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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

The California Attorney General Xavier Becerra sticking it to the Trump administration nine more times. Yesterday the Democratic Atty. General filed nine lawsuits against President Trump’s administration. Becerra in a parting shot, as he is President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for Health and Human Services Secretary. Becerra has taken the Trump administration to court 122 times. This latest against several environmental rule changes which Becerra says weaken protections for migratory birds, exempt some clothing washing and drying machines from energy efficiency standards, loosen regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from the oil and gas industry, and relax rules on toxic air pollutants.

A stabbing in Ukiah has left one person dead and another in jail. Deputies reporting to an apartment complex on Laws Avenue yesterday morning. Mendo Fever reports a neighbor said there was police presence outside the Greystone Apartments and yellow crime scene tape was seen on the balcony outside the second-story apartment. She reported being woken up by yelling and saw a handful of detective vehicles, and the coroner van.

The Mayor and Vice Mayor of Fort Bragg putting out a public statement denouncing the recent violence at the US Capitol and across the country. Mayor Bernie Norvell and Vice Mayor Jessica Morsell-Haye’s statement say the peaceful transfer of elected leadership is a core tenet of democracy, adding as public officials their oath is to protect the constitution against enemies both foreign and domestic. They called the US Capitol insurrection a direct assault on democratic processes and the constitution of the United States.

After the state reported some severe allergic reactions to a batch of the Moderna vaccine, Sonoma County has set aside 7,500 doses. Mendocino County apparently administered 100 doses from the potentially harmful lot of the vaccine. Sonoma County says it’s now an obstacle to get 100,000 residents over the age of 65 inoculated. The rest of that batch was put on administration pause by the state’s lead epidemiologist Sunday. Six people in San Diego experienced bad allergic reactions at a vaccination event at Petco Park. All of them reportedly landed in the hospital over a 24-hour period.  The state received over 330,000 doses from the lot. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says since these are new vaccines, these events are not unexpected, and should not stop the public from getting vaccinated.

Several dozen restaurants and wineries in both Sonoma and Napa counties are suing Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s public health officer because of public safety restrictions. The group has named itself Wine Country Coalition for Safe Reopening. The 50 businesses say the latest stay-home order which only allows takeout and delivery service is “draconian.” The group says their aim is to get the outdoor dining and outdoor wine tasting ban lifted calling the restrictions arbitrary and unfair. The group is also seeking financial compensation for unspecified economic losses due to the restrictions.

The state auditor has released a new report saying some of the coronavirus relief money received from the federal government did not reach enough smaller communities. Auditor Elaine Howle says the state finance department’s way of distributing the money was overly generous to several counties, giving them “nearly double the total per person amount of [federal] funding compared with California’s 42 other counties.” Howle says if more money comes to the state this year, it should be distributed in a more equitable way. Howle’s office says the process used by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services was to decide if cities defied state public health orders so they wouldn’t get a share of COVID-19 relief funds and it wasn’t a consistent process.

So many challenges, like across the country, with the distribution of the coronavirus vaccine in Lake County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace in remarks to the Board of Supervisors yesterday as cases continue skyrocketing, almost 200 new cases since Friday. He also reported two new deaths. The county has reported over 2,600 cases of the disease and 30 deaths. Dr. Pace told the board that there was so much virus spreading that if you’re out in the community you’d come into contact with it. He says hospitals are quickly filling up and eight people were in ICU beds, which were also almost filled up. Dr. Pace also filled the board in on vaccinations, inoculating 400 people a week. Dr. Pace says based on the current distribution by the state, it would take until the end of 2022 to vaccinate only half the county.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has held a special meeting after cases of COVID19 broke records. The board looking to stop in person services for the public to slow the spread. It’s just temporary, but it means county services for the public will be as limited as they were at the beginning of the pandemic. The board had closed its chambers two weeks ago. The County Administrative Officer reported “worsening pandemic conditions in recent weeks“ including more positive cases in county workers too. Also two weeks ago, the board created an ad hoc committee on the pandemic and Worksite Protection Protocol. The committee supporting closing services back down for right now until the pandemic can be reined in.

An ad hoc committee has been created in Clearlake to work on a youth sports complex plan. The city council to create the committee at their meeting tomorrow to consider the 31 acre property the city bought last year for the proposed complex. The council will also discuss concealed weapon permits and discuss an expansion of the Automated License Plate Recognition. That helps cops in criminal cases and to also find stolen vehicles. The meeting is tomorrow online only. You can catch it on the city’s YouTube channel or local cable and Zoom for whoever wants to participate.

Congressman Mike Thompson holding a virtual town hall again on the pandemic. Over nearly a year Thompson has been having guests join him in these town halls. It’ll be tomorrow night at 7p on Zoom and his Facebook page. It’s the second town hall this year and a day after the inauguration of the new President. Thompson’s town hall this week is a general one, with all topics welcome.

One of the new strains of coronavirus has arrived in Humboldt County. The state Department of Public Health made the announcement of the variant Sunday. It was apparently first detected in the state last May, but the agency says since November, the strain is surfacing more, in about 25% of the total cases in Calif. A study into the strain shows it may be more infectious and could affect the efficacy of the vaccines, but the study authors say it needs to be studied more.

A Northern Calif. environmental group says a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rule put in place in the last days of the Trump administration may mean extinction for the northern spotted owl. A new rule published last week which stops a protection from logging on 3.4 million acres of the species’ habitat across Northern California, Oregon and Washington. The once protected area includes conservation territories and nearly half of the Pacific Northwest northern spotted owl’s deeply forested, critical habitat. The lands are managed by the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. The state though could make a scientific decision on behalf of the owl.

The first day of popup vaccination clinics has taken place in Lake County. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace says the region that includes the county is still at a “tipping point.” But Dr. Pace says the demand is higher than the supply of the vaccine. Pace is still calling on the public to stay inside, where a mask, have good hygiene and not to gather for the next several weeks. The comments as 2 more deaths are also confirmed. Right now, as doses allow, those in the Tier 1B, those 65 and older, teachers and school staff can get the vaccine in the county, following the federal and state guidance on distribution.

