Project, $988,600 for the Lakeport Armory Facility Repurposing Project, and $750,000 for the Middle Creek Flood Damage Reduction and Ecosystem Restoration Project. Clearlake City Councilman Dirk Slooten says “The Burns Valley Sports Complex is one of the most transformative projects we are working on for our community.” Money for the Burns Valley Sports Complex will allow them to break ground next year.

A man is being held in the Humboldt County Jail after a reported shooting incident on Highway 101. On Friday a driver heading north on 101, south of SR-299, allegedly opened fire on another driver. The suspect, identified, as Daniel Robert Logan Fernandez Ralls, fled the scene afterward in his 2014 Mercedes C350. With the help of Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Ralls was taken into custody by the California Highway Patrol. The other driver was not hurt. And no damage to his vehicle was reported. Anyone who saw the incident is asked to call the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office.

Drivers in Humboldt County be aware. Roadwork continues through this Thursday the 29th in several areas. The Bridge work south of Phillipsville will continue. On Highway 101 near Myers Flat, also emergency work at Fields Landing Overhead. In that area, drivers should look for an alternate route. The emergency work from “B” Street to “D” Street is ongoing. The northbound lane will be closed from 12Pm till 7pm. And Emergency work at Fernbridge. One-way traffic control will be in effect and motorists should expect up to 10-minute delays. Utility work between Pacheco (Pah-CHAY-Coe) Road and Jackson Ranch Road will result in One-way traffic control will be in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Motorists should anticipate 10-minute delays. Falsework installation from Route 200 to Route 101 will mean One-way traffic in effect from 6 a.m. to 8:45 p.m.

After the earthquake last Tuesday, tens of thousands of people were without power, But a mini power grid turned one Native American reservation into virtually the only area where the lights were still on. Some 10,000 people were served by the Blue Lake Rancheria during the day long power outage. Redwood Coast-Humboldt County Airport and Blue Lake Rancheria were the only two public places that preserved power in the area during that time. Many lined up to use wifi and charge their devices after tribal police opened up an emergency center.

After a year of California drivers paying some of the highest prices on record for gasoline, the prices are finally coming down. The average price in the state for a gallon of regular is around $4.34, which is 80 cents lower than a month ago and 30 cents lower than a year ago. Roughly 112 million million people will have traveled from Christmas till January 3rd. Around 101 million by car. Local refineries coming back on line is one of the reasons for the price drop. Doug Shupe of Triple A in Southern California says that fewer people were filling up and driving last month also contributing to the price drop. Gas prices in Humboldt County averaging a little higher at $4.59. A little lower in Mendocino County at $4.09

As sea levels rise each year, something known as the “king tides” are set to hit California. A warning to be careful if you are out photographing today and tomorrow and January 21 and 22. King Tides are generally a foot or two higher than an average high tide, which experts say regular tides could turn into over the next twenty years or so due to human-caused sea level rise which happens due to the use of fossil fuels releasing carbon into the atmosphere. Photos taken by the public for the California King Tides Project are used by the state and local officials and researchers who study the sea level rising and flooding possibilities.

A man is apparently dead in the Laytonville area after a leg was found. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept reports getting a call from a woman two Sundays ago who says her boyfriend had been gone a couple of days after he said he was going for a walk into town. A deputy tried to locate the 58-year-old to no avail. Then this past Tuesday the dept. got a call to suspicious clothing found, the following day, this Wednesday a human leg was found, and the search was on. Yesterday more human remains were found they say may have been related to the leg. The remains have not been positively identified and the investigation continues.

Congressman Jared Huffman announced the US Postal Service is getting a bunch of electric vehicles. After the federal government announced an agreement with the USPS, the agency is going at least 70% EV and will be 100% EVs by 2026. The agreement says the service will also electrify postal facilities with $3 billion in funding from the Inflation Reduction Act. Huffman says it’s great news for the future of the postal service, the economy and the planet. He touts asking for the money to electrify the postal service vehicle fleet each year in appropriations bills since 2014, and says he’s drafted multiple postal fleet electrification bills too. He also pressured the agency to electrify its old vehicles which were supposed to be replaced with more gas guzzling vehicles.

