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Monthly Archives: February 2023

A man pulled over in Willits for texting while driving has been arrested for possession of child pornography. Willits police report 31-year-old Keono Lara of Fort Bragg admitted he was on felony probation for possession of child pornography. With that, he can be searched and has to give police his passwords for all electronic devices. Police found a tablet and multiple phones in the car with him, so they looked at their contents. Police say there were more than 100 images and movies of young females in various sex acts with adult men. So the man was arrested once again for possessing kiddie porn, violating his probation, and more charges could be coming.

There is still impending weather coming our way. Meteorologists in Eureka with the National Weather Service say we could still have moderate to heavy snow above 1,500 feet coming in today. There’s still dangerous travel conditions, including wet/icy roads, fast moving winds, snow, and possible downed trees and powerlines.  When it’s dark or foggy, be especially careful for Black Ice which is hard to see and makes roads very slippery, especially on bridges and overpasses. More winter weather is headed our way this weekend. 

For additional preparedness information, residents can visit and follow the County of Mendocino Facebook page for situational updates.

Online resources to assist with checking road conditions in Mendocino and Lake County:

CHP Traffic:

Department of Transportation:

State Routes:

It’s been nearly three years since COVID19 was declared an emergency in the State of Calif. Today is the end of the public health emergency. The end of the emergency doesn’t mean COVID is over, it means the government will not be mandating orders related to the pandemic. It also means some of the regulations and executive orders that came with the pandemic from the state will be phased out. Many were done last October, when the state announced it would end the mandates. The federal government’s state of emergency ends May 11th.

PG&E raising their prices has caught some customers off guard. Some customers report receiving bills in the neighborhood of twice as much as what a typical bill has been for them. Utility experts say it’s not just electricity, but also natural gas that has been skyrocketing.  The energy institute at Haas at UC Berkeley has been tracking prices and says as opposed to the rest of the US, California’s prices are not in line. They’re cheaper elsewhere. And we don’t have a reserve of natural gas like we’ve had in years past.

The continuing winter storms are apparently helping with California’s drought.  Lake Shasta, the state’s largest reservoir, is almost 60-percent of capacity, double the amount in November.  Lake Oroville has surpassed its historical average for February, sitting at 72-percent of capacity, compared to just 28-percent three months ago.  While the recent rain and snow have made a difference, experts say a lot more is still needed. And more is on the way, this weekend.

The State Water Board has decided to allow more storage in Central Valley reservoirs, going against rules that say water has to be released as a protection for salmon and other endangered fish. A waiver has been agreed to so cities and growers who get water from the State Water Project and Central Valley Project can get more. The water goes mostly to those in Southern California, and hundreds of thousands of acres of farmland. This is just until the end of March. But environmentalists spoke out saying it will endanger chinook salmon and other native fish in the Delta struggling to survive.

Two people in Lakeport have been arrested after police served a search warrant and found fentanyl and methamphetamine. James Biocca Jr. of Healdsburg and Melody Yadon of Willits were arrested after a group of cops with a warrant searched a storage locker in Kelseyville the pair owned. Biocca was arrested earlier this month and found with almost 100 grams of
fentanyl and more than 21 grams of meth packaged for sale. The Lakeport Police Chief says Monday as officers searched the storage locker, the pair showed up there, and they already found meth. The two were searched and more drugs were found with them. Cops also found cash on them so they were arrested for various charges. Biocca was held on $250,000 bail and Yadon, $10,000.

Police in Clearlake are asking for the public’s help finding a woman who vanished. Police say they were alerted that 29-year-old Brittany Spurling disappeared. She was last seen on Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake, and is described as being a white female adult with blonde hair and blue eyes, 5 foot 4, 130 pounds. She was last seen in blue denim overalls and black pants with a jacket on. If you’ve seen her, please call the Clearlake Police Dept.

A man in Ukiah has been arrested after another man was assaulted in a motel room. Police say they got a call from a hysterical female to come to the Super 8 Motel on S. Orchard Avenue in Ukiah for some sort of physical altercation. Police say there was a juvenile walking to the motel office with blood on his clothes with a woman, the victim’s girlfriend. The two shared there had been an altercation with the kid’s uncle and a man identified as Adam Pearson in one of the motel rooms. The uncle and teen fought with the man in the hotel room, and later outside of it, but Pearson took off. The uncle ended up in the hospital but left before being treated. They also found and arrested Pearson who was later positively id’d by the victim’s girlfriend. He’s charged with battery causing serious bodily injury, child endangerment and violation of parole.

Quick work by Ukiah police who arrested a man on several charges after a burglary is reported at a home. Police say the suspect, now identified as Mark Wolk, was arrested after they were led to his home. Wolk is on active probation for a different burglary. The homeowners say they lost a legally owned and registered handgun, an Apple watch, and other personal items. Since Wolk was on probation, his bedroom was searched, and the items were located. He was arrested and booked at the Mendocino County Jail for violation of probation, felon in possession of a firearm, possession of ammunition and more. All the charges are felonies.

An arrest has been made after reports of a robbery at Keith’s Market in Covelo. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports getting a call to an altercation and identifying Markas Capskis as a suspect who stole items from the market, then when confronted by an employee and Good Samaritan, he attacked them. The employee subdued Capskis, who Deputies confirm had a criminal background including vandalizing businesses, possible arson at the Round Valley Health Clinic and multiple other burglaries. He was found, arrested and charged with robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, elder abuse and for the previous crimes and held on $50,000.00 bail.

Digging out from the crazy storms we had the last several days. Mendocino County has announced the Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) and Mobile Registration Intake Centers (MRIC) are staying open much longer. Residents impacted by the severe storms and flooding from last month and the month before, have until Sunday, March 5th to register, update FEMA applications, and get more information on state and community programs and other available assistance. FEMA’s deadline is until Thursday, March 16th. The Mendo centers are at the Point Arena City Hall and the Willits Community Center. Specialists will be on hand to help those who apply. You can also apply online or call., the FEMA mobile app or call the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362.

The City of Clearlake is working with Lake County for an extension of their warming center at the Clearlake Senior Center. The storms were supposed end yesterday, but the National Weather Service forecasted more potential precipitation which could impact the area. The Lake County Sheriff’s Department, the Lake County Department of Social Services and Lake County Behavioral Health were all providing cots, blankets, light food and snacks. They are open today and tomorrow from 5:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M.

The Public Health Officer in Lake County has issued a county-wide health alert due to winter storm activity. The Emergency Operations Center has been activated. The county’s health office is also reminding to take additional precautions in the cold weather, especially children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and those with special medical needs. Schools are all closed today. Folks without a warm space to stay are encouraged to visit the Lower Lake Town Hall or Sunrise Special Services Foundation’s Warming Center in Lakeport.