Word that a lot of the Moderna Vaccine had caused severe allergic reactions at a clinic in San Diego has put the state on pause for a moment in inoculations. The Mendocino Public Health Office says the county gave a shot to about 100 coast residents from the lot Sunday at Adventist Health. Now the hospital says they’re also pausing the administration of the vaccine even though none of their patients had an adverse reaction. The hospital says they’re in touch with the patients who got a shot and have not heard of any complications or severe reactions. The state ordered a pause on shots and Adventist says they’re following the state’s guidance. The hospital reports over 300,000 doses from that lot were distributed across the state with a very small percentage experiencing complications.

A quick power outage reported in Mendocino County. A bunch of people posted last night before 8 on social media, their lights clicked off, then on. The reports from Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Covelo, Redwood Valley, Willits, Brooktrails, Yorkville, and some in Lake County too. MendoFever reports PG&E’s monitoring technology didn’t pick up the electricity flickers and didn’t receive any reports of an outage.  

A young man from Willits has been arrested after reports of a domestic battery incident with his girlfriend. Deputies say they got a call from an 18 year old woman reported an incident from a few days before. They say she had visible injuries to her face, caused by her live-in 19 year old boyfriend, Romeo Lopez. Deputies say the man punched the woman in the face and arrested him. He’s held on $25,000.00 bail.

Like the Public Health Officer has said, Sonoma County’s in the darkest period of the pandemic so far. The Press Democrat reports this month, which still has nearly 2 weeks more has been the County’s deadliest. Five more people died yesterday for a total of 47 this month and 239 overall since last March. The chair of the Board of Supervisors says the latest deaths show we have to do everything in our power to slow the spread of the virus. Before this, the biggest spike in deaths, were 43, but that was over an entire month of the summer. Deaths at skilled nursing or assisted living facilities are making up 64% of the total deaths, and elderly residents comprise 80% of all deaths.

A wildfire reported in the hills above Geyserville where forecasters reported wind gusts that had reached 85 mph. The Old Fire was reported last night before 10 off Big Geysers Road. The fire’s reportedly burned 10 acres so far but the wind was challenging firefighters. The National Weather Service reported one gust measured 94 mph, one of the strongest windstorms in the North Bay in years. There are no structures threatened so far. More firefighters are also being sent out close to the The Geysers geothermal fields. And PG&E representatives and others reported the utility’s power equipment was damaged by the winds but there were no planned power shut-offs.

A tiny corner of the state reported to be one where COVID’s not being taken seriously, still the police chief went and got his first shot of a COVID19 vaccine. The town of Corning hosted a vaccination clinic for the city’s firefighters and police officers. The Press Democrat reports there’s pandemic skepticism in rural Northern California. But still health officials in Northern Calif. aim to vaccinate nearly 700,000 people. There’s fear though that the vaccine is unsafe and serious pushback against public health orders. One doctor says there are anti-vaxxers or those who think the pandemic is a hoax or was going away after the presidential election. Some towns have restaurants open for indoor dining, maskless in Tehama County.

There have now been nearly 3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in Calif. The daily tally by Johns Hopkins University had Calif. crest over the milestone, but the state has it just under that number. We’re the first state to do so. 2 million cases were recorded by Dec. 24th, and the next million 3 weeks later. Almost a year after the first coronavirus case in the state. It took almost a year to hit one million cases, then 44 more days to get to 2 million. The only two states close to Calif., Texas with over 2 million and Florida with over 1.5 million. Calif. is also getting close to 34,000 deaths. The number of cases have been climbing since Halloween. The state is hopeful that mass vaccinations will finally slow the spread as a batch of the Moderna vaccine was reportedly causing a severe reaction in some recipients, so the inoculations are on pause for a moment.

A new grant program allowing nonprofits in Mendocino County to get money in their field. The so-called Field-of-Interest grants thru the Community Foundation for specific geographical areas too. There’s nearly $170,000 to distribute. The foundation has a COVID-19 Relief Program, focused on nonprofits. The grants will be from four different funds through the Non-Profit Relief Program, the Community Resiliency and Disaster Preparedness Fund, the Environmental Education & Conservation Fund, and the ReLeaf Tree Planting Fund. The Community Resiliency and Disaster Preparedness Fund has $100,000, the Environmental Education and Conservation Fund has $10,000, ReLeaf has $8,000, the Safety-Net Fund has $50,000. Application are available at http://www.communityfound.org. Questions go to Amy Lutz, grants administrator, at (707) 468-9882 x104.

The Scotts Valley Energy Company has won a grant to fight climate change. The company’s owned by the Scotts Valley Band of Pomo Indians. They won the Tribal Government Challenge Planning Grant so they can come up with a bioenergy feasibility toolkit for other Tribes and businesses. They’ve won $248,000 from the California Energy Commission (CEC) in partnership with the California Strategic Growth Council (SGC) to focus on Tribal governments and how Tribes help California reach its climate goals. The grants generally go between $215,000 to $250,000 and pay for clean energy projects, including energy storage, renewables, biomass, and community and energy resilience to climate impacts.

A woman from Willits has been arrested after a report by the victim his wife slapped him. Mendocino Deputies say the 48 year-old man said he and wife Shaniquea Bent-Middleton had an argument and she hit him in the face, then picked up a wooden stool and hit him with it. He put up his arm to block the stool, but she got him instead in the arm.  Deputies say he had visible injuries and swelling on his arm so the woman was arrested and charged with domestic violence battery. She’s held on $25,000.00 bail.

Winds recorded at almost 100 mph in Sonoma County have caused widespread damage and shut down power to thousands. PG&E reports 6,500 people lost power after the damaging winds took down trees and knocked out electricity from east Santa Rosa to Monte Rio. Firefighters in Santa Rosa reportedly had multiple calls about trees and power lines down last night and this morning. One gust of wind even blew the roof off a car port at a mobile home park. Several small brush fires were also reported near where the massive Tubbs fire burned in 2017. The National Weather Service reported winds over 80 mph and even hitting over 90 mph in the Mayacamas Mountains. One PG&E weather station recorded a 97 mph wind gust. There’s still a wind advisory in effect until 6pm tonight.

A fire that broke out above Geyserville is now 60% contained. The Old Fire was reported at 10 acres last night, but this morning Cal Fire reported it was under 2 acres off Big Geysers Road east of Geyserville. They say even though winds were whipping fast in the area the flames were not spreading that fast and no structures were being threatened.  PG&E reported some of their equipment in the area was damaged, but they had not planned power shutoffs there. They say even though wind gusts neared 100mph, humidity, rain and other factors led them not to shut off power to prevent their equipment from sparking wildfires.