A new report says prosecutors across the State of California are against state Senator Scott Wiener’s bill to allow the decriminalization of some hallucinogenic drugs, including magic mushrooms or psilocybin. The head of the Calif. District Attorney’s Association says the proposal “recklessly puts policy before science” and says some of the drugs in the bill have been proven to be highly unpredictable and “have even been connected to violent crimes”. He does say however that if supporters are looking for more research or advocating for their therapeutic use under medical supervision, that’s another story. But the bill is reckless, just the same.

A woman from Willits is accusing a cop of years of sexual misconduct. We are not naming the 41-year-old who says from 2015 to 2020, Derek Hendry, victimized her. She claims the former cop with various agencies was physically violent, threatened to jail her and used the power of his badge to coerce her into several sexual acts, one time, even inside a police vehicle. The woman is a former addict who has a criminal record and says she knows that might go against her credibility, but says that’s why Hendry went after her, and other addicts. Hendry worked in the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office until 2018, then the Willits Police Dept. He was fired from both agencies. This summer the Willits police chief reportedly asked the Lake County Sheriff’s Office to investigate and criminal charges were forwarded to the Mendocino County DA’s office for consideration.

The commercial Dungeness crab fishery is opening finally in Fishing Zones 3-6. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has approved opening all areas south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county Line, but there’s a 50 percent trap reduction starting New Year’s Eve. There’s a 64-hour gear setting period that begins next Wednesday, Dec. 28th. The agency says the trap reduction it to reduce a risk of entanglement for humpback whales as they continue migrating to their winter breeding grounds. Vessels have to have at least half of their valid buoy tags for the current fishing season visible for inspection at all times until the trap reduction is lifted. As for Fishing Zones 1 and 2 (Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties), they will also open the same time. They were delayed due to poor meat quality results.

A bunch of weapons accessories have been found by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Department of Homeland Security at a home in Hidden Valley Lake. A search warrant was served as part of an investigation regarding the import, manufacturing, distribution, and buying of the accessories. Officers say Justin Spillers was compiling the items to make ghost guns and had been buying and imported so-called “Glock switches” which are illegal in California. They’re used to make a handgun fully automatic. Officers say they also found an assault weapon and silencers for the weapons, ammo and further evidence he was assembling full weapons there. The man was not there at the time and has not been contacted yet by police. They will forward all to the DA’s office for potential charges.

After some back and forth over the last couple of weeks, the Lucerne Area Town Hall says no to the Scotts Valley Band of Pomos to use a grant from the state to buy the Lucerne Hotel for homeless youth housing. It was after a two-hour long meeting where it was agreed a letter would be sent to Lake County, the State of Calif. and the federal government on the matter. The special meeting was called for this week after reports escrow on the old hotel would close by the end of the month. Lake County News reports a pretty decent sized crowd showed up and about 20 more people attended on Zoom and the more on Facebook Live. The decision not to approve of the sale boiled down to community impact.

A water study published on illegal cannabis grow impacts has been released by the federal government. The US Forest Service reports there was a “surprising” amount of contaminated water related to the cannabis grow sites. The Forest Service says it further shows there’s a need to close down the “clandestine sites and monitor their impacts to conserve the public’s natural resources”.  The study was done at four different national forests in California. The researchers used new polar organic chemical integrative samplers to see if there was water-soluble pesticides which were found at 11 percent of downstream sampling stations during the first wet season.

A special meeting by the Lake County Office of Education board in conjunction with the Lucerne Area Town Hall regarding the purchase of the old Lucerne Hotel by the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. The meeting Wednesday to look over the Tribe’s application, then grant award of over 5 million dollars to purchase the hotel and turn it into a youth homeless shelter.  The tribe noted some partnerships on the project, which specifically the Board of Education stipulated they were unaware of. The application showed the Tribe felt the hotel would have been a perfect venue for the shelter.  The Superintendent of Schools says the idea is out of the scope of their regular work.

After searching for three days for a young father from the Berkeley area, his body has been found. It was believed 24-year-old Angel Fulgado had been in Ukiah last Sunday after disappearing early that morning. And on Monday reports he might have been in Nice in Lake County too, but he was nowhere to be found. Instead yesterday afternoon Fulgado’s body was found in his car in Humboldt Redwoods State Park. His wife was reportedly informed after and further told the death was being investigated. His car was found in vegetation along Avenue of the Giants in the High Rock area. He and his wife have a newborn.

