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A 5.5-magnitude earthquake below Lake Almanor shook Plumas County followed by 20 aftershocks yesterday. The initial quake happened about 4:20pm.  Then early this morning around 3am another quake registered at 5.2 magnitudes.  People felt the shaking from Reno to San Francisco.  The aftershocks continued with several 3.0 magnitudes after 5am.  There were no injuries or damages as of yet. The epicenter of the earthquake was near Canyon Dam, which is operated by PG&E. USGS reported the quake was about 3.5 miles deep in the lake.  PG&E’s Plumas County hydro control center showed no damage, and the utility will inspect the dam for more information.

A man in Fort Bragg was arrested for sexually assaulting a child, for the second time.  Robert Hrbac was taken into custody Tuesday, after Mendocino County Sheriffs investigated child sexual abuse reported earlier this month on Oklahoma Lane.  A 6-year-old child was taken into protective services. When police arrested Hrbac, they also seized electronic data from his home that may have evidence of the crime.  Hrbac is a convicted sex offender, with a 2006 conviction of a sex crime with a child under 14.  He was taken to jail and is being held in lieu of a $200,000 bail.

Mendocino County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a man for assault with a deadly weapon.  A woman called around midnight saying a man had threatened her with a gun in the Boonville area. Pedro Saldana allegedly threatened to shoot her, then shot a gun just over her shoulder.  Police arrived and discovered the man hiding nearby and arrested him for assault with a deadly weapon, violation of probation and more.  Saldana was booked into jail and held on a no bond status.

A FEMA Disaster Recovery Center is opening in Willits for those impacted by the February thru March storms next week.  The center will be open starting Monday at 1pm  and then daily from 9am to 6pm Mondays through Saturdays through June 2nd.  Residents affected by the storm disaster can register and update FEMA applications and get help with resources at the Willits Community Center. Help will be available from the national disaster relief declaration through the emergency management agency, the Small Business Association and more.  Additional centers will be open in Laytonville, Leggett and Piercy as well. 

Mendocino County Sheriffs have updated information on a fatal crash this week. A 41-year-old passenger with ties to Ukiah died in an accident in the Navarro area early Thursday morning around 1a.m. A box truck driven by Tim Marino of Ukiah was driving on Highway 128, when it veered off the road and crashed into a tree.  Christa Brodsky was the passenger and was pronounced dead at the scene.  Marino was injured and taken to a Santa Rosa hospital. Both people were wearing seat belts, and police say alcohol and drugs don’t appear to have been a factor in the crash. CHP in Ukiah is investigating.

The Mendocino Cannabis Department has created a procedure for cannabis cultivation sites with potential tree removal procedures based on the Board of Supervisors ordinance.  The county website has information on tree removal on grow sites.  True Oak and Tan Oaks are not allowed to be cut down, unless an affidavit is filled out and approved by the county.  Satellite imagry, site approval official photos and more will direct officials when enforcing the ordinance.  Check out the county website and go to cannabis policies and procedures for the updated information.

A new law will help people get their criminal records expunged, starting today.  The first people to petition for expungement will go before a judge in Central California.  In the past, only people whose conviction did not result in incarceration could petition for expungement. The Alliance for Safety and Justice is helping more people get their record cleared with Senate Bill 731. If you didn’t do time, and meet some criteria the state will automatically expunge your record.  Sexual offenders won’t be able to apply for expungement and in some cases authorities, government, schools and some other agencies can still see people’s criminal records.

Governor Newsom announced his revised budget that includes nearly $500 million in funding for flood impacts throughout the state.  In Lake County News, the money will help at-risk communities get through recent floods and go to help withstand future floods. Yesterday Newsom said “California is facing unprecedented weather whiplash…We’re committing even more resources to support communities up and down the state as they continue responding to the impacts of this year’s storms.” The budget revision will be announced today and includes millions in new flood preparedness and response. The provisions include help for farmers, and investments in levee upgrades. Safe flood water diversion and groundwater recharging are also included in legislation.

The Mendocino County Museum got a half million dollar donation from the Trust of William L. Bittenbender.  In MendoFever online, the museum had been notified they were named in a trust, but didn’t realize the sum.  They reserved $10,000 for their budget this year and put the rest into the Community Foundation Endowment to make some interest.  The museum badly needed the funds, to help their mission of strengthening the community and being a vibrant social, cultural and educational center of Mendocino County. Bittenbender donated to the museum in the past, with artifacts and materials from the historical lumber industry in the area and more.

Local residents encouraged the Fort Bragg Planning Commission to approve the Grocery Outlet Store on the south end of Franklin Street. Some residents argued over it on social media before the meeting, but everybody was polite at Wednesday’s meeting, according to MendoVoice online. Ultimately the Planning Commission certified Grocery Outlet’s requests, and will pass the final decision to the Fort Bragg City Council. After years of opposition to the store, most speakers at the meeting said low-priced food is needed in Fort Bragg, where the average adult annual income is about $30,000. According to the Mendocino Voice, the store will hire about 20 people and will be open from 9am to 10pm seven days a week when it’s built. The decision now moves to the City Council and possibly to the California Coastal Commission.

The Judge’s Breakfast forum in Lake County yesterday focused on an educational non-profit. The organization called 10,000 Degrees gives scholarships to students, and is focused on helping kids from low income backgrounds go to college. So far, 10,000 Degrees has awarded over $6 million dollars in scholarships, supporting over 12,000 students.  Its programming covers seven counties in the bay area including Lake County, according to the Record-Bee. During the forum, a presentation by the organization helped clarify how it can help in Lake County, with scholarship applications and workshops to guide kids. One program manager pointed out that 92 percent of students assisted are the firsts in their family to attend college.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has approved $7.14 million in grant funding for projects aimed at affordable housing and child care. In the Press Democrat, the board unanimously approved grants Tuesday. The grants will support projects to help Sonoma County residents who are very low income, moderate income or homeless. The grants, funded by US Department of Housing will help fund around 20 organizations including housing in Healdsburg.  Half a million will go to the Sonoma County Community Development Commission for housing rehab and earthquake bracing systems.

El Niño is returning after four years, and the event will effect California’s seasons.  As of yesterday, NOAA reports an 82 percent chance that the warming waters will arrive by July. El Nino often means a wetter year for an already drenched state. The opposite of El Nino, La Nina has been in effect for the last three years, with cooling waters. El Niño years tend to be hotter than other years and with climate change, it could mean higher temperatures. That could increase the risk of droughts, heat waves, forest fires and more.

The California Department of Public Health has issued a Mussel Quarantine now through October.  The annual quarantine prohibits people from harvesting mussels because of potentially dangerous levels of biotoxins in the shellfish up and down the California coast. Other types of shellfish like oysters and clams that are harvested from certified companies aren’t included in the ban.  The state monitored mussels and found dangerous levels of domoic acid that is toxic to people.

Dozens of new oil and gas well permits may get blocked by an environmental groups lawsuit.  The group says the state administration did not consider how the drilling would affect the environment.  The suit, filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, says state officials used a 50 year old environmental impact report that didn’t account for climate change or health effects on people. Most of the wells were within 3,200 feet of homes and communities, despite a law that bans such permits. That law was put on hold in February because the oil industry qualified a referendum for the 2024 election asking voters to overturn it.

And Congratulations are in order for the new Lake County Teacher of the Year, Anna Sabalone. She is an art and humanities teacher at Upper Lake High School, according to Lake County News. 

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