Intro: Criminal justice reform groups are rallying behind a new bill to make it easier for people hurt during incidents with police to get support from the California Victim Compensation Board. Most claims, besides domestic violence or sexual assault require the victim be identified in a police report. Michelle Monterrosa’s brother Sean died at the hands of Vallejo Police in 2020. The officer was fired but never charged. Monterrosa says the bill would help families like hers cope.

:14 “And unfortunately, because our loved ones were killed the way they were, you know, we’re not considered victims, they are not considered as victims. So, therefore, we’re continuing the cycles of trauma and harm. The whole household is also a victim, you know – we’re the ones who deal with the loss every day.”

Tag: The bill excludes cases of “great bodily injury” in a law enforcement encounter before being killed. Families or survivors would be able to use evidence other than a police report to access the new assistance, which pays for burial costs, medical bills and counseling. The victim would be eligible regardless of whether the officer is arrested or convicted.

Second Cut: Cristine Soto DeBerry with the nonprofit Prosecutors Alliance oversaw a similar program in San Francisco and says the system needs to be more flexible and compassionate.

 :12  "We see families having to turn to GoFundMe pages and car washes to try and cover the cost of burying their loved one after an incident like this. And that, to us, seems inhumane and unnecessary." 

Third Cut: The California District Attorneys Association opposed a similar bill in last year’s legislative session, arguing the law would allow compensation to perpetrators of crimes. Soto DeBerry argues that the outreach is a win-win.

 :09  "Supporting families through this process is a smart public safety strategy, and one that strengthens legitimacy rather than undermining it."

Tag: Senate Bill 838 is currently in the Senate Rules Committee.

A child on a bicycle has been hit by a car in the Westside Neighborhood of Ukiah. Mendo Fever reports cops got their yesterday afternoon around 3:05 p.m. Reports say the child was thankfully, minimally injured.

After a former cop in Fort Bragg is fired for misconduct after a relationship with a DUI suspect, a different woman is speaking out. Mendo Fever reports the police agency fired Sergeant Christopher Awad in 2020. The news site reports this other woman they spoke to says she was offered rides from Awad after her DUI in 2014. She said she felt pressured to give her phone number to Awad. The woman reportedly saw the report on Mendo Fever about Awad. She says he texted her a lot after her arrest and she felt the need to block him. Another report on the news site Red Headed Blackbelt says the same cop dated a sister to a Norteños gang member while he worked on the Gang Task Force.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Cannabis Restoration Grant Program (CRGP) has more than $20 million in grant money for remediation, habitat enhancement and conservation projects. There are two opportunities to win the grants which are also set up to help small cannabis cultivators become fully licensed. The Cannabis Program Director says the money can be spent on a broad selection of projects including culvert work, cleanup and remediation of illegal grows and other projects that benefit the environment. Last year there was almost $5 million in grants and the state could quadruple awards this year.

A barn is gutted in Albion after a fire broke out. Reports of explosion sounds in the area of Salmon Creek Farms. Cal Fire went with Albion Fire to the scene Saturday, and later Mendocino Fire joined. It was less than 20 minutes, and the fire was out, but not before the barn was destroyed. There were also two five-gallon propane tanks in flames, which may account for the explosions. About 4 hours later all firefighters were released from the scene.

After snow came down Highway 128 and Mountain View Road had to be closed. Reports say it could be until Wednesday before either opens, as more weather was potentially coming our way last night. Because of years of drought and some diseased trees, now weighted down by snow, some fell onto the highway and on Mountain View. Emergency crews were challenged to get into the area. There were also stranded cars, and some larger trucks. They will have to be removed along with debris in Yorkville and Yorkville Hills. Caltrans Facebook page had many angry comments from drivers who got stuck.

As the rain continues, the National Weather Service predicts it could be an all-week thing. With that, a warning that dangerous mountain travel is anticipated until Wednesday because of heavy snow, and a continued potential for low elevation snow locally. If you’re planning to travel, there’s a reminder, of course, drive slow, and be aware on the roads during inclement weather, and give yourself more time to get where you’re going for potential delays and possible highway impacts. And to have chains when traveling into higher elevations. Also be careful using non-highway alternate routes in the event of highway closures.

For those who needed it in the Cobb area, the Cobb Mountain Lions outfitted the Little Red School House as a community warming center Saturday. They also stayed open longer hours on Sunday as there was a forecast last night for up to two feet of snow. So, folks who were stuck, could use the warming center. The Office of Emergency Services and the Lake County Sheriff’s Office said yesterday nearly 34,000 residents had no power ahead of the weekend and colder temperatures. There were also frigid temperatures reported around Clear Lake with possible snow in the forecast. Lions Club members helped with Go Bags, hot beverages, heat and internet access and they were sending Go Bags to people who couldn’t get to them. The center is open until 6 pm today.

In Lake County, the BOS is considering a local emergency declaration due to the continuing storms. The Board is also discussing some recruitment for department heads tomorrow. But first, an extra item, ratifying the Sheriff’s declaration of a local emergency because of snow and extremely cold temperatures. Lake County News adds that the Sheriff made the declaration last Friday, as the county was still experiencing widespread power outages from the snowstorm. And the board is scheduling special meetings next month regarding county counsel candidates. Those will be closed door sessions. The County Counsel is retiring March 24th. Additionally, the Behavioral Health Director is also resigning and will need to be replaced.

So many power outages, trees down, and slippery roads, something most of us aren’t used to in these parts. Starting in Lake County last night and early this morning, PG&E confirmed tens of thousands of customers indeed without power due to the winter weather. Lake Co News reports most of the outages had no estimated restoration time. Power blinked on and off a couple times in Lucerne until staying that way last night. And scanner reports said downed trees or trees into power lines took down the power. The news site reports PG&E was urging customers to be prepared for outages. Also check with your kiddo’s school as some schools called for an unusual snow day.

In Mendocino County we heard reports of some people trapped by downed trees on Highway 128 between Boonville and the county line. Snow on 20 in Lake and Mendocino counties, closing the stretch between Upper Lake and Ukiah; Highway 29 in Napa County: North of Calistoga was closed; Highway 175/Hopland in Mendocino County: Between Lakeport and Hopland was closed; Highway 101: From Branscomb Road in Laytonville to the junction of Highway 271 was closed. There’s a winter shelter opened in Laytonville at Harwood Hall for anyone stranded. 300 trees down around Leggett too, so there may be a full closure of Hwy 101.

In Sonoma County, the Santa Rosa Fire Department was warning to stay off the roads due to heavy rains causing dangerous road conditions. Rain turned to snow in and around Cloverdale with accumulation of up to 1 ½ inches. People were reporting a treacherous ride from Ukiah into Cloverdale with heavy snow at times, and white knuckle like travel. The National Weather Service reported the weather was tapering off this morning but around 11 pm said overnight hours would see rain and snow showers on and off. Drivers reported heavy rain near Windsor and concern around hydroplaning. Water was seen pooling in areas like overpasses along Highway 101.