After PG&E tried to take out a bald eagles’ nest in Potter Valley because of a dying pine tree they were blocked by neighbors. But apparently the company is itching to get the nest to safety so they can fell the tree because it’s so close to a powerline. Early this year the property owner wouldn’t grant tree-cutting crews’ access and neighbors also blocked the road in. Afterwards two babies were seen in the nest. The property owner says at least one of the birds has flown away. This week though, the US Fish and Wildlife Service held a meeting telling attendees they are granting PG&E a permit to remove the tree next month, before nesting season.

Those impacted by the earthquake in Humboldt County could use the public’s help. The Mendocino Voice has listed ways you can donate to residents who may have to repair their homes, were injured or worse. 2 people were killed, and more than a dozen were injured. As many as 30 people in Rio Dell, which was hit hard by the 6.4 temblor, had to move out of their damaged homes, and many don’t have insurance either. Still 10,000 homes are without power too, just ahead of the holidays. There is a shelter in Fortuna for those who need a place to stay. The Red Cross is accepting cash donations and has a shelter set up. The local food bank, Food for the People is accepting donations, the same for the Humboldt Area Foundation, United Disaster Relief of Northern California, World Central Kitchen, you can also drop off items at the Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department and Sequoia Springs Senior Living in Fortuna.

Nothing new, but an alert that as we head into the holidays, the CHP will be out in force. And ahead of Christmas the CHP commissioner says drivers should be prepared for a lot of traffic, and major winter storms this weekend. She says to “slow down, buckle up, and never drive impaired”. The CHP wants you to take extra time to get to where you’re going, make sure you’re fueled up and properly equipped, and to have a sober driver piloting your vehicle. Last year 28 people were killed on roads and highways due to drunk drivers on Xmas weekend.

A church in Kelseyville has been burglarized just before they celebrate Christmas. Lake Co News reports the Kelseyville Presbyterian Church sustained thousands in damage. That’s not stopping the church from its holiday celebrations, with services and Christmas dinner. An alarm apparently went off early Tuesday morning alerting church members and staff someone was inside. When they got there they found the main church building had been broken into, along with its Fellowship Hall and food pantry. There were multiple doors and windows damaged and what looked to be hammer marks on walls, but alas, nothing was stolen. They’ve set up a GoFundMe to pay for the infrastructure damage.

A woman from Yuba City who reportedly tried to plow through a California Highway Patrol driver checkpoint in Lower Lake has been arrested. Lake Co News reports the DUI checkpoint was set up Saturday where officers contacted hundreds of drivers, handed out over a dozen tickets, impounded two cars and investigated 4 possible DUI’s. And as they finished the checkpoint a woman in a Mini Cooper ran through the screening area at a high rate of speed, not stopping for officers. She’s been identified as 22-year-old Kiara Renee Fears, who officers say hit speeds of up to 100 miles/hour on State Route 29. She ended up crashing around a turn, jumped out and ran, but was eventually caught and charged with DUI and more. She also had a suspended license and another DUI for which she was on probation.

Fuel reduction plans are being together by the Bureau of Land Management who would like to hear from the public on the matter. The agency wants public comment so they can get to work on the treatments near high fire-risk areas on public lands. The work will be across the state in most counties and in northwest Nevada. The Wildland-Urban Interface fuels treatments programmatic environmental assessment on about 900,000 acres of public land near rural communities. The BLM says the work would reduce the likelihood of loss of life, property, and community infrastructure from wildfires.

Caltrans reports they’ve reopened the Fernbridge in Humboldt County after the 6.4 magnitude earthquake this week. There was damage to the bridge’s deck and overall structure. The span over the Eel River got a quick $6 million infusion for the repairs and repaving of the road. The bridge on State Route 211 reopened last night with crews on hand to make sure traffic flowed well in one direction with crews on either end. They said they could continue the repairs safely with one-way controls and thanked residents who use the bridge for their patience. The quake was about 10 miles beneath the earth’s surface on the Mendocino Triple Junction, where the Gorda, Pacific and North American plates meet.

