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Monthly Archives: April 2023

The number of COVID deaths continues to decline in California and the rest of the country, dropping 65% in the last three months in the state. In the Bay Area News Group, the declining number of deaths, that reflects a decrease in hospital patients comes as the  end to California’s COVID emergency in May. Pfizer’s anti-viral medication, Paxlovid, also helped keep hospital and death numbers lower. Experts warn that COVID is not over. Outbreaks are still being reported, although less so recently. Those who are immunocompromised should still be cautious.

A body in Willits was identified last week, after over a year passed after his death.  The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office has corrected the cause of death in the homeless man whose body was found near Underpass Road, named Thaddeus Bradley.  At the time, a meth overdose was declared, but the real cause was actually a traumatic injury.  Bradley, known as Tad traveled from Humboldt, to Trinity and finally Mendocino County before he passed. The Sheriff’s Office is looking for anyone with information about Tad to call the Tip-Line at 707-234-2100.

Mendocino College has been awarded $2.6 million in a Hispanic Service Institution grant from the US Department of Education.  The grant will support student success and retention focusing on supporting Latinx students.  The college will use the money to train staff in student retention best practices to increase the number of students who complete a degree or transfer.  The competitive grant was given for Mendocino College’s demonstrated commitment to serving Latinx students and their success in advancing their academic and career goals.

A group of lawmakers have reintroduced the Secure and Fair Enforcement, or SAFE, Banking Act in congress. According to KymKemp online, the legislation would allow banks to serve cannabis businesses without prosecution. Federal banking regulations currently do not recognize the legal cannabis industry. The SAFE act would create transparency for the industry and government officials tasked with regulating it.  It would also help protect businesses that have had to work in cash only, at times leading to targeted robbery and more. The SAFE Banking Act has had many supporters, but efforts to pass it have stalled in the Senate. Industry leaders will head to DC in May to lobby for the passage of the legislation.

Fort Bragg has a couple of markets that will offer CalFresh members a rebate for California grown fruits and vegetables.  Harvest Market and Mendosa Market are partnered with the state sponsored program in a pilot project.  According to the Mendocino Beacon, Harvest Market was the first retail grocery store in the country to offer a rebate processed through customers’ EBT cards. Immediately, the register receipt would flag the purchase of California fruits and vegetables and calculate the total. Then the state would electronically put that dollar amount back onto the customer’s card with a cap of $60 a month. Markets and those in the CalFresh program hope the pilot will pass as AB 605 in the state capitol, to expand the rebate program statewide.

100+ Women Strong Mendocino Coast will celebrate its first donation to local nonprofits this week.  The committee chose three finalists, and during the event one will be awarded up to $10,000.  The funds were raised by members of the group via donations that includes membership to the organization.  The three nonprofits are the Action Network in Point Arena, Flockworks in Fort Bragg, and Xa Kako Dile in Casper. The 100+ Women Strong Mendocino is referred to by some, as the ground floor community support for nonprofits on the coast.  According to the Fort Bragg Advocate-News, the event will be a celebration, an award and an opportunity for the public to learn about the non-profits and how they help the community from social services, to art, to indigenous culture along the coast.

The City of Fort Bragg held a city council meeting this week, and appointed Richard Neils as the new Planning Commissioner.  Former Commissioner Stan Miklose stepped down during the meeting on Monday.  The City also approved over $345,000 for the Police Department Support Services, to finance their youth opioid response program, called Project Right Now.  Mendocino County has some of the steepest rates of opioid abuse in the state.  The project focuses on young people from 12 to 24 years old who are at-risk, according to the Advocate-News. 

California’s lawmakers have been debating the fentanyl crisis, with more than 30 bills introduced to the legislature. But a number of those bills have since stalled, caught in a dispute between lawmakers about the best way to address a crisis that is killing roughly 110 people in the state every week. Thursday, at a special hearing the Assembly public safety committee made some progress. They advanced four bills including one that would increase penalties for dealers with at least one kilogram of fentanyl and another that would prohibit people from carrying a gun while also being in possession of the killer drug.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection awarded more than $142 million in projects to work on carbon storage and restore the health of existing and recently burned forests in the state.  Almost $6 million of the funding will go to the restoration of the Eel River watershed in Mendocino County and more.  Fuels reduction and prescribed fire treatments funded under these grants are aimed at reducing excess vegetation and returning forests to more fire, drought, and pest-resilient conditions.  The Clear Lake Environmental Research Center North Shore Restoration Fuels Reduction project is getting $7 million to protect seven communities on the Clear Lake shore.

Five hundred and twelve affordable housing units have been approved in Sonoma County under state Senate Bill 35. The now six year old law made it easier for developers to build below-market rate, multi-unit housing. In the Press Democrat, some say the law that lets developers bypass steps in the process of approval is problematic.  The bill was meant to incentivize more affordable housing. The law is to expire in 2026 cuts out the public’s opinion over the important land-use decisions. The bill also allows builders to bypass environmental reviews.  Developers must meet standards though, including design and zoning requirements for approval. Projects also have to be in an urban or suburban area and not in coastal zones, flood plains or farmland.  Native American Tribes in the area also must be given an opportunity to determine if a project site is a cultural resource.

The State Senate Education Committee passed SB 767 this week.  The bill will make kindergarten mandatory, so that all kids get critical instruction in the earliest years of their learning. In Lake County News today, Senate bill 767 changes the current optional kindergarten placement to mandatory schooling before 1st grade. The bill also includes options for parents to enroll their children in traditional public school, charter school, home-school, private school and allows parents to hold their kid’s back until the age of 6, before enrolling in kindergarten. The bill is supported by many school districts, labor partners, parents, and educational advocacy organizations. SB 767 is now headed to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors may rescind an unpopular ordinance that charged members of the public for staff time to fulfill public records requests. In MendoFever online, the Board went into closed session on Tuesday. In the Supervisors’ reports at the end of the day, they announced a proposed action to the Board to repeal Ordinance 4507, the Public Records Act Ordinance.  The ordinance was enacted to lower the costs of time-consuming records requests. A free press advocacy organization, urged the Board to follow through on a repeal of the ordinance for many reasons, saying “It violates the PRA (Public Records Act), saying any financial barrier to access is a barrier to full transparency that’s guaranteed by California law and the California Constitution. The county still faces legal liability, if the board doesn’t follow through on their intention to rescind.

Mendocino Coast Clinics have expanded their Suboxone Program, including a new location to supporting people to overcome their addiction. Funding comes from a $2.5 million grant by the US Department of HHS. In 2021 Mendocino County had a higher rate of opioid-related overdoses than any other California county, according to the California Department of Public Health. In the Advocate News, across the country, opioid-related deaths have grown more than eight times since 1999, according to the CDC. The Suboxone Program gives patients care from clinical staff, including MAT providers, recovery specialists, nurses, and a licensed clinical social worker. The program allows people receiving treatment to get all the services needed in just one appointment. In addition to a new location, the MCC is hiring more staff, some bilingual and bicultural.

Caltrans has some road projects taking place around the North Coast next week. In Lake County, on Highway 20, one-way traffic will be in effect 9a-4p for utility work west of Upper Lake near Scotts Valley Road.  On Highway 29, emergency work continues from 7a-5:30p with 15 minute delays for drivers.  Emergency work also continues next week in Lower Lake at Morgan Valley Road to Point Lakeview Road starting Monday. On Highway 53, work will continue from Route 29 in Lower Lake to 40th Avenue in Clearlake. In Mendocino County, Highway 1 will have one-way traffic control as tree work continues in Gualala starting today.  On Highway 101, the Irvine Lodge Safety Rest area is closed through May. And work continues on 101 north of Laytonville at Woodruff Road to Bell Springs Road.