Nonnative carp and goldfish will be removed from Clear Lake as part of partnership with the Robinson Rancheria Pomo Indians and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The tribe is attempting to restore minnow also known as the Clear Lake hitch, or “Chi” to its native habitat. The Big Valley Band of Pomos and the Lake County Water Resources Control Board are also helping with the project. The fish have been identified as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, but they’re also designated by indigenous tribes of Lake County as culturally important. At one time they were swimming along in the tens of thousands.

Anyone who had a loss of food they purchased with CalFresh dollars and lost because of recent natural disasters, like long power outages, can apply to get replacement CalFresh funds. Social Services offices are able to issue replacement benefits on a case-by-case basis to participating CalFresh households, upon request. The replacement benefits are up to a maximum of one month’s allotment. Those who want to apply have to submit a signed Replacement Affidavit within 10 days of the loss of food. They will accept it in person, by US mail, or by calling them. You can also do it all online at For more information, please call (707) 463-7700 or (707) 962-1000.

Due to the widespread doctor shortage nationwide, MCHC Health Centers have announced a new family physician. Dr. Kelly Tracey, specializing in women’s health and preventive medicine will be serving Lakeport. The hospital says before coming here, Dr. Tracey worked in Phoenix, Arizona, but before that she had worked across the state, in Oroville, Colusa, Oakhurst, and Clovis. She says she wanted to come back to Calif.

The Lake County BOS is looking for people to apply to be on the Lake County Public Defenders’ Advisory Committee. Those who are chosen will be involved in reviewing indigent defense services in Lake County, advising the Board of Supervisors on equity and social justice related to those individuals and help put together reports for the Board each year on indigent defense services in Lake County. Those who apply should have experience and expertise in indigent public defense services and reflect the diversity of Lake County. They’re looking for people who can regularly commit and attend meetings, and they cannot be a prosecuting lawyer or an employee of the Lake County Superior Court.

We’re not done yet, as more winter weather is expected in Mendocino County through the weekend. Be safe on the roads, and if you can stay inside, you should, according to emergency responders regionally. They advise to have a supply of food, water, medications, fuel for generators, if you have them, and other essential items handy. Hazardous weather conditions are supposed to continue and there have been widespread reports of downed trees and powerlines. If you do have to travel, please be sure to carry chains, slow down, watch for road closures, and don’t go thru closed roads. Also, consider any downed power lines is still energized. You can check and follow the County of Mendocino Facebook page for any updates.

A fire took down a home in Potter Valley due to a stove catching fire and spreading. The warming stove lit the home up yesterday afternoon in the garage of the home. Firefighters say the fire spread to the second story then the entire home caught fire. Potter Valley, Ukiah Valley Fire, Redwood Valley-Calpella Fire, and Hopland Fire were all on the scene. The fire was out in about three hours.

Two meetings have been set to hear from the public after the Sonoma County BOS voted unanimously to set up homeless encampments on county land over two sites. Up to 100 tents and 25 RVs would be set up in Santa Rosa, in the Veterans Memorial Building parking lot and lots on the county’s administrative campus so the continued camping around the Joe Rodota Trail in Santa Rosa would end once and for all. But yesterday there was an impromptu announcement there would be a virtual town hall this afternoon to discuss the proposal with residents. Another meeting is set for Monday. Each of the meetings will focus on one of the two sites after neighbors complained. The meetings today at 3 and Monday at 5.
Register for the Zoom meetings by going to:

The City of Ukiah is preparing the next budget, as the City Manager announced revenues were way off. Earlier this month Manager Sage Sangiacomo told the city council tax revenue had a major decline over what was anticipated. He added it was from the city’s tax consultant, and it was the second quarter in a row. He pinned it on the drying up revenue stream from the cannabis industry. Sangiacomo added employment in the same industry and less people going to restaurants had also impacted revenues, saying it was unique to Northern Calif., in Mendocino and Humboldt, and probably also in Lake and Trinity counties. At the same time he says the City of Ukiah has reserves and a budget surplus.

A pack of dogs accused of attacking a man in Covelo and sending him to the hospital have been caught. Five dogs have been cornered according to Mendocino County’s Animal Services Department. The animals will be put down as a result of the attack that left the victim with multiple wounds on his legs. Round Valley Tribal Police, tasked with finding the dogs reportedly captured the dogs after the victim of the attack identified them. Animal Services reports all of the dogs were impounded because of their aggressive behavior, adding they pose a risk, threat, and liability to the community, so with that, they will all be euthanized.

As progress is made on the Great Redwood Trail, environmentalists are complaining about plans to take out some oak trees. But about forty valley oaks could be removed south of Ukiah. City staff say many can be saved because the plans have not been solidified. The City of Ukiah is planning to pick up construction of the trail from Commerce Drive in Airport Park out to Norgard Lane, paid for with a grant received from the state Urban Greening Program. The trail will be adjacent to the tracks since the city never got the nod to railbank the trail, like other sections. 43 trees are in the way though. The city emphasizes there’s been no final decision on the plans, and they are listening to the concerns.

The City of Ukiah is partnering with the Mendocino County Fire Safe Council and the Western Hills Fire Safe Council to remove invasive weeds in the Western Hills. They are working together to get volunteers to help remove French Broom, which is flammable, from a shaded fuel break, on two sites. The first outing will be Saturday, March 4th at 8:30 AM. They are asking interested Volunteers to meet in front of City Hall. The fuel break was created by CalFire over a couple of years to help with wildfire containment. But the invasive weeds could get in the way of the plan.

The state of California is allowing more water to be allocated from the State Water Project in 2023 after so much rain. Since another major winter storm is hitting the state, following a string of storms earlier this winter, reservoirs and the Sierra Nevada snowpack are looking pretty stealthy. So, yesterday the California Department of Water Resources announced the State Water Project, which essentially serves 27 million Californians can up the water supply at 35%. State water officials are warning though, that’s still pretty early and not time yet to declare the drought, now in its third year, over. Snowpack in the Sierra Nevada as of yesterday measured 173% of normal for the date. And Lake Oroville’s water level is at 115% of its historic average.

After the latest storm swept in, Boonville lost some power. On Tuesday for about an hour or so some downtown businesses had to close because they were in the dark. It went out around 1:40 and lasted until almost 3 pm. There were reports some folks still had no power for “extended periods.” And reports of power out the same day from Caspar to Little River and in the area of the Woods. PG&E reported trees into power lines.

The man accused of starting the Hopkins Fire in Calpella a year and a half ago will not be tried in Mendocino County. Devin Johnson is charged for the Sept. 2021 arson fire after he was seen in the area where it started about 5 miles north of Ukiah. Several homes burned in the fire. Back in 2021 the Public Defender’s office filed to change venues, claiming Johnson wouldn’t get a fair trial. The judge currently overseeing the case announced possible venues of Marin or Colusa counties. Last month a jury was not seated, but attempted since all questioned knew about the fire. The judge approved the defense request at that time for a change of venue.