A local state of emergency has been declared by the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors due to the earthquake Tuesday. This will help move money quickly to victims, some of which are not covered by earthquake insurance. One of the supervisors whose area was hit hard says only about 1 in 20 people had earthquake insurance. The Governor also declared a state of emergency for the county. Many residents continue to pick up after the initial quake and multiple aftershocks. Some reports say there were 2 per hour the first day or two. The USGS reported shake alerts as far out as Chico, with most of the shaking and damage in Ferndale, Rio Dell and Fortuna. More than 2 dozen homes were reported to be unsafe to live in.

A bunch of money’s been donated to the Lakeport Volunteer Firefighter’s Association. Haunted Lake County has given $10,000 to the Association from their 12th annual event. The event, “Your Worst Nightmare” was very popular this year with themes that included the Netflix series, Stranger Things and movies Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, Hellraiser and more. The Lakeport Volunteer Firefighters Association not only got money, but they were active participants each night of the event.

A new report says California has 30% of the nation’s homeless. The latest report from the US Dept. of Housing and Community Development after the biennial point-in-time count of the unsheltered. This year was the first count since 2019 because of the pandemic. The Dept. says over 172,000 Californians were homeless at some point this year. California was also noted as having the country’s highest homelessness rate, at 44 people/10,000 experiencing homelessness; the biggest jump in the homeless population of any other state from both 2020-22 (6.2%) and 2007-22 (23.4%). The report was released after the fed announced a new program which would start next year to address homeless encampments.

A state of emergency has been declared in Humboldt County after a 6.4 earthquake. Governor Newsom’s state of emergency will help with response after the earthquake and multiple aftershocks. The epicenter for the major quake at about 2:30 yesterday morning was near the City of Ferndale. Two people were killed and many were injured. There were power outages and boil water advisories. Damage was found on roads, bridges, buildings and critical infrastructure. The Governor’s proclamation came with a statement yesterday saying he had activated the State Operations Center which would work with local and tribal governments and make sure anyone who needed shelter, food and water or other aid was taken care of.

A man reported missing and possibly in Ukiah has still not been found. 24-year-old Angel Salgado’s wife says he left their home near Berkeley early Sunday morning and was tracked near Ukiah before the phone was powered off. His wife says there have been three reports of people seeing him, but none of the sightings have been confirmed. She says he was reportedly seen at Forks Market in Ukiah Sunday. The Sheriff’s Office says they got a report he was seen, but they also have not confirmed it. There were also reports Monday he may have been in Nice at a gas station and Dollar General store. He’s described as driving a blue/gray 2017 four-door Toyota Corolla, and last seen wearing a black puffer jacket, blk pants, and Nike Vapors. He’s 5’4”, 160 pounds.

After deliberations in a DUI case, the 32-year-old defendeant from Willits has been found not guilty. Antonio La Piccarella had been charged with a misdemeanor driving a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol of .08 or greater. The incident last year near Calpella. The CHP and representatives from the Department of Justice crime lab were the witnesses. But after a two day trial, he was found not guilty.

That earthquake that hit near the City of Ferndale in Humboldt County has left rubble behind for some. Some of the reports on social media or to local reporters said some folks had damage inside their homes. Some homes reportedly lifted off their foundations. Power outages hit right away yesterday morning, leaving tens of thousands in the dark. Then there were boil water advisories and broken gas lines. Shake reports came from as far as Redding to the east and the Bay Area to the south. Rio Dell was reportedly hit hard with damage to other nearby cities including Fortuna and Eureka. Two people died due to medical emergencies during or after the shaker, a 72-year-old and an 83-year-old. No other info was released about them. 11 other people were injured, including one person who fell and broke their hip. At least 40 aftershocks were reported.

The early warning system for an earthquake was reportedly in working order during the Ferndale quake. The USGS ShakeAlert team says over 3 million people were notified over the phone yesterday, and many got the alerts before the shaking. As many as 270,000 MyShake app users got a notification too, but most of the 3 million were notified through Google or Android phones which are preprogrammed with the notification system. The ShakeAlert operations team says it was a “big success” for them. They use seismometers which feel an earthquake as it reaches the surface. It then turns around and informs processors who take the info and send it as user-friendly alerts. And iPhone users may have received a Wireless Emergency Alerts system notification, like an Amber Alert.