There’s gold in the hills, and the rapid flows expected in the rivers could expose hidden gold. Local prospecting enthusiasts are looking forward to the runoff, because it takes large amounts of water to erode the gold from its hiding places. River water is cold and fast, officials are warming people not go in for any reason. More preparations are being made to direct the expected flows.

The lead suspect in a weeks old murder has been arrested. Lee Anthony Joaquin is in custody. Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was on the lookout for Joaquin for the homicide of Nickolas Whipple last month. Whipple was reportedly beaten badly and shot to death. It was CHP who arrested Joaquin, as he was speeding between Ukiah and Hopland. Joaquin was arrested on charges unrelated to the murder, after giving a different name. It was only when he was at the Mendocino County Jail when they discovered who he really was. Joaquin had 20 pounds of weed and a gun on him when he was arrested. In addition to murder, he faces a false identification charge, possession of marijuana for sale and more.

Lake County experienced a slight improvement in its unemployment rate, While California’s jobless rate didn’t change last month. The California Employment Development Department’s report on joblessness showed that Lake County’s unemployment rate was 6.3 percent, down from 6.4 percent in February but up from the rate reported a year ago, at 5.2 percent. At the same time, the statewide rate remained at 4.4 percent, as employers added 8,700 non-farm payroll jobs in March. Lake County’s unemployment rate last month earned it the No. 35 ranking statewide among the state’s 58 counties.

COVID-19 has been detected for the first time in California wildlife. One mule deer, from El Dorado County, was confirmed to be infected with SARS-CoV-2. The deer was harvested in 2021 and sampled by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, for chronic wasting disease. Initial testing for SARS-CoV-2 was conducted at the California Animal Health and Food Safety Laboratory at UC Davis, and confirmatory testing was conducted by the U.S. Department of Animal Agriculture in Iowa. Hunters are encouraged to take appropriate precautions when handling and dressing game The CDC says although people can spread SARS-CoV-2 to animals the risk of animals spreading the virus to people is low.

Well drillers and farmers gathered at Barra of Mendocino Winery earlier this month, for the second workshop on the new well permitting process. The purpose of the workshop was to go over the draft well permitting review process with a new Executive Order from the Governor. Tomorrow, Newsom will review input from the gathering for possible revisions to the order. The Ukiah Valley Groundwater Basin is in better shape than most, the ground water recharges regularly. Mendocino County does not meter wells. However, municipal wells in the County are metered. The county may qualify for funding in the process.

Lake County Parks and Rec Division recently built an outdoor trail and installed multiple fitness stations at Lucerne Creek Park. New additions to the part along the shores of Lucerne Creek have expanded recreation for North Shore residents. A couple more facilities will soon be set up at Hammond Park in Nice and Kelseyville Community Park. Lake County’s Public Services Director says more amenities are planned for the future, with input from the public who have been invested in the vision for the parks’ future.

The Clearlake City Council rescinded a contract for a road project, in order to take the funding request to the state. The 18th Avenue Improvement project was contracted for about $4.6 million. The city manager clarified that funding may be available through the California Transportation Commission, which will consider it next month. The project would connect 18th Avenue to Highway 53, crossing the former airport property. However, there is litigation that may delay the project, with the Koi Nation’s objection. The council approved a project at the former airport property that would allow construction of a Marriott Hotel. The tribe says the city’s tribal consultation process violates the California Environmental Quality Act.

A new Senate bill might keep landlords from selling out. Senate Bill 567 hopes to build on existing legislation in the California Tenants Protection act. The Homelessness Prevention Act hopes to reign in landlords and property owners abusing the “Just Cause” provision allowing evictions. If passed, if a “no-fault just cause” is used to evict someone on the basis of selling the property, that property must be taken off the rental market for at least 10 years.

Cal Fire’s new online process for burn permits is up and running. Next Monday, the 1st of May, begins a new year for the permit process. The online program allows people to apply online for residential burns, general burning, which includes agricultural burns, and more in Cal Fire jurisdictions. Once a permit is approved, burn permit holders will still need to ensure that it is a permissive burn day with the local air quality district. More information about the new online application process can be found on the Cal Fire website,

State regulators are aiming to ban sales of new diesel big rigs by 2036 this week, as efforts to move California’s trucking industry to zero emissions by 2042 continue. The state Air Resources Board will hold a public hearing on its proposed regulation tomorrow and may vote on it Friday. With major drawbacks in new technology, the cost of electric trucks, and lack of chargers in the state, trucking companies and some officials say the deadline is not realistic without fundamental changes. In Willits News, air board officials said they are confident that the truck market can adjust in time to speed the transition to electric models. Some organizations are urging the board to delay the deadline and consider using price caps on EVs for the industry to ease the financial burden as they move away from diesel.

California’s Air Resources Board wants to cut emissions produced by locomotives. The agency is voting on a new rule to ban the use of engines more than 23 years old, and not to let them idle when not working. According to California regulators, diesel emissions are responsible for about 70% of cancer risk to Californians’. In a statement The Association of American Railroads said “there is no clear path to zero emissions locomotives.”

The Lake County Probation Department was recently awarded over $220,000 in a grant to establish a Mobile Probation Service Center. The grant will fund a vehicle to provide homeless probation clients access to services, including court appearances, probation programs, check-ins, and more. The probation team intends to use the mobile center to reduce technical violations and decrease recidivism. The office says about a quarter of those on high-risk probation in Lake county are homeless. Assembly Bill 178 established funding for the Mobile Service Center, and will help the department build telecommunications and other equipment into the mobile probation vehicle.

After a tough year for grape growers, the numbers are in. The 2022 Preliminary Grape Crush Report for Mendocino County says grows crushed it with production up 29% from last year. In the Mendocino Voice online today, grapes worth and estimated 108.5 million dollars could produce around 22,500 bottles of wine, and although most of harvest will be going to wine makes outside of Mendocino County, some will be used by local winemakers.

Ukiah homeless shelter has to do more with less. Funding cuts are leading to staff shortages, with little relief in sight. Emergency relief money from the federal government during the pandemic allowed more staff and resources, now that the emergency is over, so are the benefits. In the Ukiah Daily, Sage Wolf at Building Bridges said they got a lot more money during the pandemic, now all that money has dried up. With tax revenues down, the shelter could see even more funding cuts.

A home on Comptche-Ukiah Road east of Mendocino was fully engulfed in flames. The first call came in a little after 1 p.m. yesterday. Firefighters arriving on the scene found a patient with third-degree burns and requested REACH Air Medical Services to respond to transport the victim to a hospital. The fire is under investigation.

Several hospitals in Mendocino, Sonoma and Lake counties have been recognized in the state for meeting and maintaining standards for patient safety. The hospitals are among 76 tier 2 medical facilities in California, listed on the Cal Hospital Compare 2023 Patient Safety Honor Roll based on dozens of measures. Local hospitals recognized include Adventist Health Mendocino in Fort Bragg, Sutter Lakeside Hospital in Lakeport and Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital. Hospitals on the honor roll had to meet a tight threshold of performance by having at least 60 percent of measure results above the 50th percentile and the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade of “A” for the past three periods.

The Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, CAL FIRE, and the Mendocino County Prescribed Burn Association, will be doing a cultural burn on Friday on Nokomis Road in Hopland. Local tribal leaders are working to return the ancient practice of cultural burning to their ancestral lands. This burn will focus on restoring and preserving cultural burning traditions, improving native plants and animal habitat, reducing the risk of a fire harming their community and limiting cultural resources used in tribal traditions. CAL FIRE Mendocino Unit will be on hand to help during this 2.5-acre burn beginning at about 7:00am until around 5:00pm. Smoke will be visible throughout the Hopland and Ukiah areas.

Opponents of Proposition 22 would like the California Supreme Court to review the proposition’s standing. Currently, it stands as state law, as of last months appeals court ruling. It was a win for ride-hailing and food delivery industry. The SEIU of California, with union-supported drivers have filed a petition for review from the California Supreme Court, hoping they’ll find the policy unconstitutional, saying in order to enforce a workers compensation program, a constitutional amendment must be made. According to the Lake County Record Bee, the appellate court determined that Prop. 22 did not violate the California Legislature’s power over workers’ compensation. California’s Supreme Court has between 2 and 3 months after a petition is filed to determine whether it will take the case.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved regulations for thousands of vacation rentals and timeshares outside city limits. In a special meeting Monday, the approval initiates a license program to set standards for vacation rentals and a stronger enforcement tool. According to the Press Democrat, the rules restrict where vacation rentals are located and regulate ownership limits of a property. Unincorporated Sonoma County has an average of more than 2,300 properties, including the coastal zone. The regulations stipulate that rentals must adhere to quiet hours, limits noise, and maintain defensible space against wildfires, and more. They also establish escalating fines for violations, starting at $1,500 for the first violation, up to $5,000 for a third violation. Other enforcement measures include license revocation.

Spring has sprung, and temperatures continue to heat up, tempting some to take a dip in rivers throughout NorCal, but think twice. California rivers are expected to rise to levels not seen in years, according to a California Department of Water Resources news release. Low water temperatures, from about 50 to 60 degrees, impede your ability to breathe and move. Cold water can shock your body. Check the status of the park you’re planning to visit before you go, as there may be restrictions in place. Another thing to consider is to share your GPS coordinates with a friend in case of an emergency. The Department of Water resources online is a great place for more helpful information to keep you and your family safe. It’s best to not go into fast-running, cold water. If you see someone who needs rescuing, toss in something that floats or call 9-1-1 for help. Wearing a life vest is always advised, but wearing one this year may not be enough for hazardous water conditions.

With temps warming up today, this may be the last chance to see the epic Sierra snow pack in its entirety from space. The string of atmospheric rivers and unusually cold temperatures over winter left an enormous snow pack in the mountains, not seen in California for decades. NASA’s Terra satellite captured the snow cover early this month. With temperatures ramping up as high as the mid-90s by the end of the week, experts are expecting “the Big Melt.” Yesterday, Yosemite National Park announced it will close from Friday through next Wednesday due to flood risk.

The South Lake County Fire Protection District will host its ninth annual open house this weekend. The free event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, at Station 60, on Highway 175 in Middletown. Demonstrations will include a hands-only CPR training, an auto extrication demonstration at and a live smoke crawl. There will be burger and hot dog meals, fire engine rides, bounce house and face painting, a meet and greet with Sparky, and fire safety education. There will be a REACH helicopter demonstration, free raffles, children’s activities and games.

Tickets are on sale for a May 20 benefit dinner for the United Disaster Relief of Northern California, a Ukiah-based nonprofit that helps Californians during and after disasters, like wildfires, floods and evacuations. The benefit dinner will include live music and dinner, to help fund the organization that brings relief to those in need. They are fundraising to buy a 7,200-square-foot warehouse it currently rents, securing the space as a permanent headquarters. Tickets to the event at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center are $100 per person and are available at The Mendocino Book Company, or online at

The Lake County Library’s Literacy Program has scheduled an in-person no-cost Tutor Training today, at the Lakeport Library from 11am to 4pm. Training comes from the Lake County Literacy Coalition Board, who will show people how to teach adults to read. Tutors will be paired with adult learners in areas Lake County. On top of teaching literacy, the program offers help with those wanting to get their GED, citizenship application assistance, written driving tests, and more. Visit the Lake County Library Website for more details.

Throughout California, Native Americans are disproportionately represented among the state’s homeless population. One third of tribal residents live below the poverty line, and about 9 percent of tribes in California have homes that lack complete plumbing and many lack complete kitchens. Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire and tribal leaders are moving legislation forward to dedicate tribal housing in a housing grant program through the state. Senate Bill 18 would make a tribal specific housing fund for construction and housing rehab. In KymKemp online, the overwhelming majority of tribes have been unable to access current housing program funds because they conflict with tribal sovereignty, are restrictive and some say mismatched to tribal needs.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors approved another 90 day extension for the Emergency Warming Shelter in Lakeport. On Tuesday, the board also discussed the permitting of temporary hoop structures for cannabis cultivation. The board wants to clearly define terms of the regulations for hoop structures with those of other industries like agriculture. After public comment and discussion, the board decided to move the motion of hoop houses to next Tuesday’s meeting. In The Record Bee today, the board also approved the 90 day extension of the Lakeport Emergency Warming Shelter with a maximum budget of $307,000.

Sonoma County Airport is adding flights with Avelo Airlines this summer. The airline will start service between Sonoma County and Redmund Municipal in Bend, Oregon beginning June 23. Avelo made the announcement in a news release today. Bend will become the fourth market out of Sonoma County Airport for Avelo, with routes to Burbank, Les Vegas and Palm Springs. A Boeing Next-Generation 737 aircraft will fly to Oregon Mondays and Fridays.

A Department of Fish and Wildlife chased a Cadillac Escalade up to speeds of 100 mph southbound Hwy 101 near Willits. According to reports, CHP joined the pursuit and set a spike strip up. Around 10pm last night, after a tire was damaged, the car crashed on southbound 101 near Coyote Valley. One suspect fled the car on foot. Another person was at gunpoint in custody.

Willful defiance suspensions may be banned permanently in California, if a bill is passed and signed into law.  Current state law bans suspensions for students in K-5th grades for non-violent acts.  The Senate Bill 274 would expand on the ban for middle and high school kids, and make willful defiance suspensions disappear. Willful defiance includes ignoring the teacher, talking back or disrupting class.  Some say disciplinary actions affect Black, Latino and indigenous students more, leading to higher dropout rates. Teachers could still suspend students for more severe behavior, including violence, having drugs, theft or bullying. State teachers associations would like to see the bill amended, before they endorse legislation.

CalFire is announcing at over $142 million has been awarded for investment in projects to capture carbon and the restoration of burned forests in the state.  27 grants have been green-lighted with projects on state, local, tribal, federal and private lands in 24 counties.  Prescribed burning and fuels reduction treatments are included in the approved projects, to return forests to more fire, drought and pest resilient conditions.  Most of the award projects will benefit disadvantaged or low-income communities, while also providing jobs and reducing risks to communities. And the good news continues, with $115 million intended for wildfire prevention this summer.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced several North Coast projects to strengthen resiliency of the coastline with grants from the federal government.  Some projects include Mendocino County, focusing on salmon habitat recovery, abalone breeding and floodplain work.  In MendoVoice online, the Nature Conservancy in Mendocino County has planned an $8 million project to help restore California Coast Coho salmon habitats on the coastline. The restoration will focus on three rivers, improving floodplain water storage capacity and increasing in-stream complexity.