The federal government has given approval to help pay for one of two large dam projects in Santa Clara County. One of them is the Anderson Dam. Which was drained for earthquake repairs in 2020. The EPA is set to announce approval of a $727 million low-interest loan to the Santa Clara Valley Water District to help rebuild the dam near Morgan Hill. But it’s only about half of what the water district asked for so they could build a new dam near Pacheco Pass and Henry W. Coe State Park.

After searching for two weeks for a woman in a remote forest, her body was found. The Del Norte County Sheriff reported 71-year-old Vana Sisopha, who had disappeared Feb. 3rd, mushroom hunting, died. It happened during cold nights alone, as the woman had become separated from her husband and daughter in the Smith River National Recreation Area. The trio were experienced foragers who had been to the area before from Tacoma, WA.

It was a big thumbs up from the Lakeport City Council for a new recreation agency. At their meeting this week the council gave unanimous approval to City Manager Kevin Ingram’s presentation on the joint exercise of powers agreement for a Lake County Recreation Agency. Lakeport followed Clearlake with its approval of the agreement. Now it moves to the Board of Supervisors next month for their decision. The idea bloomed after a group of folks started meeting regularly a few years ago to enhance recreational opportunities in Lakeport. That turned into a countywide effort which became known as the Recreation Task Force.

The state of California is reportedly considering no longer paying for medical screening for migrants. CalMatters reports when they come in from other countries they’re given facemasks, food and water. They are also tested for COVID and offered vaccines and areas to isolate if they’re sick. But now the Governor says the state can’t afford it anymore. The centers are funded by the state and federal governments. Gov. Newsom has proposed phasing out aid for some medical services in coming months, then totally stopping unless the Fed steps into help.

The state of California is reportedly working with the Biden Administration on offshore wind energy. The White House announced a program to speed up offshore wind development across the country. And with that California added its name to a 13-state Federal State Offshore Wind Implementation Partnership. The effort to fast-track work for cleaner and cheaper energy, create higher paying jobs and build an American supply chain for offshore wind. Governor Newsom commented on the project saying, “we’re in the midst of a clean energy revolution, and ramping up the development of offshore wind energy will help move our state off dirty fossil fuels”.

A man from Covelo ended up in the hospital after an attack by a pack of dogs. 26-year-old Mario Montes says nine dogs attacked him Monday while he was walking to get some food from a local restaurant. He says his walk on Tabor Lane was met by the dogs who all surrounded him, biting his legs. He says he punched three of them in the face and they finally ran away. You can see pictures of his legs riddled with puncture wounds on Mendo Fever. The news site reports the Director of Mendocino County’s Animal Care Services had one of his officers meet the victim at the hospital. But they don’t know who owns the dogs. Animal Protection also called Round Valley Police because they are supposed to enforce the animal control ordinance. Someone else was attacked by a dog last month too. Also in Covelo.

The Anderson Valley School District is hosting a College and Career Dinner. It’s happening next Tuesday evening at 5 pm at the Junior/Senior High School. They’ll have dinner served as attendees learn about how to get high school credits for college, college prep and career options like apprenticeships and career technical programs. Parents and students from fourth grade on up are encouraged to attend. But call first to your school to let them know you will be there so they have enough food. They have nearly 200 reservations already. The deadline for reservations is this Thursday at 3:45 p.m.

The Mardi Gras in Mendocino County went off without a hitch. Folks were out Saturday night in the town of Ukiah at the County’s economic, political and government center. The yearly celebration locally for Mardi Gras benefits St. Mary’s School with as much as $80,000 raised in one night. The money helps offset tuition for local families. Local baker Zack Schat was there cooking for what’s reported as a delicious dinner for 450 attendees. 

It’s not what it seems… A longtime local moving from Mendocino County to Hawaii needs your help. But it’s not about money for John Terwilliger, the former owner of the Elk Store. He needs help traveling to Hawaii and he will even pay your airfare…. What? John is on a fixed income and has enough to get someone over to Hawaii, help him settle into his new retirement spot, and get back. He doesn’t drive after a recent stroke. If you can help, call John Terwilliger (707) 353-0125

Congresswoman Barbara Lee is joining the crowded field to run for Senator Diane Feinstein’s seat after the 89-year-old long time politician announced her retirement. Lee posted a video to Twitter mentioning her background, her platforms like championing protections for survivors of domestic violence and being the only member of Congress to vote against military force after 9-11. Lee is also the former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. She’s up against firebrand Democratic Congresswoman Katie Porter and Adam Schiff, the lead prosecutor in then-President Donald Trump’s first impeachment trial.

The Legislature will consider a new bill to mandate the California State University system give employees a full semester off for parental leave after a birth, adoption or first fostering a child. The bill would affirm and solidify the commitment by the state to support parents and the well-being of families. That’s the word by the Assemblymember who introduced the Legislation, Dawn Addis, D-Morro Bay.

A state lawmaker has put forth a bill that would require all-gender restrooms in schools. Democratic Senator Josh Newman of Fullerton’s bill would mean all K-12 schools in the state have to provide students a way to use an all-gender restroom during school hours. Right now schools are required to give access to students consistent with their gender, but it’s not explicitly noted there must be gender-neutral restrooms anywhere. Newman’s bill, SB 760, looks to change that. He says “schools should provide a safe and inclusive environment for all students… so they can thrive academically, socially and emotionally”. Newman is the chair of the Senate’s education committee.

Congressman John Garamendi has returned from a trip to Ukraine. The Northern Calif. congressional member was at the border with Poland to check on weapons at the front lines.  He says there have been concerns that American equipment was not getting to its destination to help Ukraine fight off Russian soldiers. But Garamendi says that was not what he saw with his own eyes. He says a plane landed and offloaded around 20 tons of weapons, rockets, artillery shells and much more.

We may soon have a new state mushroom. We don’t have one now, but there’s a bill being considered to make the Golden Chanterelle, only found under oak trees in California, as the state mushroom. The fungi recently picked in a poll put out by a nonprofit group in Berkeley. It beat five other choices winning 39-percent of the vote.  The Chanterelle is often used by chefs and home cooks.  Other state symbols include a bird, the Calif. Quail, or Valley Quail and of course, our flower is the California poppy.

A “Shelter Crisis”. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has unanimously voted to put up managed encampments for the unsheltered.  The area would be secured and fenced and located at the Santa Rosa Veterans Memorial building and, on the county’s, administrative campus.  Both are county-owned.  If it goes as planned, there could be as many as 80 tents spread across the parking lots at both spots.  The county is apparently trying to rid itself once and for all of the unsanctioned homeless encampments that keep appearing along the Joe Rodota Trail in Santa Rosa. 