PG&E customers may have to pay more… again… because the utility company has asked state regulators if they can charge more due to wildfires and other catastrophes. The company is looking to get back in the black after money spent to stop wildfires before they start and work to avert other disasters. This means customers could see price hikes over three years, the first in the last part of next year, potentially. PG&E reports in state filings they need to recover $1.36 billion in costs. The company claimed bankruptcy and has been criminally charged for wildfires and that fatal gas explosion in San Bruno over a decade ago. If this goes through, a typical customer would pay about $10 more/month when all is said and done. Most people pay over $200/mo for gas and electric from the company.

There’s a new Sheriff in Lake County. Sheriff Brian Martin is set to leave at the end of the year, and the Board of Supervisors gave the thumbs up for the head of the county’s Probation Department to take over for Martin for the remainder of his term. Rob Howe will be in the position for two years, until the next election. Howe was with the sheriff’s office for nearly 2 decades before he took the job as chief probation officer in 2011. Lake County News reports he was also the Sheriff’s Dept. chief of staff at one point. During the Supes meeting yesterday, the Board also interviewed Lt. Lucas Bingham, but ultimately chose Howe for the opening.

Two new Lakeport City Council members have been sworn in and new leadership selected. In the last meeting for the council this year, the mayor and mayor pro-tem along with one other councilmember were there. They picked up the certification of the general election and resignation from Mireya Turner who accepted a position this summer to be the Lake County Community Development director. There were special meetings earlier this month to fill Turner’s seat and another, left empty because Michael Green was appointed to the Board of Supervisors. The council took up other business and agreed to the city manager’s employment agreement for a raise.

There’s a couple of special meetings planned to take up the matter of the intended purchase of the Lucerne Hotel by the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. The Pomo’s are looking to buy the old Hotel with a state grant and flip it into a youth homeless facility. The Special meetings by the Lake County Board of Education and the Lucerne Area Town Hall to discuss the $5.2 million Tribal Homeless Housing Assistance and Prevention Program grant to use for the hotel purchase and renovation. The Office of Education was noted as a partner in the project, but the Superintendent of Schools was reportedly unaware. Apparently, there are other partners named too who were unaware. The Town Hall meeting is supposed to include cancelling this deal somehow.

There’s still no power for over ten thousand people in Humboldt County after the earthquake outside of Ferndale. There were over 72,000 without lights yesterday morning and this morning PG&E still noted as many as 14,000 still without power a day later. Most of the reports came out of Fortuna, Ferndale and Rio Dell. There were boil water advisories in Rio Dell, and parts of Fortuna starting yesterday too, due to damaged water systems. The epicenter of the 6.4 quake was around 10 miles beneath the earth and 7.5 miles out of the City of Ferndale. 2 people died due to the earthquake and at least another 11 were injured. The Governor has declared a state of emergency for Humboldt County.

It’ll cost more than 8 billion dollars a year to rid the state of homelessness. That’s according to a new report which shows the state will only spend about one-eighth of that amount on the crisis that you can see as you drive down some streets in the state. The Corporation for Supportive Housing and the California Housing Partnership put out the report which says the $8.1 billion dollars they feel could solve the crisis with various solutions is only 2.5% of California’s yearly budget. The national organization supporting homeless housing says Calif. needs to spend billions of dollars for more housing for over 225,000 homeless households in the next decade or so. But that’s over what the state is already spending. It could include building more low-income housing, subsidize rents for homeless families already living in private apartments and help with permanent supportive housing where unsheltered folks who are disabled can get counseling, healthcare and more.

After the earthquake in Humboldt County reports circulated about looting in Eureka. The report from yesterday after the quake hit. A local optician says his store was broken into at about 3 am, that’s less than a half hour after the 6.4 temblor roared through. The owner said cash and products were stolen and they told police. Redheaded Blackbelt reports Eureka Police telling them they were investigating a half-dozen burglaries. The police dept. told the news site that due to earthquake damage and widespread power outages, business owners should be extra vigilant, board up broken windows if they can and keep merchandise away from windows.