Residential real estate sales are increasing, but still down from last year’s sales.  The Lake County Association of Realtors’ latest report shows single family home sales are up from February’s numbers.  The Lake County News reports a surge of buying at the start of this year, but it is slowing down.  Homes are still selling near their asking price.  The median sale price for a single family home in the county was about $330,000, about $100,000 higher than February, and about the same price from a year ago.

The Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District says that only remnants of California’s three-year drought remain after winter’s atmospheric rivers pummeled the state. The U.S. Drought Monitor reported that areas of drought cover less than 9 percent of the state, down from about 100 percent at the start of the water year. Areas in the far north and southeast remain dry, at just over a quarter of the state. Lake Mendocino is at about 96 percent full and Lake Sonoma at just over 100 percent.  There will be a Russian River Water Forum meeting on May 17th from 10am to 3pm at the Ukiah Conference Center.

A developer and Sonoma Clean Power are buying two solar projects. One of the projects in Ukiah will include energy storage. Both projects will contribute to Sonoma Clean Power local resource plan for its EverGreen service, the first and only one to offer 100% renewable, locally generated energy 24/7 through solar, energy storage, and geothermal power. In Mendofever online, the solar and storage projects will work with energy generated by an existing geothermal power plant, one of the largest in the world. Both projects in Mendocino County will begin construction next spring, and should be finished in early 2025.

Roadwork continues in Lake County this week.  Utility work west of Upper Lake near Scotts Valley Road will have one-way traffic from 9am to 4pm.  Drivers should expect 15 minute delays there.  On Highway 29, emergency work began yesterday from Saint Helena Creek to Spruce Road.  One way traffic is in place from 7am to 5:30pm delaying drivers about 20 minutes.  Also, emergency work in Lower Lake from C Street to Spruce Road continues this week, with one way traffic during business hours, creating 20 minute delays. 

Ukiah Unified School District Trustees are declaring today as School Bus Driver Appreciation Day. Last year, Ukiah bus drivers drove more than 1,400 students every day, totaling over 78 thousand miles. The fleet has 16 Type I buses and 8 electric buses.  The school district wants to also highlight driver’s aids and all transportation staff.  There is still a need for more bus drivers in Ukiah, and throughout the state. If you’re interested in bus driving locally, stop by in person at 511 South Orchard Avenue in Ukiah and consider joining the team.

The Lake County Weed Management Area has announced its annual invasive weeds tours, this year offering two tours days.  Staff from the University of California will discuss how invasive plants have reduced native wildflower populations in Lake County. Areas of the reserve where wildflowers have been restored by removing invasive species will be highlighted. This event is sponsored by the Lake County Department of Agriculture and the Lake County Resource Conservation District.

Sen. Mike McGuire will host Lake County’s Town Hall with guests from Cal Fire Northern California Region. The community is invited, as officials discuss wildfire preparedness and prevention. The virtual town hall will take place at 6:30 p.m. next Tuesday. The conversation will cover how the state is responding to fires, what type of resources are available this summer and fall and what people can better prepare themselves for wildfire season.

Gov. Newsom issued a proclamation yesterday, declaring this week as “California Library Week. In a release he says “There are 1,127 public libraries in California …. Libraries are the heart of our communities. They provide Californians of all ages and all backgrounds with the resources they need to succeed and thrive. During National Library Week, we celebrate the countless ways that libraries enrich our communities.”

Rep. Mike Thompson announced Denise Rushing as the 2023 Lake County Climate Crisis Champion for California’s Fourth District. Climate Crisis Champions demonstrate efforts to protect the environment in the community to combat the ongoing climate crisis, according to the Record Bee. They advocate for the urgent need for climate action and work to inspire others to get involved. As a Lake County Supervisor, Rushing led two of the largest public solar installations in the western US.

The Clean Water Act of 1972 was admittedly violated by the U.S. Forest Service.  The agency admitted yesterday in federal court that fire retardant has been used to fight wildfires. The agency says it’s only one of many tools they have, saying the chemical has had minimal impact to waterways. The lawsuit, filed by an Oregon-based environmental group in Montana, argues the retardant, an ammonium phosphate is toxic to aquatic life. An attorney with the DOJ says retardant is only used for about 5 percent of wildfires, and less than 1 percent ends up in waters. The Forest Service has filed about 460 intrusion reports in California, where retardant has been used.  There were drops in national forests in Mendocino County, Six Rivers, Lassen and Shasta. Environmental groups would like to see increased buffers around waterways.

Ukiah Police arrested a 20-year-old man and a 15-year-old student on two felony firearm charges each, after a “ghost” gun was found. Police were alerted by school staff at Ukiah High School that a suspicious social media threat was made by a student toward a South Valley High student. The Ukiah student posted a picture holding a semi-automatic handgun. The threat came just days after a fight broke out between the two high school students. UPD along with Mendocino County Sheriff’s deputies searched the home of Gabriel Aguilar, where they found a “Polymer 80” Glock-style semi automatic 9mm gun in a duffel bag. Aguilar was arrested on the spot, and the student was arrested on school grounds. The Ukiah Police Department says the Ukiah Unified School district notified them immediately, enabling them to bring a scary situation to a safe resolution.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will discuss vacation rental limits at its next meeting, tomorrow. On the agenda is a public hearing to consider an appeal of the Planning Commission’s resolution to clarify Mendocino County Code, affecting vacation rentals. A group called the “Friends of Coastal Access” wants to see an expanded code to ease up on restrictions limiting short-term rentals. Instead, the group wants to see development of additional housing. The discussion, revolved around tourists versus local worker housing. The planned expansion of the Fort Bragg library will also be discussed, as well as approval of the Mendocino County Juvenile Justice Plan.

Road work continues in Mendocino County, with utility work in Manchester from Kinney Road to Alder Creek Beach that begins Monday. Bridge work in Fort Bragg from Manzanita Street to Pudding Creek Road will continue on Route 1. Drivers can expect short delays. Emergency road work from Road 430 to north of Hardy Creek continues. One-way traffic control will be in effect to 5:30 p.m. On Route 20, construction continues with 20 minute delays for drivers, from James Creek to Three Chop Road. More roadwork is happening in the county, and can be found in the Ukiah Daily Journal.

Ukiah Unified School District announced that Jim Evans has accepted the principal position at Grace Hudson Language Academy, effective July 1. The Academy’s new principal has nearly two decades of experience in education, last serving as principal at Jefferson Elementary School in Cloverdale. Evans majored in Spanish and Anthropology at Humboldt State University and is bilingual and biliterate. He earned his Master’s degree from Sonoma State University and more. Evans was a Microsoft Certified Systems engineer prior to his graduate studies.

The Museums of Lake County has opened its newest exhibition, traveling from the Smithsonian’s Museum of American History. The exhibit titled “Bittersweet Harvest: The Bracero Program, 1942-1964” explores the story of the program, which brought millions of Mexican guest workers to the United States to help fill the labor shortage during World War II. The exhibit illustrates the program’s impact on agriculture, labor and immigration, as well as on the lives of the workers and their families. The Museums of Lake County California will host the exhibit from May through August. There is more information in Lake County News.

