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The Mendocino County Planning Commission is set to consider rezoning part of the Redwood Valley as a Cannabis Prohibition Zone tomorrow. The county will discuss banning cannabis cultivation in the area after a group of residents came together during drought conditions in 2021 with complaints on large grows. During the drought and pandemic, residents dealt with water restrictions and what they said was an atmosphere of crime. Now that the drought has ended and the price of marijuana has dropped illegal grows have been slowed, and the county has enforced cannabis codes. Authorities say illegal growers are leaving Mendocino County. In Mendocino Voice online, the calls for the cannabis free zone have quieted, and the issue will be brought up for a third time during the Planning Commission meeting tomorrow morning at 9am.

Senate Majority Leader Mike McGuire, Chair of the Joint Committee on Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Lake County’s representative in the state Senate, is holding a hearing today on California’s offshore wind industry.  In Lake County News today, the hearing in Sacramento will discuss how to deploy wind technology off shore, while protecting the state’s fishing fleet and the coastal environment. Along with local and state agencies and representatives, tribal leaders, and offshore wind industry representatives, representatives from the fishing fleet, and more will gather to look at the whole picture. Senator McGuire says it’s a first-of-its-kind hearing bringing all sides of the discussion together. The hearing begins at 2 p.m.

Five organizations filed a lawsuit against PG&E in the Northern District of California. The suit says the utility violated and continues to violate the Endangered Species Act through the unauthorized “take” of Chinook salmon and steelheads.  In Courthouse News Service this week, the Potter Valley Project is under scrutiny as PG&E remains in control.  Although the two dams on the Eel River, owned by PG&E are slated to be decommissioned, they’re currently preventing salmon from returning to their spawning grounds.  According to the lawsuit, the National Marine Fisheries Services warned PG&E that immediate changes were required at the Potter Valley District to protect the fish.  The group says Scott Dam is at higher risk of failure in an earthquake than was previously understood, making the issue even more urgent. The environmental groups in the suit hope PG&E will be forced to face the issue and move forward with their decommissioning plans immediately.   

A man was stabbed to death in Lakeport.  Yesterday afternoon around 4:40pm, police responded to Red Feather Lane and found Christopher Burrows on the ground with a knife wound.  Police and paramedics tried to help him, but he died of his injuries.  Lake County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Melinda Fred for murder. She was booked into the Lake County Jail and charged with first degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.  Anyone with information about the attack is asked to contact Lake County Sheriffs Office.

A new study links emissions from the world’s major fossil fuel producers to 37% of acres burned by wildfire in the west between 1986 and 2021. The report released this week  by the Union of Concerned Scientists, says those emissions are also responsible for drying out California forests. Researchers hope these findings translate into corporate accountability for damages wrought by past and future disasters. This is the first study in the world that attributes wildfire impacts from climate change to specific fossil fuel producers, according to a scientist and author of the study. The group wants to see hope a shift in the narrative for the public and policymakers in California toward one with greater corporate responsibility.

The Mendocino Cannabis Department is announcing a new regulatory process.  The department will start using an online page called Accela Cannabis Regulation Portal. Starting June 1, applicants and permit holders can sign in and create an account.  The new method will increase transparency and make a more efficient process for those in the cannabis industry.  The cannabis department will send out a Canna Note with links to businesses in the county. The app has all existing permits to date, and will the place to apply for any new ones.  The IT department will be switching to Accela from May 26th through May 31st.  They ask that users not access the new program until it begins on June 1st

Families in Mendocino County who were financially impacted by severe weather in February and March may be eligible for disaster food benefits from CalFresh. Families that lost money or work due to the storms can apply, as well as households that had to make storm related repairs or lost food because of power outages or evacuations may also be eligible. The benefits may be up to over $900. In MendoVoice online, the deadline to apply is Friday, May 19th.  Residents are encouraged to contact the county social services office or apply online. Residents of Mendocino and Lake Counties, who are currently getting SNAP benefits are able to purchase hot foods from any store that accepts them due to a temporary waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This waiver applies through the end of May.

Mendocino Transit Authority with LSC Transportation Consultants want Ukiah residents to discuss the future of the Ukiah Transit Center.  The group plans to look at six different locations and go over initial designs.  In MendoVoice online, residents are asked to check out the project website and give some input as they work on moving people around in Ukiah and Mendocino County by connecting Ukiah to the Mendocino Transit Authority bus routes. The webpage with the survey is at

Sonoma County Supervisors have formally ended the COVID emergency declaration. The board met yesterday to announce the end of a proclamation that was in place for over three years.  In the Press Democrat, local health officials say infections from the virus are still happening but not at the rate before.  The county has rearranged some COVID related information to the health services department, and continues to offer vaccines and testing. Federal officials still recommend people get the latest vaccine.