People are still skedaddling out of California. The population was down by more than 500,000 people between April 2020 and July 2022. The amount leaving has surpassed the amount coming in by almost 700,000. The decrease was second only to New York, which lost about 15,000 more people than California, according to census data. The COVID19 pandemic really had the population sinking in Calif, more than other parts of the country. Experts say the main reason is high housing costs, and long commutes, crowds, crime and pollution like most larger urban centers. Plus being allowed to work remotely has also changed the data.

The local communications service provider known as Mendocino Community Network (MCN), which is owned by the Mendocino Unified School District, says there won’t be any more Fusion plan available to new subscribers. They will however make the plan available for the current subscribers already getting Fusion plan services. It comes as a new deregulation from the FCC takes effect which means larger networks, like AT&T don’t have to provide wholesale prices for unbundled network pieces for local exchange purchasers.

The USDA’s Forest Service says they’ve completed their aerial survey of the of tree mortality. The 2022 Aerial Detection Survey Summary Report shows “estimates of tree mortality and damage and depict broad mortality trends.” The Lake County Board of Supervisors recently proclaimed a local emergency because of Pervasive Tree Mortality. Then Napa and Mendocino Counties followed with their own States of Emergency. The report from the USDA shows a troubling trend in Douglas Fir trees dying off… same for Tanoak, but not nearly as much. True fir, California and Shasta red, white and grand fir also effected but mostly light to moderate intensity. From 2019 to 2022 it went from 1,000 Acres, 3,000 dead trees to 31,000 Acres, 590,000 dead trees.

Lake County is looking for volunteers for an 8-week training as senior peer counselors. Those who apply would work with Lake County’s seniors who struggle with depression, anxiety and loneliness. Senior Peer Counseling is administered through Konocti Senior Support. Those who are hired as counselors work to give emotional support, by listening and guiding a person through hard times. They could be grieving the loss of a loved one, or a person who is home after receiving medical care and needs to restart their daily lives. Counselors and clients must be at least 55 years of age.

Car insurance is going up. The California Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara had approved rate increases after breaks given during the COVID lockdowns. Insurance companies were saying they were losing money, so higher rates for Geico, Mercury and others are creeping in. Customers are seeing the rate hikes with their renewal letters, and the companies aren’t done. More hikes are planned even though some of the companies have not refunded for premium overcharges early on during the pandemic as folks drove less and were in less accidents. The next hikes could be anywhere from 4.5% to as much as 20%.

Redwood Credit Union has given a truck away to a woman at their Lower Lake branch. Two Sundays ago the bank had a truck giveaway at a block party and Alexandra Valencia won the Toyota Tacoma worth $44,000. There were other prizes too for those in attendance. Other finalists won a television, Apple Watch, $500 gift certificate, and more. The credit union got over 2,800 entries from Lake County residents who are new members of RCU, referred a friend, or applied for a loan between July 5, 2022 and Jan. 21st.

The state could be working out more kinks in broadband and how its regulated. Assemblymember Jim Wood has introduced legislation, calling broadband an essential service saying it was realized even more during the pandemic. People need internet for work in an office and at home, for virtual classrooms, to see a doctor and to do their banking. Wood’s bill would regulate necessary functions of broadband, like how strong it is, how reliable its backup power is, blackout prevention, network replacement and, to be prepared for emergencies.

The Yurok Tribe in northern California is teaming up with the U.S. Marshals Service Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons Initiative. The tribe was chosen as a pilot location for the Marshal’s plans for public safety issues, especially for missing endangered children. They are conducting virtual and in-person meetings with tribe members and the Marshal Service sharing information, identifying goals, and developing strategies to improving public safety for Yurok Tribe members, and the broader community. The Yurok Tribe is a leader in criminal justice matters related to the Indian community and has led efforts to bring attention to Missing and Murdered Indigenous Persons.

Another sign up is scheduled by the Mendocino National Forest for its wildland fire training program. Forest staff are registering interested parties at their Chico office. Every year they sponsor about 10 on-call wildland firefighter type-2 hand crews. They help with wildfire suppression locally and nationally for the season, typically May-November. The crews each contain 18-20 team members, a crew boss and three squad bosses. Crewmembers get 10 days of paid training and can then work as sawyers, saw swampers, or firefighters type-1, type-1 trainees and type-2. You have to be 18 years or older to qualify.

Applicants can register for the OC program in advance at

For more information about the OC program, please contact Forest Training Officer Adam Coronado at or by calling the office at (530) 934-3316.

Looking for canned cocktails, but unsure where to get them? Senator Bill Dodd has drafted a bill to make it easier for convenience store owners to offer them up. His bill allows 16-ounce cans of distilled mixed spirits that have a 10% alcohol content by volume or less to be sold in convenience stores. SF Gate reports certain businesses can carry the cans, but their licenses, type 21 ABC, are expensive. The rub is that many convenience stores only carry type 20 ABC licenses. That’s just for packaged beers and wines. Dodd’s bill would allow type 20 licensees to sell canned distilled spirits too.

The California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s wife, an Assemblymember, is removing herself from anything related to the budget for her husband’s office because she leads a legislative subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department’s budget. Assemblywoman Mia Bonta has recused herself from public safety spending. She is the head of Assembly Budget Subcommittee 5, for which Atty. General Rob Bonta’s agency, falls under. She put out a statement over the weekend saying she doesn’t think there is a legal or ethical conflict, but just the same, she has recused herself so residents “have absolute confidence in the legislative process.”

Artic cold temps are headed to the North Coast. The National Weather Service in Eureka is warning a cold front is headed our way, and with it, comes sea-level snow by Thursday. That means Ukiah could be getting some of the powdery, fluffy stuff. The cold will move in this morning from southwestern Canada with strong gusty wind along the coast and exposed ridges. The most wind is forecasted for Southern Mendocino and Lake Counties. Freezing temperatures are predicted to last through the weekend.

A new report says Mendocino County is falling behind in licensing legal cannabis grows. The report in SF Gate says just a dozen of the County’s 832 active cannabis farms have gotten their annual licenses. As opposed to more than 63% of farms in Humboldt County. The news site got the numbers from the Department of Cannabis Control (DCC) directly. 49% of the state’s cultivation licenses have been renewed annually. The rest could lose their temporary licenses due to what farmers say, is the fault of county government officials. The Mendocino Cannabis Alliance has also sent a letter to the Governor and the Cannabis Control Director to help or the county’s industry could fail due to negligence by the county government.

People are preparing for spring and summer at the Lake Sonoma Marina. Staffers say their phone lines are lighting up with people interested in boat rentals and slip leases. Lake Sonoma Area Resort reports they’ve had an unusual amount of lookie loos, just coming to see the lake level after so many winter storms, and so many years of drought before this. Lake Sonoma went from a 40 year low the first week of December to about 99% of its water supply threshold in around 10 weeks. The general manager of Sonoma Water says they’re all shocked by the levels. They manage the water supply pool at lakes Sonoma and Mendocino.