The California Department of Public Health has reportedly found a mutated version of the coronavirus. So Santa Clara County and the University of California San Francisco announced the L452R variant of COVID-19 was identified. It’s been in other countries and states and has apparently spread to several counties. The state is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local public health departments and others to understand more about it and why it spreads faster than other variants. The state Epidemiologist says it further cements the need for all Californians to wear masks and not to gather with those outside your immediate household. And for anyone who may have been exposed to the virus to isolate. The variant found in various clusters in Santa Clara County, and now in Humboldt, Lake, Los Angeles, Mono, Monterey, Orange, Riverside, San Francisco, San Bernardino, San Diego and San Luis Obispo counties.

Police in Fort Bragg have arrested a man they say was threatening another man with a gun. Police got a call last Wednesday to a couple fighting and yelling at another person, who says he was leaving a business and they confronted him. The victim told police he didn’t know the pair, they drove away while the victim was being questioned. The victim pointed them out to police who went after them, pulling over driver Jeremiah Rapp and passenger Stephanie Coatney Miller, both of Lake County. A records check showed Rapp was wanted on a felony warrant out of Marin County for Assault with a Deadly Weapon, False Imprisonment, and Intimidating a Victim. They say he claimed to be a member of both the “MS-13” and Sureños criminal street gangs. He challenged them to a fight, but then he surrendered and was arrested on several charges. He’s booked into Mendocino County Jail where he awaits extradition to Marin County.

Lake County’s Public Health Officer says it seems the steep post-holiday surge of cases of COVID-19 are leveling off, but there are still cases being identified, people being hospitalized, and 3 people died over the last week. There are also less ICU beds in the Northern Calif. region that includes both Lake and Mendocino Counties. The trigger is 15% or less capacity, where the entire RANCHO region is near. That could mean a new lockdown as the virus spreads across the state. Dr. Gary Pace says there are widespread vaccinations happening, but not nearly enough to meet the demand. Since Lake County started to get the vaccine about a month ago, they’re offered it to most in the tier 1A. The county trying to get more shots and hope to get tier 1B vaccinated this week. That includes teachers and school staff, and those over 65. The Public Health Dept. isn’t offering any public appointments as supply has been unpredictable and very limited notice is being given.

A man from Ukiah’s been arrested for car theft and doing it during a state of emergency. The Sheriff’s office reports Marco Antonio Alarcon Flores was seen in the Alexander Estates area last Wednesday after a dump trailer typically used at construction sites was stolen. Apparently one of those Ring doorbell cameras caught the whole thing. The video posted on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page which led to multiple tips. Alarcon Flores was found and interviewed, deputies then arrested him, and booked on $15,000 bail. But they say he got out on bail quickly. They’re also asking for the public’s help finding the trailer, which has still not been recovered.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer responding to that massive turnout to get the vaccine last week at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. Dr. Andy Coren typically gives a public talk on what’s happening with the virus on Fridays. As we reported there was a mass turnout at the Fairgrounds after calls went out to those over 75 telling them they could get the vaccine. The public health dept. reports as many as 1,200 people got the vaccine. And nearly 6,000 people so far in the county have received the vaccine, not including those inoculated through hospitals, pharmacies or Indian Health Centers, about 10% of the population in the county. Coren says they’ve gotten many calls and they’re working to answer every call and email. They’re hiring more people at their call center and have put up a new vaccine webpage with the most up-to-date information about vaccination events. Eventually residents will be able to register to get the vaccine on the website.

That new coronavirus variant has been detected in the Bay Area. State health officials have connected clusters of outbreaks to the so-called L452R variant, this is not the one from the UK, but was linked to several outbreaks in Santa Clara County. Last year it was detected in other states and countries too. The Santa Clara County Public Health Officer says it shows the virus continues mutating and adapting and the need for everyone to follow all prevention measures and get vaccinated as soon as they are offered the vaccine. Another variant, the B.1.1.7 was first detected in the United Kingdom.

Another death linked to COVID19 has been reported in Mendocino County. On the Public Health Office coronavirus dashboard on Saturday, the 32nd death was posted along with several more cases of the virus. The public health dept. reports the death this time was a woman, over 68-years-old from the North Coast. They say she had been transferred to an out-of-county hospital and passed away there. There were nearly 40 more cases over the weekend, for a total so far of 3,114 positive cases in the county. The county reports vaccinating almost 6,000 people so far.

We could get some fire weather in January. The National Weather Service has issued a high wind warning for higher elevations across Central and Northern California. The warning starts this afternoon for areas higher than 1,000 feet and says there could be damaging winds of 60-70 mph from Big Sur to the North Bay mountains. Forecasters have also issued a fire weather watch, pretty rare for this time of year. They do say however that since more rain is expected in the North Bay, there’s not as much of a risk. The main area of concern seems to be the Santa Cruz Mountains. There were also record breaking warm temperatures yesterday, not summer like, but still many places reaching into the low-mid 70’s, matching records set in 1920.

The unemployment claim fraud debacle is starting to crystallize. The state may have paid out as much as $10 billion in fake coronavirus unemployment claims, two times as much as previously thought. And some of the cash being sent to far flung places, like to Russia, China and other countries, as part of organized crime rings. The state Employment Development Department got swindled and until they found the fraud and put controls in place last fall, they say about 10% of all claims were not from unemployed Californians. Reports of people in 20 other countries collecting billions in benefits. The state has processed over 16 million claims since last March, sending $43 billion from a federal expedited assistance program for independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed that was less secure.

The Lakeport Unified School District Board has met over Zoom and limited in person at the start of the new year. They discussed how to get back to in person learning. Students commented that the distance learning has been a struggle and brought ideas to the board. One student spoke as a representative of the California Association of Student Councils saying they should send out an anonymous survey to students to see how they’re faring with distance learning. She said that would allow student administrators to understand students’ mental health, their home environment, life workload and overall performance as compared to before times. The Superintendent of schools says they’re changing over to a different testing system and will start vaccines for those who want them, 40 people said no to the shots.