California condors will receive a vaccine for a deadly strain of avian flu that threatens to wipe out the already critically endangered vulture species.  Federal officials reported yesterday that emergency approval was granted for a vaccine after more than a dozen of the huge raptors died of the bird flu.  There are fewer than 350 California condors in the wild, in flocks that span from the Pacific Northwest to Baja California. AP is reporting a pilot safety study will begin this month in North American vultures, a similar species, to check for any adverse effects before they give vaccines to the endangered condors, according to an agriculture department statement. The US Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service reports over the last 18 months, millions of birds have passed from the bird flu including more than 430 bald eagles and millions of poultry. 

Cannabis businesses can legally begin operating in the City of Healdsburg today, joining a list of cannabis friendly cities in Sonoma County. The city council approved commercial cannabis business tax rates this month after voters passed Measure M last fall. The new rates are 4 percent for sales, 2 percent for manufacturing and testing with a medical cannabis exemption, according to the Press Democrat.  The anticipated revenue the city expects could up be to half a million dollars.  The city says it may be spend on police, fire and emergency services, parks, affordable housing and street maintenance. 

The Red and White Store has remained open, despite a car crashing into it last weekend. The store on Highway 20 in Clearlake Oaks was the scene of a crash around 1:30am Saturday morning.  In Lake County News, manager Christopher Hallsted said they were able to stay open despite damage.  CHP reported a SUV hit the building at Acorn Street, where the driver was found on the ground near the scene, with minor injuries. It did not appear that alcohol or drugs were factors. The Northshore Fire Protection District firefighters checked the damage to the building. The manager says they were lucky there wasn’t more damage to the 90 year-old store, and they were able to put up a temporary wall. 

Research on THC potency and recommendations for harm-reducing policies will be the topic of the Cannabis Advisory Committee’s Public Health and Community Impact meeting next week.   The virtual meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 24, at 9:00 a.m. The subcommittee will also hear a presentation from the California Department of Public Health THC think tank. The committee advised the Department of Cannabis Control as the state sets standards for commercial cannabis business. In a release today, the department plans to develop the framework for cannabis industry regulations that they say will benefit all Californians.

Californians are facing sudden insurance cancellations, refusal of coverage and significantly increased premium costs.  As wildfires become more intense and unpredictable storms hit the state, people living in higher risk areas are feeling the pain of finding affordable coverage, if any is available at all. Northern Californians are being especially hit with an insurance blockage. After the devastating fires in 2017 and 2018 insurance companies have been confronted with massive policy payouts and have pulled back coverage and increased costs. In the Press Democrat today, president of the Personal Insurance Federation of California says profits industry-wide were wiped out in those two years. Last October, the Department of Insurance finished “wildfire safety regulation” that requires insurance providers to offer discounts to residents who work to mitigate fire risks on their properties. They had until last month to submit plans to comply with the new regulation.   

Sonoma County has launched a regional initiative to protect the Russian River and surrounding watershed. The Russian River Confluence will bring together government agencies, tribal partners, and more to promote collaboration along the 110-mile river that runs through Sonoma and Mendocino counties. In California Municipal online, the Confluence launched “Respect Russian River,” a campaign to create awareness about the river and engage the community in taking care of the river and watershed. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors and other partners will consider adopting the agreement in the coming weeks. The confluence has plans for updated mapping and workshops next summer in the communities surrounding the area.

Memorial Day is less than two weeks away, and the Avenue of Flags is prepping to honor the memories of Lake County’s veterans.  The Lake County News reports they are looking for volunteers for the annual event.  Flags will be placed at the Lower Lake, Kelseyville and Lakeport Cemeteries.  Volunteers are asked to meet at the Lower Lake Cemetery 7am on Memorial Day to help place the flags in all three cemeteries.  The flags will be taken down at 3pm later that day.  President of the Avenue of Flags, William Asher says volunteers can call him at 707-900-1652.

The Jackson Demonstration State Forest Task Force will meet next Monday at the First Presbyterian Church in Fort Bragg.  The group will have updates on roads, trails, parks and campgrounds.  They’ll discuss illegal trail development and maintenance of trails and address forest history, Manly Gulch and the Camp 1 Loop Trail. The meeting starts at 12:30pm and will wrap up with a field tour by about 5pm. 

Mendocino County Public Health is holding a Media Day Presentation this Friday at 2pm.  A gust speaker will present information on childhood vaccines.  The meeting will be held virtually via Zoom.  For more details contact the health department at 707-472-8410.

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