Round Valley will be hosting an Earth Day Festival this year. It’s happening for the first time in three years. The Friends of the Round Valley Public Library will be hosting. Money raised will go to the Library and the Library Commons, their community center. They’re partnering with the Round Valley Indians, area schools and the greater community to bring the event into reality. Their theme is to bring awareness to the natural world. They will have student projects and presentations, educational movies, workshops, live music, library activities and a youth art show April 22nd from 11am to Dusk.

There’s a fundraiser for the Gualala Community Center being planned after a fire destroyed two of their buildings. They’re looking for community donations but will also try to get state and federal assistance so they can rebuild their gathering place. “The ‘Community Center ReBuilding Fund’ looks to raise more after one pledge of up to $100,000 from a local resident towards a matching fund campaign. Right now, they’re only accepting through US mail, but are looking for ways to expand beyond that. Contributions can be made payable to “Gualala Community Center” with a memo of “ReBuilding Fund” and mail it straight to the Gualala Community Center. They’re also looking for more volunteers to help with the rebuild. You can call the board of directors or email them

A warning has been sent to students at Cal Poly Humboldt because of a sex assault. The “Timely Warning Bulletin” was sent to be in compliance with the Jeanne Clery Act so that other students are not victims of a similar crime. The notice reminded to seek help from a trusted friend or to get support from the Campus Advocate Team which is open 24/7 and is a free resource. The assault reportedly happened in the Cedar Residence Hall, but no suspect was named and no description released.

A concert is being hosted by the Friends of the Mendocino College Coastal Field Station and Natural Sciences to raise money. The Alex de Grassi benefit concert is this Saturday at 7pm on the Ukiah Campus of Mendocino College to raise money for the Coastal Field Station. A professor of Earth Science at the college says de Grassi also has an Earth Science degree, but from UC Berkeley. But Dr. Steve Cardimona, added it is de Grassi’s musical talents that have captivated audiences for decades. The concert starts at 7pm. The fundraiser to add on to the goal of raising $250K. They reached about halfway last summer.

A renowned photographer from Mendocino County has died. Roger Franklin worked at the Ukiah Unified School District too but became popular in the county because of his many photos of concerts, car shows and other events. The 75 year old was known by his close friends and family as Rog. They say he used his camera to get into hundreds of concerts, beer fests and more, and in return he shared his work with musicians, promoters and performers for free. He died Jan. 27th and a memorial is planned for March 25th at Near & Arnold School of Performing Arts in Ukiah.

A free meal has been provided by the Ukiah Elks Lodge for first responders. On Friday, January 27th, the Sheriff, police, firefighters, EMS workers and search and rescue volunteers were invited to the Elks. More than 30 paid guests were there for dinner and Elks Club members served 19 meals free of charge to their honored guests.

A pedestrian has been killed by a driver in Lakeport. Police report an officer was on patrol and spotted a Beige 2002 Chevy Tahoe collide into a pedestrian walking westbound on Eleventh St. The officer asked for emergency medical aid for those hit and blocked off the area. But the pedestrian was declared dead on scene. The driver stopped and was not believed to be impaired by drugs or alcohol. They also told the officer they were not driving in an unsafe manner. Police say the investigating into what happened will involve toxicology reports. The names have not been released until the victim’s family is notified.

A new law that won’t allow law enforcement officers fired from one agency to hop to another has gone into effect. With that a former Former Bragg officer is the first officially decertified in the state. Christopher Awad worked in the Fort Bragg Police Department from 2012 to 2020 when he was investigated for misconduct related to a DUI where he arrested a woman, and later became friendly with her. The Mendocino County DA put him on the list 3 years ago as an officer with a bad record for not telling the DA about his relationship with the woman. Since then, Awad has gone public to say he believes how he was treated was unfair and retaliatory.

A new bill looks to come up with ways to beat back climate change with the help of some state agencies. Assemblyman Jim Wood’s bill asks the State Water Resources Control Board and California Department of Fish and Wildlife to find ways to improve climate resiliency and drought preparedness. Policies including diverting water in coastal watersheds when there are water shortages or dry years, coming up with dry-year water management plans, coming up with drought response measures for localities that help decide future investments in watershed health and water supply reliability. Wood commented that having consistent and predictable drought response helps both fish and people.

A man who used to live in Ukiah has been found guilty of felony assault with a deadly weapon. Timmy Cooper was also found guilty of personally inflicting great bodily injury on the victim. He used a chain on another person, breaking their arm. He also has four prior Strike convictions, including burglary, robbery and bank robbery with a deadly weapon. The case goes to the
Probation Department, but Cooper is facing 43 years to life.

A company truck from Redwood Valley Market had its catalytic converter stolen. Apparently store surveillance footage caught someone on camera early yesterday morning, pull up in a dark-colored sedan. Footage grabbed a shot of the driver’s face, but it was covered, maybe in a face mask. Mendo Fever is reporting this is the suspect in the theft. It’s about $4,300 to replace the catalytic converter, more than what the market says the truck is worth. And their insurance won’t cover the theft.

Several small fires inside an autobody shop had the Sheriff’s Office investigating. Deputies reported to G&C Auto Body in Ukiah Friday night after the alarm went off. When they got there, they found the business had been broken into and five small fires were lit inside. They identified the possible suspect as Benjamin Dimmick after finding him inside trying to light another fire. He had barricaded himself inside and wouldn’t listen to Deputies, so they forced their way in as the building burned. Deputies broke out fire extinguishers and called for help from Ukiah Valley Fire. Dimmick was also suspected of a nearby hit and run. He was arrested for felony arson and burglary and held on $25,000.00 bail.

A 13 year old Cahto Tribe member reported missing has been found. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports finding Taya Britton of Laytonville in Willits. Last week Britton’s family, tribe, and local law enforcement were asking for the public’s help finding her. They said at the time she had run away from her home two weeks ago. She had not been seen since February 7th and did not go to school. They gave a description of her and posted her photo online. As of yesterday the Sheriff’s office reported finding her after receiving a tip where she may be. She was turned over to Children’s Protective Services.

As you may recall PG&E has applied to decommission the Potter Valley Project. The Lake Pillsbury Alliance which works to preserve Lake Pillsbury says they’re working to bring information to the public about how important Lake Pillsbury’s water supply is. Their newsletter reminds the PG&E put in for a 2 ½ year decommissioning and surrendering timeline. That won’t happen until January 2025. In the meantime, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) filed a request to reopen the hydropower license about a year ago and there’s been some back and forth with FERC ever since. But the project has not generated any power for a couple of years with only a limited amount of water being delivered to the Russian River.