A man from Napa has been arrested on mass explosives and weapons charges. The Napa County Sheriff’s Office arrested 44-year-old Ian Benjamin Rogers who they say was in possession of illegal assault rifles, automatic weapons and explosives. He’s held on $5 million bail. Deputies armed with search warrants went to his home and business after getting a tip. They found over 50 guns (several unregistered and/or illegal), more than 15 thousand rounds of ammo and several pounds of gun powder. They found 5 pipe bombs in a safe at his place of business. He was arrested Friday and booked on multiple charges including possessing an assault weapon, possessing explosive materials, transporting an assault weapon and several misdemeanors.

The Governor and the LA Mayor are out with the word that Dodger stadium will be the next mass vaccine site. They hope to ramp up the site so it’s capable of administering 12,000 shots a day, even though it’s anybody’s guess as to when or how many more vaccine doses the state will get. The Gov. says they’ll be able to communicate more fully with the public after they get more information about why reserve doses of the vaccine were no longer available from the federal government, but in fact, were already sent out across the country. The Governor of Oregon and a US Senator from the state of Washington tweeted last week about the failure and frustration of getting more vaccine as promised.

The vaccine has been distributed to hundreds of Ukiah Unified School District employees. The Daily Journal reports the Covid-19 vaccinations were administered last Friday at one of at least two large events held in Ukiah. This one conducted at the Ukiah Valley Conference Center. The school superintendent says over 600 UUSD staff members will have received the vaccine, which was almost all their staff.  Adventist Health also announced walkins were available last Friday for those over 75 years old and for healthcare workers.  The Public Health Office reported getting almost 2,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, administering all but 900 were left. The county also got 500 doses of the Moderna vaccine, all of which were administered.

The state’s Epidemiologist says they had to dump some Moderna vaccines because they were causing an inordinate amount of allergic reactions. One lot number had a higher than usual number of reactions according to Dr. Erica Pan who recommended pausing the inoculations yesterday. Dr. Pan says that particular lot was at a vaccine clinic and less than 10 people needed medical attention. She says out of an extreme abundance of caution, while also acknowledging an extremely limited supply of vaccine, they were recommending providers use other available vaccine inventory and pause the administration of that Moderna Lot (041L20A) until there was an investigation by the CDC, FDA, Moderna and the state.

16 more people have died from coronavirus in Sonoma County. Public health officials report so far January may be the highest month for deaths in the county since the virus started to emerge last spring. The latest deaths reported this week from infections between Dec. 16th and Jan. 13th after holiday travel and gatherings. The county reported 22 deaths last week, the most so far. So 42 people have died the first two weeks of the new year, and 35 in all of December. There are about 100 people in the hospital too. The Press Democrat reports the surge in deaths and cases can be traced to elder care facilities. 143 residents of senior care sites have died since last year. The county’s public health officer called the latest deaths and infections the darkest period of the pandemic, and to see them as the vaccines are being distributed is especially heartbreaking.

A woman from Cloverdale has been arrested for bringing bear spray to the state Capitol for a demonstration. Police say 73 year old Margaret Shaw was arrested January 6th, the day of the US Capitol insurrection. She was one of 12 protesters arrested last Wednesday at the pro-Trump rally. She’s accused of breaking a law prohibiting owning and using a tear gas weapon with over 2.5 ounces of aerosol spray. The others were apparently arrested on similar charges. Demonstrations are expected to pick back up ahead of and on inauguration day too, so a fence has been erected at the state Capitol and 1,000 National Guard members activated.  Most of those in Sacramento protesting were not wearing masks. Shaw was charged with a misdemeanor and not jailed.

Just like what happened earlier this week in Ukiah, word of mouth dried up extra vaccines elsewhere in the state. Officials at Lompoc Valley Medical Center said they’d give out 100 doses to people over 75 Wednesday, and 350 people showed up, they all ended up getting their first shot though. More than 10 million are eligible to get the vaccine in the state right now, and 900,000 shots have been given. Reports that providers are not adhering the tier groups, like what happened after the freezer broke at Adventist Health and doses had to be distributed fast, or shots tossed in the trash. In Southern Calif. a hospital was vaccinating first responders because there were not enough health care workers who wanted available doses.

PG&E reports new technology helped them lessen the size of Public Safety Power Shutoffs in 2020. The utility reports putting in weather stations and cameras in the North Bay isolated the power grid into smaller segments and temporary generation and microgrids brought the power down events down about 55%. There were 1,000 weather stations and 340 cameras operating throughout Northern and Central California by the end of 2020. That helped them remove over 800,000 customers from last year’s intentional power downs in fire weather or red flag warnings.

A man missing in Mendocino County ignites several search and rescue teams. The Sheriff’s Office reports looking yesterday for 58-year-old Paul Duran in the Covelo area. They say he’s been missing for over a week and could be somewhere around Mina Road on a remote piece of property. The Sheriff’s office posted a picture of the man on their Facebook page. They say they’ve got nearly 5 dozen searchers trying to find him, not only from Mendocino County Search & Rescue, but also Lake County, Marin, Napa County Search & Rescue, from Contra County, Humboldt County and Sonoma County.

A head on crash on Highway 20 takes the life of a man from Williams. 61 year old David Surak was killed in the crash Wednesday afternoon on Highway 20 near mile post marker 21.10, east of Lucerne. The man reportedly crossed the double yellow lines and hit an SUV on the other side of the highway around a blind curve. The crash site then blocked both lanes and traffic backed up as firefighters made their way to the scene. Surak was taken to Adventist Health Clear Lake where he died. They say they’re insure at this point if drugs or alcohol were a factor in the crash.

New board members have been sworn into the Middletown Area Town Hall. It’s the 14th year for the town hall and this year, they’re meeting virtually due to the pandemic. It was a lot of rule talking and approving bylaws and such. They also got an update from the South Lake County Fire Council. They meet next February 11th.

Another round of stimulus money is being made available from Woodland Community College. The next round of grants for students during the spring 2021 semester. This round from the Federal Consolidated Appropriations Act 2021 which will come to students as direct cash payments that can be used on various items including enrollment fees, food, housing, healthcare and childcare. Those who’ve enrolled in six or more units this spring are eligible for grants between $300 to $550 and come automatically in February. The spring semester starts in a week, Monday, Jan. 25. The college says they’ll also be expanding their emergency grant program for students with financial troubles related to education and housing.

Students should visit the college’s website at http://wcc.yccd.edu or call the financial aid office at 707-995-7923 for additional information.