The latest crop report to the Department of Food and Agriculture shows Mendocino County lost value year over year. The report’s required by the state’s Food and Agricultural Code. The 2021 report was accepted by the Board of Supervisors showing from 2020 and 2021, a 10% drop in gross value for a loss of about $22 million. Some of the reasons noted in the report included staffing and supply chain issues and the pandemic. Of course wine grapes were up there as the leading commodity, but their value was off almost 30% compared to 2020. Timber did well but lost value in alignment with wine grapes. But the county was noted as the 7th timber producer by volume. On the bright side, fruit and nuts were up in 2021 by about 4%. However cannabis was not noted for various reasons including a lack of participation.

A giant earthquake has hit Northern Calif. but the National WX Service says there is no Tsunami expected. The earthquake near Ferndale was measured at 6.4 and followed by strong aftershocks near Rio Dell. The initial earthquake was measured first at 6.1 then adjusted early this morning. Early this morning there were reports there may have been a structure collapse and fire in Rio Dell. The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office tweeted not to call unless there was an immediate emergency. On the scanner, a warning there might be a shortage of ambulances. Also on the scanner this morning around 4 am, Hwy 211 is closed after Fernbridge was damaged.

An update on the investigation into the former Ukiah Police Chief, is that there is no news actually. Both Mendo Fever and Kym Kemp are reporting county prosecutors have been in touch with the state saying the criminal investigation into an alleged sexual assault by the former Police Chief Noble Waidelich continues with the help of another county, Sonoma. But their findings were released to the District Attorney David Eyster. Eyster’s refusing to comment on the case. Waidelich was fired last summer after a woman claimed while on duty the chief demanded sexual favors. It all comes after one of Waidelich’s underlings was fired and got probation for charges against him of burglary, sex assault and more.

The Feather River Fish Hatchery in Oroville is upping production of fall-run Chinook salmon next year. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) announced about 9.5 million fish will be raised next year in an attempt to fight back against drought and a thiamine deficiency that has impacted natural spawning and in-river production. This is the second year in a row the Feather River Fish Hatchery will exceed its typical production quota of 6 million fall-run Chinook salmon in an effort to try to sustain the state’s commercial and recreational salmon fisheries. This year they raised, then released 8 million fall-run Chinook salmon smolts.

The Lake County Public Health Office announced the county’s now in the ‘medium’ level of COVID19 community spread. The info was passed down from the state Department of Public Health. The latest metrics also show flu and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) cases, which are wreaking havoc nationwide are here too. Local health officials say they’re also concerned about first responders who will face challenges to fulfill their duties this winter as they may be directly or indirectly exposed to the triple-demic. Not only can they get sick but it will affect how they respond to others. The community level over the last week has moved the county up to medium level for COVID, per CDC guidelines. This means masks are once again mandated in congregate indoor spaces, like jails and homeless shelters. A reminder too, to avoid close contact with people who are sick, clean commonly touched surfaces and consider wearing a well-fitting, good-quality mask when indoors or in crowded spaces, cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then toss it, stay home when sick and limit contact with others, take a COVID test and wash your hands or sanitize them after being in contact with others.

The contracts reportedly signed with the county by unions representing county workers are only for six months. Mendocino Voice reports the county employees’ primary union and its management association contracts go through June 30th. Members of SEIU are getting a 2% cost-of-living adjustment starting next month. The union’s several hundred employees were wanting a 7.5% adjustment instead. The Board of Supervisors also approved a minimum wage hike to $17.42 per hour for other workers. Each side agreed to take the short-term contract so they could have room for more negotiations as the county deals with a more than 6 million dollar budget shortfall.

A young man from Lafayette in Contra Costa County has been reported missing, and possibly last seen in Ukiah. 24-year-old Angel Fulgado reportedly disappeared over the weekend, last seen early Sunday near a Safeway by his home. His dad says his last reported location was near Ukiah, but then his phone was powered down. His wife and dad went searching for him, with no luck. They also say he has no friends in the Ukiah area that they know of. He was last seen in a blue/gray 2017 four-door Toyota Corolla and the driver’s side mirror has adhesive tape on it. He was last seen in a black puffer jacket, black pants, and black Nike Vapors. He’s further described as being 5’4”, 160 pounds with brown hair and eyes. And he has a couple of tattoos, one on his shoulder and on his chest.