A woman in Ukiah with a restraining order against a man reported being hurt by the man. The Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call on Valentine’s Day about an altercation from the day before with the dad to the woman’s kids, Eric Olecik. Deputies developed enough evidence to believe the guy had beat up the woman, so they went to his home and arrested him for Felony Domestic Violence Battery, Felony Violation of Probation and Misdemeanor Violation Domestic Protective Order. He was held on $25,000.00 bail.

The President has declared a major disaster in Northern Calif. after Severe Winter Storms, Flooding, Landslides and Mudslides. The declaration was official as of January 14th, for the disaster that started just after Christmas last year. That means the U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency Emergency Loan Program has been made available for
physical and crop production losses up to as much as $500,000. The application deadline is this October 2nd.

To apply: Contact 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:

The Mendocino County BOS is having a closed-door special meeting. On Thursday the Board will consider several evaluations of employees. The Planning and Building Services Director, General Services Agency Director, Behavioral Health & Recovery Services Director, Social Services Director, County Health Officer and Cannabis Director are all being evaluated. The Board also anticipates being sued, so they will seek counsel from County Counsel during the same meeting.

The Public Health Emergency related to COVID19 in Sonoma County is ending. The end is in alignment with the expiration of the state’s emergency. The Sonoma County Public Health Officer says it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the virus, just getting close to the end of the endemic phase. Dr. Sundari Mase also says the latest variants are not as serious as what we saw in the early days of the pandemic. And she says, since we have vaccines and a lot more information on the virus, it doesn’t need to be treated as an emergency any more after Feb. 28.

The California Attorney General says he’s creating a team to look into wrongful or improper convictions. Atty. General Rob Bonta says the newly-created Post-Conviction Justice Unit will be the first like it. The team will work to “support integrity in the criminal legal system and seek to remedy cases where there have been miscarriages of justice”. He says there could be many reasons, like bias, changes in forensics, or other issues, adding the legal system is not foolproof. He says the ultimate goal is to support public safety, seeking ways to be sure “convictions are just”.

A new recreation agency is being created in Lakeport. The City Council will consider a resolution for a joint exercise of powers agreement to form the Lake County Recreation Agency. They will hear from the Assistant City Manager Nick Walker on the matter after the Clearlake City Council approved their agreement last week. The Board of Supervisors will also have to vote on it, that’s supposed to happen this month too. Also tomorrow night, the Lakeport City Attorney will present a talk on ethics regulations and best practices. There will be other business at the meeting too, including the continuing local emergency for COVID-19.

After the news about former President Jimmy Carter receiving hospice care at home, we also hear locally about how Habitat for Humanity has helped a local family. Carter and his wife former first lady, Rosalyn have spent over 4 decades volunteering for Habitat. The branch in Lake County just closed of their 39th home in Clearlake. Habitat staff along with the family had a celebration ceremony at the home December 28th. The home actually closed on Christmas Day though. The family says it’s the best Christmas gift they could have received, spending Christmas night in their new home.

If you are interested in Habitat’s Homeownership program or know someone you think would qualify, you are encouraged to contact the office at 707-994-1100, Extension 106, or stop by for an application at 15312 Lakeshore Drive in Clearlake, behind Foods, Etc.

They’ve begun planning for the “Biggest Catfish Tournament West of the Mississippi”. That’s the 2023 Catfish Derby in Clearlake Oaks. They’ve begun accepting entries onlne, and in person registration will also be accepted day of the event, May 18th. Fishing starts at noon the following day and will go through the weekend. The Derby Director tells Lake Co News they’re expecting another great year for catfishing and the economy. The rains are welcome, they say after the lower lake levels of the past, related to the drought. The director also says they’re expecting up to 1,000 entries. Derby prizes total $10,000 and there’s another $2,500 in prizes and merchandise. For more information go to the website or the Derby Facebook Page or call 707-596-0248

Some of the people impacted by the massive sinkhole, then condemning of the Lake County mobile home park last month are speaking out. Mendocino Voice has spoken to many of the residents who had to leave the Creekside Cabins & RV Resort after a culvert failed. Some people have relocated their vehicles, others had to leave in a rush. Some reportedly giving up their pets so they can find permanent housing. A temporary bridge was put up by the county after the landlord of the resort apparently stopped communicating with the contractor and county. The county says they’re going to sue landlord Teresa Thurman. That’s because Caltrans says she was responsible for repairs since the road accessed her private property and was for no other public benefit.

The USDA is stepping in after the disastrous winter storms and floods in Mendocino County. Emergency farm loans for both physical and crop production losses as a direct result of the disaster, up to a maximum of $500,000, are now available.  Farmers and ranchers who conduct family-sized farming operations are eligible. For information, you can get in touch with the local Farm Service Agency in Ukiah. There is also access through a link on the website, Weeks of heavy rain starting late last year into January did billions of dollars’ worth of damage across California. President Biden has issued a major disaster declaration for hard-hit communities.

A troubling report from the US Department of Agriculture about trees in Lake County. The report shows trees are dying at an alarming rate, growing from 3,000 dead trees in 2019 to 590,000 in 2022. The Lake County District 5 supervisor, Jessica Pyska, is leading the effort to sound the alarm about the critical loss. The county declared a tree mortality emergency last May and helped surrounding counties declare their own emergency plans. Entomologists say removing dead or dying trees is critical to mitigating the effect of the bark beetle infestation that has ripped through northern California woodlots. Remediation is expensive. It could cost more than 12 million dollars for in high-priority areas alone. The county says it is working hard to get that funding from every source available. Pyska says the report confirms the scope of the problem and should bring attention and urgency to a very serious issue for the county.

Ukiah police have arrested a wanted man after a foot chase. They say an officer spotted 44-year-old John Cook in the area of Rupe St. and Perry Street on Thursday morning and knew that Cook had a felony warrant from Sonoma County. Cook saw the officer and ran off. The officer chased him, and during that pursuit, he noticed that Cook tossed out an object, later found to be an illegal zip gun with a live 40-caliber round inside. Other officers responded and eventually cornered Cook in a parking lot on State Street, where Cook gave up when officers drew their guns. Cook was arrested and booked into the county jail on four felony charges.

Clearlake is preparing to buy some tax defaulted property directly from Lake County About two dozen homes, worth up to $150,000, would be sold without the city going through the formal auction process. That has been something the city has wanted to do for a long time but is finally moving forward under new treasurer/tax collector Patrick Sullivan. The city manager says most of the properties are not suitable for development, but some are blighted and could be fixed up to offer more quality housing. The city council voted to move forward with negotiations on a tax sale that could happen in May.

The Clearlake animal shelter is full, but it has been able to save several rescued animals by transferring them to another facility. 23 animals were transferred to a no-kill shelter in Sonoma County, including 12 dogs—four adult dogs and eight puppies. That shelter has a high adoption rate, meaning the animals have a better chance of finding good homes. Animal control leaders gave the city council an update on its services, saying the city is expanding its spaying and neutering efforts. It has partnered with the Clearlake Veterinary Clinic to continue to improve those services to help control the pet population.