During its board meeting this week the chief of the Little Lake Fire Protection District touted achievements made in 2020 amidst the pandemic. Chief Chris Wilkes also spoke about the new firehouse and says during the next month, weather permitting, a metal roof will be put in, insulation will be installed, interior walls will be framed, and aluminum windows also installed.  They’re also apparently getting a new engine, new wildland turnouts and a new automated external defibrillator. The Chief says they will also be able to get their share of the City’s Cannabis Excise Tax soon too, then will begin getting it twice a year.

A plan has been agreed to to bring kids back to Willits Charter School. The school has students from 6th-12th grade. They are looking at bringing students back for in person class starting in the middle of March. The Willits News reports the school’s Director Charlene Bredder says teachers are starting to get vaccinated too, 20 out of their 32 educators have signed up to get the vaccine today. But apparently they weren’t quite ready to get back to in person learning just yet. The Board of directors had their latest meeting Tuesday and approved a plan for 6th-graders to come back first and it’s also optional, they can continue virtual learning if they prefer. There are already 11 of 24 6th graders doing in person learning. They also have someone taking charge of COVID planning for their two schools.

Lakeport police are warning residents about COVID vaccine scams. Apparently there have been some social media posts with various messages, one that you have to pay for an appointment. Officials say that’s false. The County Health Department said earlier this week vaccination centers would start to be open 6 days a week in Lakeport and Clearlake and are provided in tiers. The schedule starts next Tuesday, but the clinics are open Monday – Saturdays. But this coming Monday is the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday. Anyone in one of the tiers announced can get vaccinated, regardless of race or immigration status no matter what you read online. The health department says if someone’s trying to sell you a reservation for a shot, it’s a scam. The department says an 86 year old was scammed and someone got into their bank account and took $15,000.

Assemblyman Jim Wood has been helping to vaccinate residents in Ukiah. The North Coast lawmaker took part in a vaccination event at the conference center in Ukiah where his office is located. He says he heard they needed help so he volunteered. The group he helped inoculate were in the first tier, 1A, frontline health care workers, he helped give the shots though to teachers and says there were about 250 people there including teachers or support staff. Wood works in forensic dentistry at a morgue.

A woman from Redwood Valley has been killed in a solo car crash. The CHP says the 82 year old woman’s SUV rolled down an embankment along Main Ranch Road Wednesday. The patrol reports for some unknown reason, the woman went off the road and her SUV tumbled several times down an embankment and she did not have on a seat belt. She was ejected from the vehicle and died from her injuries at the scene of the crash.

A hospital in Northern California has been fined thousands of dollars for not reporting a recent outbreak where an employee ended up dying. Kaiser Permanente San Jose Medical Center fined $43,000 January 5 for “failure to timely report 43 cases involving personnel who tested positive between December 27, 2020 and January 1, 2021.” Local reports say the amount of cases has grown to over 90 now. That included 77 members of Kaiser’s staff along with 15 patients. Santa Clara County came with the fine citing to CNN that the hospital needs to be “responsible for complying with all applicable public health orders and work safety regulations, including timely reporting of cases and all required follow-ups”. Apparently public health officials are still investigating how the outbreak started.

If you’ve received a call from Public Health that you can go to the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds to get your vaccination for coronavirus, you’re out of luck. Late yesterday the County sent out a statement that it was a “roaring success”, so much that they have no more shots to give out this week. The Public Health Office was calling people over 75 to come get their first shot. They filed into a line outside in cold, misty weather, only to leave or be turned away. The County said later the vaccination clinics for this week were FULL and they’re not accepting any more recipients. The clinics, they said, are for qualified groups based on State guidelines and are not public vaccination clinics. Any other information on upcoming vaccination events are going to be posted on the county’s website and social media pages.  

Three Northern Calif. Congressmembers have voted to impeach Donald Trump. Lake Co News reports Congressmen Mike Thompson and John Garamendi voted yay to impeach yesterday. Jared Huffman indicated just before the vote, that he too would be a yes. There was only one Article of Impeachment, Inciting an Insurrection.  It was related to the siege at the US Capitol last Wednesday, January 6th. This is the first time in history a President has been impeached two times. The first impeachment for the president came one year ago for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress related to a call the president had with the president of Ukraine. Trump is the third president to be impeached.

The Sheriff’s Office reports arresting a man for evading a peace officer and reckless driving. Apparently Marcelino Anguiano had been on the run since reports of a vandalism. Deputies found him in the 1700 block of South Dora Street and arrested him. He’s held on $25,000.00 bail.

2 men from Ukiah have been arrested related to a stolen car earlier this week. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call Monday after a truck repair business reported seeing two people in a pickup truck that had been left for repairs. They called the owner of the truck who said nobody they knew would be there. So a deputy reported to the business and found the two men after finding the pickup had been broken into and it appeared there was a hot wire attempt. Deputies say the dashboard was damaged and loose wires were cut. Mason Harris recently released by the court for second degree burglary, and Patrick Schuetz on parole, found with tools on him used commonly in burglaries.  Charges against the pair include attempted car theft, burglary and conspiracy. They were booked but released from jail due to rules around the COVID19 pandemic.

 UC Hopland Research and Extension announcing ways to get out and enjoy nature in the midst of the pandemic. The center says small groups or pods can go explore, not only hiking trails, but the lamb barn. The visits this month, and possibly next on Saturdays. The lambing tours include a guided “find the lost sheep” walk to the barn, a visit with the lambs and a chance to bottle feed an orphan lamb. They say they’ll also talk about how they produce sustainable fibers, fire fuel reduction, animal husbandry, and how they care for the lambs. Lambing time tours are at 10am, 11am and 12pm. And self-guided hikes have great views across Hopland out to Duncan’s Peak. 9 people at the most in one social pod, and you have to follow all Mendocino County Health Orders and Research Center safety rules. There’s a suggested price of $100 per group for the lamb tours; or $10 per person for the self-guided hikes.

Further details and online registration at: http://bit.ly/HRECEvents. Contact Hannah Bird at hbird@ucanr.edu or call (707) 744 1424 ext. 105 for further information or questions.

Since the Governor announced the next tier of residents could get the COVID19 vaccine, in Sonoma County residents 65 to 74 can join those 75 and older to get the shots. The county’s Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says though that the next tier, or Phase 1B depends how many doses they get from the state and how many in the priority tier of healthcare workers want to be vaccinated. She says the group of 65-74 includes tens of thousands of people. Hundreds are being vaccinated at this point, though the county has received thousands of doses, but they include second doses for some who already got inoculated in the first group last month.