Some of the worst blue/green algae has been reported in Clearlake. BlueGreen Water Technologies has released their Top 10 Worst Toxic Algal Blooms of 2022 list. The organization’s CEO says the year 2022 was a “horrific year for water bodies in the U.S. and around the globe”. Clear Lake was noted as #3 and as becoming a “festering cesspool of toxic gunk” each summer. The publication noting noxious blooms of toxic blue-green algae forced residents to go inside to get away from the smell and possible headaches and respiratory problems, just by being close to the lake. BlueGreen Water Technologies says in the publication they work to restore, safeguard and optimize the health, safety, accessibility, and biodiversity of waterbodies worldwide.

California could be following in the footsteps of Oregon, making magic mushrooms legal. Along with ayahuasca, another plant medicine believed to open the mind and heal past trauma, the two part of a bill introduced and backed by mental health professionals and veterans groups to become legal in Calif. Those who support the idea say it’s about time the state ended its “war on drugs” and decriminalizing psychedelics would be better treatment for those with substance use disorders and anxiety and depression and more. State Sen. Scott Wiener reintroduced the bill after a previous version was pummeled by law enforcement. Some Democrats also joined Republicans and voted against it.

We could be at the end of falling gas prices in Northern Calif. as experts say they think we will swing back up again next month. Some experts say we will only go as low as three-dollars, 50-cents per gallon, unless we have a recession in the coming weeks. The Press Democrat reports Gas Buddy is saying in some areas the price is dropping about 10¢ a day and is expected to go even lower in coming weeks, but by less each day. The average price of a gallon of regular gas is about $4.50 in Santa Rosa for example, but you can search and possibly find it for four-oh-five.

Old growth sequoia trees are dying at an alarming rate in California, so land managers across the Sierras are mounting an emergency response. Many of the biggest, oldest trees on earth have fallen victim to mega-fires, bark beetle infestation and drought, all exacerbated by climate change. Jessica Morse with the California Natural Resources Agency says multi-tree die-offs are rare among sequoias – with only about 2 dozen lost between the ice age and 2015 – but now more than 10-thousand old-growth trees have died since 2020.

 :16  "This has been an all-hands-on-deck moment where we have state federal, local, tribal and nonprofit partners coming together to really address the sequoia crisis with urgency. You know, we've lost nearly 20% of the monarch sequoias in just two years."

This year, the California Giant Sequoia Land Coalition has cleared dead wood and burned piles from more than 42-hundred acres with about another 22-thousand acres to go. Sequoia groves range from Lake Tahoe down to Sequoia National Park.

Second Cut: Teresa Benson is forest supervisor of the Sequoia National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument. She says the work will ensure that the groves can be more resilient to fire in the future.

 :15  "That work on the ground will result in fires actually having a more beneficial effect versus the high-severity fire effects that we've seen from the massive fire events that have 

been occurring in California.”

Third Cut: Clay Jordan is superintendent at Sequoia and Kings Canyon national parks. He says the coalition is working with U-C Berkeley and others to measure the effects of fire to inform the work going forward.

 :11  "We are conducting research and then sharing that information among all the land stewards so that we can make science-driven decisions to protect the resource."

Tag: The coalition has already started planting 200-thousand seedlings, including 25-thousand baby giant sequoia, which will grow into the monarch trees of the next century.

In front of the Ukiah Courthouse some work has been done on an ancient Magnolia Tree. An arborist saw cracking on the base of the tree from weight, so the County of Mendocino agreed to bring out a tree-trimming crew who took some of the weight off with a crown trim. Mendo Fever reports a post on the matter on social media brought out a positive community response to do what was needed to save the tree, which along with another have been in town since the late 1800s. The news site reminds the county continues to work with arborists and others to keep the trees alive. Back in 1925 the trees were used as the town’s Christmas trees and citizens decorated them for the holiday.

It may finally be over… the University of California has reportedly reached an agreement with tens of thousands of graduate student teaching assistants and more academic workers after weeks of striking. 36,000 staffers are poised to get salary hikes and richer benefits, but the workers still need to ratify the vote. Those at the bargaining table say some of the workers could be getting up to 66% more pay over the next two years. There are also better benefits for parent workers, better rights for international workers, protections against bullying and harassment, improvements to accessibility, workplace protections, and sustainable transit benefits. The president of the University of CA says it will place the workers among the “best supported in public higher education”. Workers were arguing it was hard to live in bigger cities where housing was way more expensive.