Ukiah continues to wrestle with vandalism at a popular city park. The Daily Journal reports the bathrooms at Ukiah Skate Park were closed for a time earlier this month after someone smashed the porcelain sinks inside. Officers say it’s more than just graffiti on the walls. For now, the city is hoping self-policing and park users who report what they see will help, but eventually there could be security cameras if the problem persists. An awareness strategy worked earlier this winter after someone reported people using Airsoft rifles at the city’s Riverside Park. Since putting up signs and educating people about park rules, police say inappropriate activities have declined there.

Ukiah has hired a second consultant to review the pending city’s flood plain maps. The first consultant the city hired found the most recent required FEMA maps were in line with flooding models, but Public Works Director Tim Eriksen wanted  a second opinion. Eriksen told the City Council this week that the new maps are very different than the current ones and put a lot more people in the flood plain. That would mean property owners applying for a a federally backed loan and getting expensive flood insurance. He says he wants to make sure the city isn’t missing anything or adding any areas that have never historically flooded. City Manager Sage Sangiacomo thinks the maps go too far, especially in the Brush Street Triangle and Masonite Industrial Park areas. He is urging residents to go to the city website to review the proposed flood plain areas. The city has until March 15th to appeal the new FEMA maps.

The agency in charge of overseeing California’s budget for homeless services has calculated how much the problem cost the state between 2018 and 2021.The figure is around ten billion dollars. The Inter-agency Council on Homelessness says that money helped about 571,000 people over that period. The report to lawmakers comes with concerns about how the huge investment is spent and whether it is making any difference. According to those who have read the report, one thing is clear: homelessness is a huge problem that is only getting worse as more people live on the streets despite programs designed to help.

State lawmakers will discuss a bill that would require high school students to learn about personal finance before they graduate. Sponsors say too many kids are basically financially illiterate when they get out of high school. If it passes, it would make that class mandatory by the time the class of 2029 graduates. The topics would include things like budgeting, credit, and financing. 17 other states already have similar laws.

Supply chain issues are hitting where it really hurts. Girl Scouts of Northern California say cookie sales have been delayed a few weeks. It means no Thin Mints or Tagalongs until at least March 8th. The cookie baker says it is experiencing inventory shortages, so the sales are on hold for now. People in the region eat lots of cookies. 25,000 girls—and their parents—sell around 4 million boxes of cookies a year. Scouts say they are disappointed but will start coming around and setting up their sales tables just as soon as they can.

A teenager reported missing yesterday is safe. Clearlake police say 13-year-old DeShawn Mills has returned home after a bulletin was sent out that he was missing earlier in the day.

City manager Sage Sangiacomo has told the city council that Ukiah’s revenue is down over the past year. He says projections from the city tax consultant show that the numbers are down significantly for the second quarter in a row. Sangiacomo says one reason is a downturn in the cannabis industry, not just in Ukiah but across Northern California. He says that the downturn has a ripple effect across the economy. Despite the income slowdown, Sangiacomo thinks the city is well-positioned with a budget surplus and reserves, so there is no need for a knee-jerk reaction. However, he is concerned that the problem is long-term and something city leaders should be aware of as they draw up future budgets. That process for the coming year is now underway.

The city of Fort Bragg is looking for volunteers to help spruce up the Otis Johnson Wilderness Park as we count down the days until spring. The seven-acre park in the middle of the city is home to a vibrant ecosystem, and the group Conservation Works says that it is important to keep the forest, soil, and water there healthy and resilient in the face of environmental challenges. The work includes planting redwoods, cleaning the creek, and pulling up invasive plants. The first of four stewardship days is this Saturday, with three other opportunities on March 2nd, March 18th, and March 25th. The Fort Bragg city website has information on how you can get involved.

Another candidate in the race for the US Senate in 2024, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, has announced she will run for the seat now held by Senator Diane Feinstein, who is retiring. Lee is the third Democrat to get in. The others are also in Congress—Katie Porter and Steve Schiff. Lots more Democrats will be in by the time the primary rolls around next year because it is a once-in-a-generation opening for the seat that has belonged to Feinstein since 1993.

Tesla is opening some of its fast superchargers to everyone by the end of next year. That could help drivers with other models who are sometimes frustrated trying to find a plug-in. Tesla has by far the biggest infrastructure of any EV maker, so this could help expand the market even more. The deal to give more access was announced by the White House. Tesla has three superchargers in Mendocino County—in Ukiah, Fort Bragg, and Laytonville.

If you’re called and serve on a jury in California, the pay is minimal—$15 a day unless your employer gives you paid time off. A bill in the Assembly would change that for low-income jurors. Sponsors say no one should have to face financial hardship, so their bill would raise the daily stipend to $100 for those who make 80% of the average wage in their county and are not paid by their employer for off time, are self-employed, or are unemployed. It would only apply to criminal cases. Prosecutors and defense lawyers agree it would be a good idea to ensure all defendants get a constitutionally guaranteed jury of their peers.

Arguments in the case of a man accused of killing a 13-month-old baby last year and dumping the child’s body near railroad tracks in Ukiah are focused on the defendant’s competence to stand trial. Edward Two Feathers Steele was not in court on Wednesday as his public defender argued that her client could assist in his case. Steele is facing second-degree murder charges for the death of the boy, who was found last August in the 300 block of Brush Street. Steele is also charged with child cruelty for injuring the victim’s two-year-old brother, who was found nearby. Steele had been dating the children’s mother at the time. The judge ruled that a doctor should examine Steele and report back by March 8th, when the preliminary hearing could resume depending on the findings. Steeel remains in the Mendocino County Jail.

Lakeport police are warning about thieves who have been stealing license plates. Officers say those plates are then being put on stolen cars or switched out, leaving the owner unaware until they’re pulled over. The thieves often take and swap a plate from a similar-looking car, which means unsuspecting drivers can get stopped when the bad plate shows up on a police license plate reader. Lakeport police say they’ll start to strictly enforce California’s two-plate requirement. They are also urging owners to be vigilant and to immediately contact the DMV to replace any missing plates.

There’s a new manager at the Beryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. Melissa Hover will take on the big job of overseeing the 330,000 acres of public land stretching from Napa County to the mountains in the Mendocino National Forest north of Clear Lake. Hover has had a long career with the Bureau of Land Management. She calls the Monument home to some of the most spectacular public lands in the country and says she looks forward to ensuring its future for generations to come.

Governor Newsom is breaking his usual silence about his ex-wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle. Gilfoyle is a Fox News commentator and is engaged to Donald Trump Jr. In an interview on CNN, the governor calls Guilfoyle a different person than the woman he married, who, in his words, “fell prey” to the culture at Fox News when she started working there in 2006. They were divorced shortly after that.