Students attending University of California campuses are coming back to mostly in person learning this fall. The announcement Monday for students at 10 campuses will get to return. The president said they’re monitoring the pandemic and planning for a safe return of students in person. A statement by UC says the vaccines becoming available to students, staff and faculty will allow the campuses to go back to in person instead of virtual learning and that students will have to be “vigilant in all critical prevention efforts.” The campus were hit hard financially by the pandemic, they say, losing hundreds of millions in housing and dining, plus enrollment dropped as some students didn’t want to learn online.

Parents along with kids in Lake County hoping to get back to youth sporting have some hope ahead. “Let Them Play CA” is a statewide campaign with parents, coaches and youth advocates rallying this week on the issue. Locally tomorrow at 4 p.m. in Courthouse Museum Park. Community members are invited to a peaceful rally to support local youth sports teams. The movement is new, just put together in the last couple of weeks, but already has over 31,000 Facebook fans. There will be speakers at the rally talking about how to get back to courts and fields. COVID19 cases have not been that high in kids nationwide. In Calif., there are some school sports allowed, including cross country, golf, skiing and snowboarding, swimming and diving, tennis and track and field. If you attend the rally tomorrow they ask that you follow coronavirus public health best practices. 

The first meeting of the year for the Lakeport Planning Commission featuring new commissioners taking the oath of office then discussing the idea of a microenterprise home kitchen operation. The proposed pilot program for the microenterprise was already approved by the Board of Supervisors in November. It’s basically allowing kitchen operators at home to prepare meals for others, but they can’t profit more than $50,000/year.  They can also only make up to 30 meals a day, or 60/week. The program would run thru the end of June and allow two permits a month and only two per supervisorial district.

Help is needed at the vaccine clinics in Ukiah. North Coast Opportunities is asking people to reach out to the fairgrounds for help until 4 pm today, and tomorrow from 8:30-12, 1-4 or all day @ Carl Purdy Hall. Contact Kaitlynn directly at kyoung@ncoinc.org or 707-620-5063. Also tomorrow afternoon from 10-3 @ the Ukiah Valley Conference Center: contact Tami Bartolomei, tbartolemei@cityofukiah.com. You do have to register thru North Coast’s Volunteer Network as they’re handling all of the volunteers for the vaccines this week.  They say they will probably need even more volunteers too as the vaccine rollout continues to ramp up.

SAT and ACT are no longer necessary. A committee has found instead that the Smarter Balanced exam is better than either of the other two exams as it aligns with standards taught in California public schools and other UC admission requirements. The UC Board of Regents will take up the matter next week and no final decision has been made. A working group on the idea against the Smarter Balanced test as a way to choose students for admission though.

A mobile home park in Ukiah has a fire, and one of the homes there has been gutted. The fire yesterday at Rancho del Rey Estates, but nobody was injured, maybe a household pet, likely not a dog though. Neighbors tell Mendo Fever a man was charging his car battery which sparked. He ran into his house to grab a fire extinguisher, but it was too late, the car ignited and spread to the man’s home, destroying the inside. PG&E reported to the scene to turn natural gas off and fire trucks also arrived. The mobile home park is located on the corner of Leslie Ave. and Gobbi Street.

A recall effort to remove Gov. Gavin Newsom is being called a coup. Democrats calling out the effort and comparing it to the insurrection at the US Capitol last week. The Calif. Democratic Party Chair says the recall effort should instead be called ‘the California coup’ and further blames right-wing conspiracy theorists, white nationalists, anti-vaxxers and groups encouraging violence against democratic institutions. The San Diego mayor who’s a former Assemblymember, Todd Gloria says there’s a “straight line from the horrible events of last week in Washington D.C. to the current events here in California.” One of the recall organizers has reportedly been posting extremist views on social media, including one saying undocumented Californians should be “microchipped.”

Cannavine, a marijuana dispensary on Airport Park Boulevard has had its permit renewed. The Zoning Dept. approved of the business saying a visit showed it to be clean, tidy and well managed with good security. Ukiah police had not reported any crime associated with the business so the renewal was approved. They’re the only cannabis dispensary in Ukiah city limits.

Mendocino board members take up the failing freezer at Adventist Health were 800 doses of the coronavirus vaccine had to be quickly distributed. They also spoke about hiring more deputies due to an uptick in drug dealing and organized crime. 830 doses of the Moderna vaccine about to go bad as a refrigerator failed. The CEO of the hospital and Medical Officer say they made calls and gave the shot beyond the recommended tiers so they didn’t waste any vaccines. The health department said they’re working better to make sure all freezers are in working order. Some doses given at the jail and to county staff, and rumor has it some donors of the hospital had a chance to get the shot too, but we haven’t confirmed that.

Money available thru the Lake County Continuum of Care to help those at risk of losing shelter. The group has received California Emergency Solutions and Housing (CESH) grant funding for the most needy in the county. The money distributed has to be in alignment with certain state policies, and it has to be to help those without shelter into permanent housing and help them maintain permanent housing. The money available is over $415,000 and has to be split between two recipients for outreach on the street, health and safety education, criminal justice diversion programs, prevention services, navigation services, and operating support for short-term or comprehensive homeless services.  The money can also go to rent help or to subsidies like housing vouchers, rapid rehousing programs, eviction prevention, and housing relocation. 

For more information and how apply, please go to: https://www.lakecoc.org/cesh-grant.

The shellfish safety notice has been lifted by the state Dept. of Public Health put into place in November. It covered sport-harvested mussels, whole scallops, and clams in Mendocino County due to dangerous levels of naturally occurring paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins that can cause illness or death. The latest tests showed the toxins were at a safe or non-detectable level. But there’s still a warning not to eat any sport-harvested bivalve shellfish (including mussels, clams, and scallops) in Marin County. It is however safe to buy them thru commercial outlets.

Covered Calif. reports over 1.5 million people have purchased health insurance, that’s 200,000 more than a year ago. The deadline is January 31st to buy insurance. The Executive Director of Covered Calif. says he anticipates more people than ever will sign up as people have lost their jobs. The insurance marketplace had dried up some over the last 3 years, then when the pandemic hit enrollment went way up. There was also a new state law that started where the state was taxing people without insurance but the state put up millions to help middle income residents pay for their insurance.