The County of Mendocino began reopening Bower Park in Gualala, on Friday. The park had been closed since January 6, due to weather damage from the atmospheric rivers that passed during the winter. A partial opening began with the parking lot, the restrooms, and the baseball field. Mendocino County hired a third-party contractor to work on storm damage repair and clean-up services. So far, all downed trees have been removed. Mulch has been spread throughout the park. The playground has been worked on, and new equipment is on order. While work continues, there are some closures in the park as clean-up and restoration are on-going, including the outdoor theatre, tennis and basketball courts and more.

In the Record Bee over the weekend, a Clearlake City Councilman brought up an emergency item during the Clearlake City Council meeting on Thursday on the 18th Avenue Project. The project is set to connect Old Highway 53 through the old airport site. The council authorized the construction contract on April 6, in a unanimous vote. Since then, according to city leaders, the Housing and Community Development Department changed some requirements during the process of construction, which prompted the city to reduce the scope of the project, decreasing the cost from about $14 million to $5.5 million. The goal is to have all the funding allocated in by July 1. The Clearlake City Council will meet again on the first Thursday of May.

A motorcycle rider crashed in the northbound lane of Hwy 101 south of Laytonville, Saturday morning. It happened near mile marker 63. According to police reports, the biker had major injuries including broken ribs, cuts and road rash. CHP was on hand to help the rider and clear the scene.

The 2023 recreational Pacific halibut fishery will open Monday, May 1 until Nov. 15 or until the quota is reached, whichever is earlier. The 2023 Pacific halibut quota for the California sub-area is nearly 40,000 pounds, about the same as last year’s quota. California’s Department of Fish and Wildlife urges anglers to check for updated information including limits and gear restrictions.

California Legislators are advancing a bill that would codify film set safety rules in the wake of the accidental shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, in Alec Baldwin’s production in New Mexico. Studio representatives and unions are working on amendments to the new measure, Senate Bill 735 that passed last week through the Senate Labor Committee. The proposed legislation is an attempt at imposing legal safety requirements on film production, and would create the first state regulations around the use of firearms and live ammunition on film and TV sets. Under the proposed legislation, casts working near guns would need training and productions must use armorers whose sole duty would be preparing firearm usage, along with risk assessment.

Small, part-time drop-off centers for beverage container redemption operated by Redwood Waste Solutions, Inc. (RWS) are projected to open sometime in May. In the Mendocino Beacon yesterday, the City of Fort Bragg has been searching for a company, after a redemption site closed last summer. All drop-off locations will have scales and bins, which will be hauled away at the end of the day. RWS has not announced the locations yet, but the city hopes to have a schedule soon. Beverage containers made of aluminum, glass, plastic, and some metals will be accepted. Milk and infant formula containers are not accepted. As of January 1, 2024, CRV centers will accept wine and liquor containers in the state.

The Clearlake Planning Commission will consider approvals for the city’s new Burns Valley Sports Complex project. In the Lake County News today, the commission will discuss the project site, part of 31-acres behind Safeway. In August, the city received $3 million from State Parks’ Rural Recreation and Tourism Program to create the new complex. The commission will meet beginning at 6 p.m. Tuesday, at Clearlake City Hall

The Lake County Board of Supervisors this week will discuss approving a right-of-way purchase for the South Main Street-Soda Bay Road Improvement Project. The board will also consider an ordinance changing the county code on allowing temporary hoop structures for cannabis cultivation. And the board will consider an additional 90 days and a new total of just over $300,000 to keep the North Lakeport Emergency Warming Shelter open longer. The board will meet at 9 a.m. Tuesday, in the Lake County Courthouse and can be watched live on Channel 8

There was a horrific dog attack in Fort Bragg recently. Two women were violently attacked by pit bulls at a friend’s home. One woman was flown to Mendocino Adventist Hospital, another woman was taken to the hospital by ambulance. One of the dogs has been euthanized, another in quarantine, and a third dog was medically evaluated after two of the attacking dogs turned on her. Fort Bragg Police officers and a Community Service Officer provided care to slow the bleeding of women’s wounds to their faces, arms and legs.

Save the Redwoods League announced it has selected nine projects to receive over $160,000 in grant funding for research and discoveries in coast redwood and giant sequoia forests this year. Funds will go to those who will study effects of fire; migratory birds, amphibians and microorganisms within forest communities. The league said they’d like to see collaboration with Indigenous tribes to create a database of plants and their traditional uses and more.

Local health officials are warning allergy medication users about possible side effects. Oral medications and nasal sprays are only for temporary use, and allergy sufferers should stay inside when pollen counts are high. It’s also a good idea to change out your furnace filter regularly and one that filter allergens. Taking off clothes exposed to allergens and washing them can help reduce attacks.

The new chairman of the California Assembly Education Committee wants to raise the pay of teachers and school workers by 50 percent over the next seven years. Money to pay for it would come from increased base funding, which legislation was introduced for last week. With over worked teachers and under staffed schools, local administrators say the pay increase would help retain good people.

Sonoma County’s Regional Climate Protection Authority held a virtual public meeting, on Wednesday evening. It was intended to test public support to move toward becoming a carbon-neutral county by 2030. The polls focused on buildings, land and water management, and transportation. 140 people that participated in the poll said some goals include; financial assistance for low income households, tenants and landlords to reduce carbon emissions, improving paths for bicyclists and pedestrians and supporting agricultural practices that would limit greenhouse gas emissions. Those and other programs will help make a summer survey, asking county residents if they would support public funding to pursue those priorities. If approved, recommendations would then go to voters.

There’s a new mural in the works at Pear Tree Center on Perkins Street, on the south facing wall of Lucky Supermarket. In the Ukiah Daily Journal, artist Anthony Ortega, says his unique interpretation was inspired by fruit crate labels of the 1920s. The huge 3,175 square foot work of art will face Perkins, the gateway to downtown Ukiah, with maximum visibility. Wednesday night with he projected the image onto the wall. Over the next few days, he will spray in the colors, the highlights and drop shadows, and put in any last details, hoping to complete it by Sunday.

The Lyrid meteor shower will peak this weekend in NorCal. It’s time to start watching for falling stars in the skies this weekend. The best times to view this meteor shower, known for producing fireballs that blaze across the sky and leave dust trails that last for several seconds, are from evening to dawn Friday through Monday morning. Forecasters are expecting clear skies on Friday night. The moon will barely shine, at 2 percent illumination and will set around 10 p.m. Friday, 11 p.m. Saturday and midnight Sunday. The Lyrids continue through April 29, intersecting with the Aquariids, which also started on April 5.

William T. Frederick Junior has been arrested for the attempted murder of a police officer after he fired at police while fleeing as a passenger in a car. Frederick was found in Red Bluff around 4:15pm yesterday, and was taken into custody without incident. The driver of the car, 21-year-old Rylan Witmer of Wilson, Kansas was arrested and charged with possession of meth and felony evading.

A suspected hit-and-run driver, William Len has been charged in the incident that killed Amanda Arney’s body was found down an embankment on Highway 20, several hours after being struck by a hit-and-run driver. William Len was charged for the crime, but failed to appear at a preliminary hearing. A bench warrant was issued and bail set at $20,000. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office served a warrant, and after an investigation by the CHP, Len was arrested and booked into Lake County Jail. He posted bond and was released. He is being charged with felony hit-and-run and vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence.

Healdsburg Police arrested two kids Tuesday afternoon, after finding a handgun in a backpack following a chase through town. The young men, who police say were a 15- and 16-year-old from Healdsburg, jumped fences and ran through yards trying to get away from police. A pistol and a loaded magazine were found during a search of one of the boys’ backpacks, according to the news release. The unidentified boys were booked into Juvenile Hall on possessing a loaded firearm, possession of a concealed firearm in public, possession of stolen property and resisting arrest charges.

