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A new task force has been formed in the US House, that Congressman Jared Huffman is the Vice Chair of tackling clean energy. The Accelerating Clean Energy (ACE) Task Force will be led by Huffman to develop investments in clean energy. The task force will take on the challenges of getting clean energy projects started, work with the Biden administration and other stakeholders for reforms to permitting so that new renewable energy projects are brought forward faster. They will also work to modernize the electrical grid to help Biden reach his promise of reduction of carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2030.

A driver in a silver jeep on Highway 101 headed south near the Ridgewood scales crashed due to slippery road conditions. The CHP reports the driver could not keep control of the vehicle and ended up on the northbound side of the highway, driving into a silver Hyundai. Each of the drivers had major injuries, but the driver of the Hyundai, died. The other driver was taken to
Howard Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The City of Ukiah has been awarded more than $7 million dollars to fight wildfires. The grant from the USDA Community Wildfire Defense Program to harden areas against possible wildfires, maintain fuel breaks and build new ones, along with other fire prevention efforts. The five year “Ukiah Valley and Mendocino Hazardous Fuels Reduction Project” will mean building more defensible space, and inspecting what’s in place, putting in fuel breaks in shaded and non-shaded areas, prescribed burns and staying in touch with potentially impacted communities. The work to be done in the Ukiah Valley area and across Mendocino County.

The Clear Lake hitch has long been in trouble, but may have just been given a lifeline. A coalition of Tribal, local, state and federal entities are reportedly working to support the minnow like fish which can only be found in Clear Lake and its tributaries. It spawns every spring then returns to the lake. There were once millions of the fish, but now they are endangered. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is getting onboard with a list of commitments to protect spawning and rearing grounds, to make sure they have appropriate stream flows, take out barriers for their migration and reduce predation.

The sunflower sea star may be about to be listed under the endangered species act. The marine animal which is familiar to folks in Mendocino County has been slowly disappearing the last decade or so. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is considering getting the sunflower sea star (Pycnopodia helianthoides) listed as “threatened”. Public comment is open until May 15. Scientists have been trying to figure out what caused the Sea Star Wasting Syndrome that hit the animals in 2013. That triggered a loss of kelp in California, which has in turn messed with underwater ecosystems.

The Boys & Girls Club of Ukiah raked it in at their crab feast earlier this month. The Mendocino Voice reports about 350 people showed up at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds March 4th for the club’s 17th annual crab feast, raising well over $50,000. Besides crab, they enjoyed pasta and salad and mini cupcakes and cookies. There was also wine and beer and other refreshments. Retired Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman was the MC of the night. The Boys & Girls club has programs to help kids with studies, leading healthier lifestyles and avoid unsavory behavior, and help build character and good citizenship.

After the homeless encampment in Santa Rosa was broken down and moved to Sonoma County owned land, a couple of journalists chronicling the events say they were barred from the new camp. The reporters from the Press Democrat say they went to the camp Wednesday with no problem, but yesterday their access was revoked to cover the story. 70 to 100 people are supposedly living on the county owned land. The newspaper reports the county’s health services director said they had complaints from site managers and some living there about them being there. The executive editor of the paper says this infringes on the reporters First Amendment rights, and it’s a breach of the county’s duty to be transparent to its taxpayers.

Some ski resorts in Lake Tahoe are staying open through summer because of all the snow they got. Palisades Tahoe reports getting over 55 feet of snow and will stay open through July 4th. This comes after Northstar said they two will stay open longer, but not quite as ong, just until April 30th. Heavenly Mountain says they’re staying open extra weekends too, until mid-May. It’s the second snowiest season since measurements started in the mid 1940’s. The Central Sierra Snow Lab reports 677 inches since October 1st and up until this past Monday.

The state of Calif. may be punishing oil companies for spiking gas prices. It could be the first state to do so, after the Governor urged lawmakers to pass a bill to penalize the companies from profiting off higher gas prices. It comes after prices hit the mid six dollar per gallon range last summer. Some places were charging as much as $8/gallon. Governor Newsom started attacking the oil industry, he then asked the Legislature to pass a new tax on the companies profits. At the time, he said it would protect consumers by preventing price spikes.

Some nursing home staffers in Lakeport are trying to unionize. Lake Co News reports the employees of Rocky Point Care Center are unionizing under SEIU Local 2015, the largest long-term care workers union in the country. The center employs almost 80 full-time and part-time CNAs, RNAs, housekeepers, dietary workers, laundry workers, activities assistants, and nursing assistants. The president of the union says managers at the center have recognized the decision. The union calling it an exciting time for the employees, and a benefit for the entire nursing home industry. The next move for the workers is to form a bargaining team and get their first contract.

You’ll soon be able to consume cannabis at the site where you buy it. The Ukiah City Council voted to allow on-site consumption at permitted retailers. The Daily Journal reports Councilmember Susan Sher said it’s time to recognize the biggest money drivers in the city are intoxicants, wine and weed. She also said if we allow folks to drink in a bar, or go wine tasting, and nobody is concerned about it, it’s hypocritical not to do the same in dispensaries. They did discuss driving while impaired, addiction and all manner of things related to drug taking. They’ll take up the matter again next month for adoption.

After retiring as County Counsel, The Lake County Board of Supervisors commended Anita Grant for her 3 decades of Service. The proclamation to Grant Tuesday for her 31 years of service to this county with a plaque and many accolades from the community. Grant was county counsel for 17 years before retiring. At the same meeting the board also considered starting a fishery for the Clear Lake hitch. The program would have to get $1 million dollars to begin, then more money for continued operations. The Board agreed they would continue discussing with the state and others.

The state auditor is investigating the Labor Commissioner’s Office due to a continued backlog in workers’ wage theft claims. CalMatters reports the audit won’t start until this fall, if there’s no investigation before that. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee has asked for the audit after the state’s largest labor unions objected saying it was unneccesary. And the Labor Commissioner agreed saying her office had already put many reforms into place to catch up with the backlogged work. The work includes claims about employers not paying the minimum wage, overtime premiums, or giving employees meal and rest breaks.

Congressional members Mike Thompson, Adam Schiff and Jimmy Panetta of California and their counterpart and Congressional Bike Caucus Chair Earl Blumenauer of Oregon are trying to get more people to use e-bikes. The group is reintroducing the Electric Bicycle Incentive Kickstart for the Environment (E-BIKE) Act to give e-bike riders a consumer tax credit. Senator
Brian Schatz also introduced companion legislation in the US Senate. The act would cover 30 percent of the cost of the electric bicycle, up to a $1,500 credit, applying to new electric bicycles that cost less than $8,000 and is fully refundable, allowing lower-income workers to claim the credit.

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