The county has received over 2,700 doses of the Covid-19 vaccine this week. Mendocino County officials say there are continued vaccination events this week including first and second shots for those in priority groups. As we reported yesterday three clinics are happening in Ukiah at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds this week, it will include first responders, criminal justice personnel and crisis counselors and second doses for healthcare workers. Teachers, childcare workers, in home support workers, food service and agriculture workers on next. The county has put together a new Mendocino Ethics Covid Ad Hoc Committee working with the Public Health Office to decide on distribution and transparency.

There’s a new permanent president for Adventist Health in Mendocino County. It was made effective Dec. 18th that Judson Howe is taking the helm for the three Adventist Health hospitals in Fort Bragg, Ukiah and Willits, plus he’s overseeing some medical offices and other services in the county. The CEO of Adventist says Howe’s a dynamic leader who has a passion for quality, innovation and excellence with expertise and knowledge of the community and their hospitals. Howe’s already been working for the company as their finance and strategy officer. Before that he was the head of finance and strategy for Adventist Health Howard Memorial.

A new report says Latinos turned out to vote this past election because of the way the President spoke about their community. Voter registration was up dramatically for Latino voters in Calif, which some voter registration advocates say was because of the political climate in the Trump era. The non-partisan social justice group Riverside for Mi Familia Vota said the president’s “rhetoric against immigrant communities” backfired, and did not get younger voters out to register to vote. The group says instead the community’s voter registration was boosted by competitive elections, mobilization by political parties and activists, and perhaps automatic motor voter registration.

Lake County’s putting up more affordable housing after a vote by the Board of Supervisors to sell county land. The board voted yesterday to approve the exchange of the National Guard Armory with state owned property in Clearlake for 100 new affordable housing units. Lake Co News reports State Sen. Mike McGuire was involved in discussions on the project. For the swap the state requires at least half of the units being built are categorized as affordable, including 12.5 percent being very low, 12.5 percent – low, and 25 percent – moderate. The units will be between one and three bedrooms. The vote for the exchange was unanimous.

Congressman Mike Thompson continues his series of virtual meetings on coronavirus. This Friday the meeting’s topic on relief for small businesses. It’s around lunchtime, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will be on Zoom and stream live on the Congressman’s Facebook page. His office is inviting all constituents in the 5th District to take part. It’s the 2nd webinar Thompson has held since the 2nd stimulus package was approved.

MacGruder Ranch is providing beef to those dealing with food insecurity in Mendocino County. The ranch in Potter Valley raises organic beef, lamb and pork. MendoLake Food Hub had been in touch with the ranch with grant money so they could buy ground beef for the senior center in Fort Bragg. There was also a match from MacGruder with what the Food Hub had in grant money for a donation of 75 pounds of for a total of 150 pounds. Plus the Daily Journal reports the ranch also donated another $500 to the Food Bank in Ukiah. The ranch has been providing meet to the Ukiah Natural Foods Co-op and Harvest Market in Fort Bragg, butcher shops and restaurants here locally and in the Bay Area.

The Community Foundation in Mendocino County has grant money for nonprofits dealing with the ongoing impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Grants of up to $100,000, depending on various criteria, are available. They are taking into consideration the nonprofits can prove they have less funding, and more demand for their services due to the pandemic; have a plan to reopen, following public health guidance; are of benefit to the general public or a broad sub-population; have the energy and organizational capacity to adapt and continue to have a sustainable, longterm influence in the community. The deadline to apply is Jan. 15.

The Ukiah Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan is in the midst of being reworked. Walk & Bike Mendocino, a partnership of North Coast Opportunities, and the City of Ukiah are working on the update and welcome community input. The plan helps the city work on bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, like where to have bike routes and lanes, crosswalks and close sidewalk gaps. The last plan was 5 and a half years ago. They hope to wrap up the update by this Spring.  

For those interested in participating with this advisory group, please respond by calling Walk & Bike Mendocino at (707) 467-3217 or email walkbike@ncoinc.org.  

The next tier of vaccine recipients teeing up in Lake County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says the next group are those over 75 and educators. The county has reportedly offered the vaccine to the first tier of healthcare workers, emergency responders and residents and staff of long-term care facilities. But the slow rollout of the vaccine across the country means we may not see everyone in Lake County vaccinated until the end of 2022. Pace says about 25,000-30,000 people in the county want the vaccine, but the county was only getting 300-400 doses a week through the health department.

The homeless shelter in Fort Bragg may continue in its current space.  Trinity Lutheran Church offered its space for a shelter towards the latter part of last year. The city took the church up on that, so they started to offer shelter to those without on New Year’s Day. They say there have been about eight guests/night. The church has offered to run the shelter thru mid-February, giving the city some time to find a new location after that, but now Trinity says they might be able to continue for another month, so the city would just need to get a space for the last 2 weeks of March. Mendo Voice reports last year the shelter continued beyond March. Hospitality Center puts the shelter together each year, an overflow situation from the year round Hospitality House facility. The Mayor telling the council Monday he had visited the church and the Pastor said they might be able to go thru March 15th. So there will be a meeting on the matter next Tuesday.

As the county announced there were several hundred doses of the coronavirus vaccine and six clinics this week, there has been confusion about who goes next. The county announced first and second doses, the seconds for those in the first tier who got their shots in December. There are still many more folks in the first tier of 1a and 1b who get to get their shots. Since the county announced the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds would be the site in Ukiah, there was a big line-up of folks there to get the shot this morning. In misty, cold weather, some in the over 75 group showed up, saying they had received a call from either their doctor’s office or the county Public Health Office. I called the Public Health Office and was told they were making calls to residents over 75 and telling them they could get the first shot at the Fairgrounds on a first come, first serve basis. One of our team members showed up after getting one of the calls, only to turn away after seeing hundreds lined up in the rain.

A couple of men accused of pulling a weapon at Big River beach along the coast. The Calif. State Parks Chief says on Sunday a man pulled a single head ax on another man. Someone called and told a Fish and Wildlife Warden there had been in an argument with another man who had threatened him with a rifle. But upon investigating, they found it was an ax. The two men were separated, and the victim said they wouldn’t be pressing charges.