A group of U.S. attorneys general led by California’s Rob Bonta urged federal transportation officials to recall millions of Hyundai and Kia vehicles yesterday, due to highly susceptible theft thanks to a security vulnerability. The state law enforcement leaders called for the NHTSA to institute a recall of unsafe Hyundai and Kia vehicles manufactured between 2011 and 2022, whose easily bypassed ignition switches and lack of engine immobilizers make them vulnerable to theft. A viral TikTok “challenge” in recent years has shown users how to bypass anti-theft measures in Hyundais and Kias. Anti-theft software upgrades, announced in February will make their way to owners in phases.

Another 100 percent live release rate for the North Bay Animal Services was announced at the Clearlake City Council meeting last night. Clearlake Animal Control announced that more dogs are being adopted. In Lake County News today, over 100 dogs have come to the shelter from the first of the year thru this week. There are 62 dogs at the shelter now, down from 80 when last reported in March. North Bay Animal Services began several directives in response to issues with conditions at the shelter, which is contracted through the city.

The state’s Department of Water Resources is maximizing the capture and storage of the huge snowpack across the state. Known as Article 21 water, this additional water does not count toward State Water Project allocations.  Since the end of March, the SWP has delivered over 200,000 acre-feet of water to local water agencies with an additional 37,000 acre-feet planned for next week. While California’s surface water conditions have grown a lot this year after three years of historic drought, several water supply challenges remain in the northern part of the state and in overused groundwater basins. Millions of Californians rely on groundwater supplies as a sole source of water.

Sales tax revenue is decreasing in Ukiah and Mendocino County as a whole, giving new challenges to local governments. In Mendofever online today, Ukiah city officials said they expect a $1 million shortfall in sales tax revenue this year. The latest sales tax report shows a decline of about 10 percent during the fourth quarter of 2022.  The spiraling numbers signal a slow local economy as people aren’t spending as much, affecting the county’s struggling weed industry. The updated figures show a local economic slowdown continues at a greater pace than throughout California.  

Mendocino County’s overall budget status is murky showing a decline in sales tax revenue. County officials are stuck in budget delays and uncertainty about the revenue projections, and a sharp shrinkage in the local cannabis industry because of consistent concerns about a local regulatory framework. Researchers in a special report named ‘Cannabis Supply and Demand in 2023’ released two weeks ago announced “California’s cannabis industry is not dead, and it’s not dying. It’s just realizing that the market is not large enough to support everyone hoping to get a slice of the piece.”

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Jeanine Nadel just issued a decision three years in the making.  Mendocino Railway tried to use eminent domain to buy private property in Willits.  The Judge in the case decided in favor of property owner John Meyer, this week.   Meyer will not be forced to sell his twenty-acre parcel to the railroad, who sued him for the right to purchase and use it for a loading station and more. In her decision, Judge Nadel mentioned that 90% of Mendocino Railway’s revenue comes from its tourism offerings, saying there was no explanation to distinguish the private operations from “proposed” freight and passenger enhancements.”  The City of Fort Bragg is suing the Skunk, arguing that “Mendocino Railway is in fact an excursion only railroad, and therefore is subject to the jurisdiction of the City of Bragg.” It’s scheduled to come before a local judge in June.

California lawmakers voted to protect sexual assault survivors from retaliatory lawsuits Thursday. Supporters of the legislation hope it will halt efforts to silence victims. The bill would make it clear that a victim’s comments about sexual assault or harassment are protected against defamation lawsuits if the allegation is not knowingly false or reckless. It would also help victims who successfully defend themselves in a defamation lawsuit to recover financial damages. The bill has to pass in the Senate before reaching Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk.

Lake County has a new deputy county administrative officer. Certified Economic Developer Ben Rickelman has been appointed to the position and will manage the creation of a countywide Economic Development Strategic Plan. His many years of administrative work along with a masters degree in public administration from George Washington University have officials hopeful about the future.

Clear Lake High School’s varsity football team’s outstanding season they were presented a certificate of achievement at Tuesday’s Lakeport City Council meeting, as the 2022-2023 Coastal Mountain League champions. In Lake County News today, the team got more than accolades.  This week parents and community members pitched in, and raised $9000 to get each player their own championship ring.

New artwork will welcome people into Ukiah.  On the south facing wall of Lucky Supermarket, artist Anthony Ortega says his vision was inspired by crate labels of the ‘20s.  The over 3,000 square foot work of art faces Perkins at the gateway to downtown.  In the Ukiah Daily Journal, the artist describes his methods and hopes to have it finished by Sunday for all to enjoy.

California has reached its goal of selling 1.5 million zero-emission vehicles two years ahead of schedule. Gov. Jerry Brown launched the goal of selling that many cars and trucks by 2025, more than a decade ago. California now has a more ambitious goal of requiring all new cars sold to be zero-emission vehicles by 2035.

For the first time, a flux tower has been installed in the state’s redwood forest ecosystem. The tower in Jackson Demonstration State Forest will help researchers gather continuous data of how much carbon, water, and energy are entering and leaving an ecosystem over time. The flux tower will also monitor how changes in weather are affecting the health of an ecosystem. Long-term, the tower can estimate how climate change is affecting an ecosystem. The tower joins a national network across many different types of forests.

A murderer’s sentencing was paused, after he revoked part of his plea deal. The defendant, Nova Maye Deperno of Occidental appeared in court Tuesday for a 2021 murder. Deperno’s attorney believed they had reached a plea agreement months ago, which offered him 25 years to life for the murder of Ronald Meluso of Lucerne, along with a 10 year enhancement. The plea deal also covered an assault with a deadly weapon in a different case. Deperno insisted he did not want to plea to that charge, saying he was innocent. He was appointed another defense attorney and given a new hearing for May 2, when the plea will be withdrawn or the sentencing will be rescheduled.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors decided to scrap the Lucerne Town Hall project, in favor of a new Middle Region Town Hall in a unanimous vote last week. This week, a group of community members are planning to meet to continue the original Lucerne Town Hall project, despite the board’s decision. The group will meet at 6 p.m. tonight, in the multipurpose room at Lucerne Elementary School. The moderator will be Kurt McKelvey, who was chair of the Lucerne Area Town Hall before the board took action to dismantle it on April 11. They will discuss bylaws changes, as well as the county’s responses to previous town hall actions.

The Mendocino Cannabis Department will have the front counter open Friday, April 28, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, the deadline to accept Tax Appeal Packets, for the Cannabis Cultivation Tax Amnesty and Payment Plan. Late or incomplete applications will not be accepted. This will be the only opportunity to appeal the 2022 Cannabis Business Tax.
Residents can submit an Appeal Application in person to the County of Mendocino Cannabis Department, Tuesdays through Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cal Fire has launched a new online process for burn permits, which will allow people to apply online for residential burns, general burning, agricultural burns, and more. Once a permit is approved, permit holders will still need to make sure it is a permissive burn day with the local air quality district. All residential burn permits expire on April 30 annually and a new permit must be applied for on May 1st. More information about the new online application process can be found at this Cal Fire website.

Families hard hit by the pandemic could see some relief in the form of proposed child tax credits. Proponents say that could help up to 1 million low income California households. Local children falling into poverty has increased according to a recent study, and the newly proposed bill has draw opposition although many local leaders have endorsed the plan. If passed it would cost about 700 million annually.