As the Lake County Board of Supervisors prepares to discuss who might be the next Sheriff, they’re also giving themselves a raise at their next meeting. The Sheriff Brian Martin is retiring and someone needs to fill his shoes until the next election. Tomorrow morning the Board will interview two applicants who could fill the job from next month until January of 2025. The two are, the Lake County Probation head, Rob Howe, and Lt. Luke Bingham. Around lunchtime the Supervisors will discuss the two candidates. Then after that they’ll discuss amending the county code to get themselves a 28% raise, with the Board chair getting 5% above that. If the vote passes, they’ll be paid about $65,000/year except the chair.

Two new members will be sworn into the Lakeport City Council ahead of the New Year. Tomorrow night the council will also pick new leadership, which they do every year. The certification of the mid-term election will be presented by the Lake County Registrar of Voters Office too. The council is also meeting the city’s new Fire Chief and get an update on the city’s Clean Water Program.

The Mendocino City Community Services District Board of Directors have agreed to raise rates. Last Monday the Board also reappointed Dennak Murphy and Jim Sullivan, as president and vice president for another one-year term. There are also two new board members, Matthew Miksak and Ishvi Aum who ran unopposed. At the same meeting the board discussed a feasibility study to develop a public water system, which they will continue discussing as the months roll by. As far as the rate increases, sewer rate increases over the next five years will nearly double and groundwater management rates will double. The District is also currently in a Stage 2 drought.

The vice-mayor of Fort Bragg, who chose not to run again, has been commended on a job well done. At last week’s City Council meeting Vice-Mayor Jessica Morsell-Haye resigned her position and will no longer serve, as she opted not to run again. As we reported last week, three incumbents, Marcia Rafanan, Tess Albin-Smith, and Lindy Peters, stay on the council and Jason Godeke was a new council member and sworn in. Continuing as mayor is Bernie Norvell, and new member Godeke was elected as vice-mayor. Morsell-Haye had a plague in her name presented to her for her work on the city council.

There’s an upgrade for the Mendocino Fire Protection District’s fire suppression rating. That means those who own homes or property could save some money on their fire insurance under the new Public Protection Classification (PPC) grade. The International Organization of Standardization (ISO) puts out the ratings which end up being the way insurance companies calculate the price of a property’s insurance policy. The Mendocino Fire Protection District got a 05/10 rating, showing higher fire suppression capabilities for outlying structures related to any structure within five miles of the fire station and all others had no change in their rating. The Fire District also says they’re building a new storage barn to hold fire-fighting equipment on
Comptche Road which could also change insurance costs for those within its five-mile radius.

A new report shows kids were chronically absent to school three times as much as they were before COVID19 lockdowns and online learning. The chronically absent students in California were at 30% for kindergartners and the state overall, and 42.5% for Black students. The California Department of Education reports after one year of distance learning, when schools reopened there were massive absentee students. Ed Source reports one of the rates that stood out the most was that 30% mark for kindegartners, almost double the pre-pandemic rate.

Holiday wreaths have been laid by local 4H clubs, veterans, and community members at the Russian River Cemetary in Ukiah. It was part of the yearly Wreaths Across America that 1,200 wreaths were placed on local veterans graves to note their service and sacrifices. The Daily Journal reports the Redwood Valley/Calpella 4H club along with the Shamrock 4-H club hosted the event Saturday morning where dozens came out in force.

Put it on your calendar… Saturday, January 14th – the County of Mendocino, Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire Department, and CTC Mass Notification are having a public meeting at the Redwood Valley Fire Station on the Early Warning Sirens Project. There will be time for Q&A at the meeting and there will be a demonstration of an early warning siren. They’ll get it started around 10:00 AM as the Mendocino County CEO Darcie Antle kicks things off. Then it’s the First District Supervisor Glenn McGourty, Chief Kerry Robinson, and others following the agenda. The project is funded by PG&E with settlement funds from the 2017 Redwood Complex Fire.