The Governor says no to new funding for foster care advocate program. Reporter Lesley Lotto says Newsom is trying to plug the budget hole at the expense of children.
Governor Gavin Newsom is cutting funding to CASA, or the Court Appointed Special Advocates, an organization serving distressed children. CASA of Mendocino and Lake Counties is losing a large chunk of money that normally goes to help abused, neglected and at risk children who many times end up in Foster care. They have 5 employees, about 20 volunteers and serve about 400 cases for these kids. CASA is mandated to be funded by the government and has only limited donations. They are continually challenged for financing. And now the state’s cutting support from 60 down to 20 million dollars next year. The Governor’s decision to cut the already low state share is being decried by local CASA director Sharyn Hildebrand as “sadly unfair to distressed children and the people who are trying to help them”

A two-day economic summit designed to foster innovative thinking will be hosted this year in Ukiah. The goal of Our Elemental Economy which is this year’s theme, is to identify shared economic opportunities and strengthen collaboration. The Ukiah Valley Conference Center in Ukiah will be the site for the conference on Sept, although attendees are encouraged to register now for the event.

Legislation advanced from Sen. Bill Dodd that would boost diversity in California city councils by allowing the first council pay cap increase in nearly four decades, bringing salaries more in line with the cost of living. According to a press release, Dodd says “It’s a major commitment that’s especially hard on working people… My proposal will improve diverse representation and increase access to elected office for all Californians by making it less of a financial challenge to serve.” The maximum amounts set by state law have not been increased since 1984, despite inflation of more than 300% during that time. Sen. Dodd’s proposal, Senate Bill 329, would allow councils to adjust their maximum pay to reflect inflation as measured by the California Consumer Price Index. Any increases would require a majority vote of the city councils.

The Biden administration has identified more than 175,000 square miles of old growth and mature forests on U.S. government land and plans to craft a new rule to better protect the nation’s woodlands from fires, insects and other side effects of climate change. Federal officials plan to announce results from the government’s first-ever national inventory of mature and old-growth forests in advance of a public release. Officials say those stands of older trees are under increasing pressure as climate change worsens wildfires, drought, disease and insects and leaves some forests devastated.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has instructed PG&E to begin the process of surrendering the Potter Valley Project license. The deadline for PG&E to submit its surrender plan is at the end of December, 2024. The Russian River Water Forum was formed to negotiate with the utility to take over the facilities. The group is struggling to get the money it needs. In Mendofever online, they say some have proposed the California State Water Resources Control Board help with funding the acquisition. The Planning Group is made up of people from Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino and Sonoma County Governments, tribes from Eel and Russian River basins, agricultural and recreational groups. The RRWF website has a link to news articles about the process, as well as an email sign-up sheet to receive updates.

The Lakeport City Council, held a discussion during their Tuesday meeting, on whether to continue the selling of safe and sane fireworks. According to the Lake County Record Bee this week, the council told staff not to include removal of fireworks sales on the ballot for an upcoming election, but instead make ordinance updates. Fireworks sales are conducted by four non-profit groups in accordance with Measure C, which allows for the sale and use of California State Fire Marshal approved fireworks within the City of Lakeport. The city has continued to reduce the use of fireworks outside of designated areas in a campaign aimed to inform the public. The next regularly scheduled Lakeport City Council meeting will take place on Tuesday, May 2, at 6 p.m.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors held their weekly meeting and are considering an ordinance regarding “ag exempt” and “temporary ag” structures for use in the cannabis industry. The board discussed allowing hoop houses, as “temporary hoops for cultivation.” The hoops would be exempt from building codes if they met certain criteria; including no use of electricity, and hoops removal during the rainy season. Another recommendation was the allowance of drying structures, tents, and shipping containers for a period of three years. The board also discussed providing a budget of $120,000 to hire a chief public defender and potentially create a Public Defender’s Office, according to the Record Bee.

The Cal Fire Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit, or LNU, announced changes to it’s staffing by elevating their level to hire 79 additional firefighters who are going through the rehire academy at the Napa County Fire Training Center this week.  The incoming firefighters allow the unit to staff 11 state engines. The unit also announced a winter recap.  The LNU responded of over 6,300 incidents from January through the end of March, an increase of 28 percent compared to the previous five-year average for the same time period. They say crews responded to increased storm-related emergencies.

The American Lung Association released a report released yesterday that shows 98 percent of Californians are experiencing unhealthy levels of air pollution. In its annual “State of the Air” the organization tracks the status of ozone and particle pollution for every U.S. county.  The 2023 report shows many California counties receiving failing grades for both smoke and ozone pollution. Grades are assigned based on a weighted average of the number of days where the AQI reached “unhealthy” or “hazardous” levels. Research has shown that lower-income communities are likely to have fewer trees and higher temperatures compared with wealthier, more shaded neighborhoods. Next week, the California Air Resources Board will vote on two measures that would impact future air quality. They will include regulations for locomotive operation and zero-emission trucking.

Should felons be allowed to vote in California?  A proposed amendment to the California state constitution would allow incarcerated people in state and federal prisons in California to vote in elections. 140,000 are in California’s state prisons with about 8,500 doing time in Kern County. According to The Sentencing Project, none are allowed to vote. The law has been on the books in California since 1866. If the amendment passes committee by two thirds it will go on the 2024 ballot.

Mendocino Sheriff’s Deputies are still looking for the suspect in the murder of Nicholas Whipple.  Lee Anthony Joaquin is wanted in connection to the homicide of the 20-year-old man in Covelo 3 weeks ago.  Joaquin is 5 foot five inches, and weighs around 180 pounds.  He has shoulder length hair, sometimes pulled back.  Joaquin is considered armed and dangerous.  Anyone with information on Joaquin is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 707-463-4086.

American Rivers released its yearly list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers, spotlighting ten rivers where human health and safety are at risk. The 2023 American River Project has named the Eel River the sixth most threatened river in the nation. The listing includes the threats to the river’s Chinook salmon and steelhead, as they get closer extinction. Organizations say the threats to the river are because of two obsolete dams that make up PG&E’s Potter Valley Hydroelectric Project. The utility says it has a multi-year plan in the works to decommission it.

A cold case from September of 2021 has been solved, thanks to DNA. A human body was found two years ago beneath Underpass Road at North Highway 101 in Willits. Sheriff’s Detectives and the coroner began investigating the identity of the man, and the cause of his death. Last week, the DNA from the body hit a match in a Richmond lab. The body belonged to Thaddeus Bradley, a homeless man who was reported missing months before his body was found. The cause of his death was a meth overdose.

The Round Valley Indian Tribal Council declared a state of emergency on the reservation during a special closed session meeting Sunday night, a day after the body of a 16-year-old was discovered. It was two weeks after a 20-year-old was found beaten and shot to death. Monday night, council members met to work through the declaration. A 10:00 pm curfew for people under 18 is in effect. The law is already a tribal ordinance. Currently, Public Law 280 is in effect in California, meaning that although tribes are sovereign, they are under the jurisdiction of county sheriffs.

The Savings Bank Willits Banking Center will be closed for one day as the second phase of their lobby transformation progresses. The bank will be closed on May 1st, but will reopen on Tuesday, May 2nd. The new lobby will feature a more open space to do business in. The only local charter, the Savings Bank of Mendocino County remains strong financially, and will continue to work for Mendocino and Lake Counties according to the bank.

Mendocino County has updated their Cannabis Grants Operations, with the Local Equity Entrepreneur Program, or LEEP. There are currently several grants available. For those that applied, but had not received funds, the review process has been delayed due to a labor shortage. For more information and for fee waivers, check with the Department of Ag and the Mendocino Cannabis Department.

As the 2023 High School Voter Education Week Sessions continues, a reminder that there will be an informational booth set up in the Clearlake Library today from 2-4pm. Registrations are also available at all Lake County Libraries.

The Redbud Audubon Society will have an avian ecologist with the Audubon Canyon Ranch in Marin County on Thursday, April 20th at 7pm. The group will have an update on the heron and egret nesting colonies in the northern part of the Bay area, including the use of GPS telemetry. Check with the Redbud Audubon Society for the Zoom link to the meeting.

There will be a Native Learning Symposium this Friday, hosted by Mendocino College’s Lake Center at 3pm. Representatives from the Hopland Band of Pomo Indians, the Round Valley Indian Tribe and Robinson Rancheria will be speaking. The leaders will discuss education among native students. To register, search EventBrite for the Native Learning Symposium.

A Lake County jail inmate died in a Placer County hospital over the weekend. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was in custody, and is investigating. Inmate Jason Ray died on Saturday, while being treated for a medical condition at Sutter Roseville. Ray was in custody pending prosecution for sexual assault. Authorities say more details will be released as the investigation is ongoing.

A car veered off the road and landed on its top after crashing into a tree on southbound 101.  According to report, it happened near Nelson Ranch Road south of Ukiah on Sunday morning. A man was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial in serious but stable condition. A female passenger was taken to Ukiah hospital.

The Lakeport City Council today at 6pm at Lakeport City Hall. They’ll honor the Clear Lake High football team, and discuss the road management program, and safe and sane fireworks.  The council is also announcing open recruitment for an electrical mechanical technician for the city.

The Mendocino County Fire Safe Council is starting a planning process to prioritize community fire safety this year, and they are seeking community input. They shared a survey to asses home and neighborhood readiness for wildfire, and want to asses defensible space around homes. The council also announced applications are now open for micro-grants, to fund fire safe councils and districts for individual projects. The grants range from $2,000 to $8,000. These applications are due by April 30.

Caltrans District 1 is announcing free Large Item Dump Day events on Saturday, April 22 to celebrate Earth Day.  Large items will be accepted at the Caspar Transfer Station on Prairie Way from  9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Some locations are accepting mattresses and furniture only from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at C & S Waste Transfer Station in Lakeport, South Lake Refuse & Recycling and Eastlake Landfill in Clearlake. Caltrans reminds residents to secure and tarp all cargo loads.

The Russian River Flood Control & Water Conservation Improvement District has a new update they’ll be posting regularly.  The latest report shows Lake Mendocino up over 500 acre feet.  And, the district announced their National Environmental Education Week through Earth Day. The event showcases the California Project WET program which helps educators teach science and encourage environmental studies with students.

California state lawmakers are considering regulating “wasteful” set gillnet fishing offshore.  The California Fish and Game Commission is meeting today and Thursday to consider ways to reduce bycatch from offshore gillnets that end up entangling more than 125 species of marine life, according to a new report from Oceana and the Turtle Island Restoration Network. They say voters and fishery managers have taken action in the past to ban this non-gear in near shore waters resulting in rebounds of vulnerable fish and marine mammal populations.

The Willits City Council discussed repairs to Frontier Days facilities at their meeting last week. Repairs are needed after a downed tree damaged the bathrooms and portions of the bleachers in December. Due to legal concerns, the city will not be able to repair the bathrooms this year. The city council also resolved to apply for the Clean California local grant program to help upgrade parks and streets and help fund clean-up events.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors completed shutting down the Lucerne Area Town Hall project, with a unanimous vote last week. The action rescinded the 2017 formation of the Middle Region Town Hall and the 2018 amendment to change it to the Lucerne Area Town Hall. They will now establish a new organization, called the Central Region Town Hall.

The Lake County Office of Emergency Services will have a Public Information Session Thursday, April 20, at 5:30pm. The purpose of the session will be to update the public on the 2023 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, a long-term strategy to reduce disaster-related losses.

A teenage girl was found dead in a field in Covelo by her uncle over the weekend.  Police say 16-year-old Ruby Sky Montelongo appeared to have been assaulted.  According to authorities, she had been hanging out with a 15-year-old girl Friday night, when the younger girl attacked Montelongo. Detectives arrested the 15-year-old Saturday.  She is in jail, charged with murder.

Willits Police arrested Luis Hernandez, a sex crime parolee, on five felonies and a misdemeanor charge last week.  The charges include a firearm violation, criminal threats, robbery and possession of meth.  Police made a High Risk Traffic Stop and arrested Hernandez after a victim called police saying he threatened to kill her at gunpoint. 

A man was found dead, after an apparent hit-and-run near on Highway 53.  Just before midnight on Friday, there were reports of a pedestrian down between Jessie Street and Dam Road. Clearlake Police closed off the northbound lane of the highway for the investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the local CHP office or Clearlake Police.

A multi-family apartment complex in Laytonville was engulfed in a fire Saturday evening, near Twin Pines Road and Highway 101. Residents were evacuated as several area fire departments rushed to the scene.  About an hour after the initial fire was reported, firefighters reported progress in slowing the spread. The Red Cross was called in to help those displaced.  

Willits Police Officers arrested a man for felony kidnapping, false imprisonment and more. It happened on Bonnie Lane last week, when police responded to reports of a woman screaming. When they arrived, they found Owen Kenny, drunk inside of the home, obstructing the door. They were able to get in, and restrain Kenny. They also found a woman hiding. According to authorities, she said that Kenny had locked her in the home, and sexually assaulted her. Kenny was charged and put into jail.

According to reports, a blue sedan landed on its top after crashing into a tree on southbound 101 near Nelson Ranch Road south of Ukiah on Sunday morning. A male was reported in serious condition, and was flown to Santa Rosa Memorial. A female passenger was taken to Ukiah hospital.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is meeting tomorrow morning at 9am in the Lake County Court House. The board is moving to establish a new chief public defender’s office. The new position, referred by the Sixth Amendment Center, is needed to manage and oversee a plan for the homeless. The current contract for Lake Indigent Services ends this June. The board will also announce this week as California High School Voter Education Week. The meeting can be watched live on Channel 8 and online.

Lake County schools are welcoming students to the High School Voter Education sessions.  Students ages 16 and 17 can pre-register to vote, so when they turn 18, their registration is complete.  All Lake County Libraries are open for students to register. Information booths will be available at the Clearlake Library on Wednesday from 2 to 4pm, and at the Lakeport Library on Thursday from 2-4pm. 

The Peregrine Audubon Society will be hosting a presentation at the Ukiah City Council Chambers at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18.  There will be a discussion on the geology, history, and the influence of fires around the Cow Mountain Recreation Area, including the flora and fauna of the wildlife habitat.

Friends of Mendocino College Music, the recently formed affiliate of the Mendocino College Foundation, will present a free concert featuring both guitar and mariachi ensembles from Cal Poly Humboldt at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 17 at the Mendocino College Little Theater. The concert is open to everyone.

The Clear Lake Trowel and Trellis Garden Club will meet at noon on Tuesday at the Lakeport Scotts Valley Women’s Club House on Hendricks Road. There will be a speaker from the LA City Fire Department, presenting a program on fire safety.   The club welcomes new members.