More doses of the coronavirus vaccine have reportedly arrived in Mendocino County. The county reports there will be several vaccination clinics held to distribute 1,400 first doses and 400 second doses of the Moderna vaccine. They have also received 300 first doses and 675 second doses of the Pfizer vaccine. So that means there will be six vaccination events this week. Members of the general public won’t be able to get vaccinations until late Spring or early Summer, but county staff will have more weekly clinics as more doses arrive. This week three vaccination clinics in Ukiah. Fire fighters, criminal justice personnel, law enforcement and crisis counselors, and 2nd doses for those who were already vaccinated. In-Home Supportive Service workers, food service workers and protective service workers, and more second Pfizer doses in the Ukiah Conference Center Thursday and Friday, back to the Fairgrounds for education and childcare providers and agricultural workers. Then on the coast in Fort Bragg there are two vaccination clinics for fire and EMS personnel Thursday and Friday.

The Dungeness Crab season has begun again in Bodega Bay. The fishing fleet dropped baited crab pots Sunday for the much delayed beginning of the harvest for Dungeness crab. Crabbers can start to haul pots out starting Wednesday. That’s about two months after the traditional Nov. 15th start to the season. The season was put off over a month as a protection for migrating whales in the fishing grounds. But commercial crabbers and wholesale buyers were then at loggerheads about how much to charge this season before they finally settled after two weeks of negotiations that ended last Friday.

Updated evacuation plans have been revealed to the Fort Bragg City Council. The City Manager with the presentation in the case of an emergency. The city manager also reminded anyone taking part in their last virtual meeting, the water and wastewater rate increase went into effect on New Year’s Day. The council discussed the winter shelter for which they approved more money for since there were no offers to hold the shelter due to the pandemic. That happened last month. Right now the shelter is at Trinity Lutheran Church, where they’re hosting about eight people every night. Next month a new location must be found. At another meeting Jan. 21st they should consider the next venue.

Teachers and other school employees will start getting the coronavirus vaccine in Calif. The first in Mariposa County. Up to 1.4 million teachers and other school staff are expected to get the vaccination, starting yesterday.  State officials were telling health care providers to get their staff members vaccinated so that the state could move to the next tier group which includes child care workers, elementary and secondary school personnel and community college, university and trade school staff members. The Governor reportedly wanted teachers up in the higher tiers who get access to the vaccine so that schools can reopen sooner, rather than later as part of his “Safe Schools for All” plan.

The former public health officer for the county has been acting as the deputy to Officer Andy Coren. The Board of Supervisors, except for one new member, has voted to keep Dr. Noemi Doohan on another year with Coren. But newly seated 2nd District Supervisor Maureen Mulheren voted against the $100,000 payment to keep Doohan on as Deputy Public Health Officer through the end of 2021. It had been noted previously that Doohan would not be needed this far into 2021. The county CEO says Doohan’s getting paid for 15 hours a week, but is actually putting in at least 30 hours a week. Supervisor Mulheren questioned the amount of money saying perhaps it’s better spent on one or two positions involved in vaccine distribution. But other supervisors said they believed Dr. Coren thought he still needed the support. So the contract was approved.

The Governor says he’s fine with the President being removed from office through impeachment or the 25th Amendment. During one of his press conferences, he was asked his thoughts on the subject and answered, “I’m all for it” then quickly changed the subject. He said though, that right now he’s focused on the pandemic and vaccinating as many residents as possible. At the same time the state Assembly has also passed a resolution calling for the President to resign or be removed. Independent Assemblyman Chad Mayes, a former Republican leader who switched parties last year, introduced the resolution saying reconciliation and healing can come after “accountability and repentance.” The vote was 51-6, all of the dissenting votes were Republicans.  

There’s no room at Hope Center, the new homeless facility in Lake County. Lake Co News reports Hope Rising’s executive director was at the Clearlake City Council meeting last week. She said the 20 bed center is full with 20 occupants and more on a waiting list. The center was built with $4.6 million in state and local grants. They’ve made major renovations to the old medical office and are just finishing up the kitchen because some needed items were on backorder. Of the people living at the Center, two people are from Kelseyville, two from Lakeport, one each from Lower Lake, Spring Valley and Middletown, two from Mendocino County, another who just came to Lake County from Washington and two apparently don’t have a city they consider home. They have had 3 people who were there already leave.

Lake County Supervisors considering a property swap for an affordable housing project. They’ll also discuss the controversial dissent against a water rate increase and hear from the county’s Public Health Officer on the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The meeting this morning online only due to the pandemic and an agreement to close the council chambers. Written comments are being accepted on the agenda. The county property swap regarding the Lakeport Armory which is excess state-owned property and county-owned, undeveloped property on 18th Avenue in Clearlake. The rate increase for Golden State Water District is being discussed along with sending a letter to the Public Utilities Commission opposing it.

The Bay Area has low ICU capacity in light of the surge of COVID19 cases across Calif. The Lake County Health Dept. reported there’s less than 10% ICU capacity, and both county hospitals are typically at capacity these days. As of yesterday Lake County was reporting 12 people in the hospital, 246 active cases and two more people had died since last week for a total of 27 deaths and nearly 2,200 confirmed cases of the virus.  As of Sunday the county had 35% ICU capacity. Dr. Gary Pace reports it’s important to lower the risk, by staying home as much as possible, go shopping early in the morning or late in the evening to lower your risk of contracting the virus, work at home if possible, and to avoid socializing with people outside your immediate household. He says if people would follow those guidelines, the surge would start to go down by the end of January.

The 1st and 2nd doses of the Pfizer Vaccine for 975 residents have arrived in Lake County. There are also 900 doses of the Moderna vaccine. And 500 more thru community healthcare partners. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace says they have no idea what the supply schedule but continue to set up clinics and outreach to healthcare providers. Residents 75 and older and some essential workers are eligible next week. Then teachers and school staff with in person students are going to be prioritized so more schools can open. Then childcare workers and essential workers in food and agriculture.

A new report says there has been a surge in suicides in Mendocino County since last spring. The Sheriff’s Office report says suicides were up since last May. 30 were reported between Jan. and Nov. but there were 19 during the same time period in 2019 and 17 in 2018. Sheriff Matthew Kendall says the pandemic has made people feel isolated. Redwood Community Services Crisis Response Services offers a 24/7 Crisis Hotline (855-838-0404). There’s also a so-called “Warm Line” through the county for support that’s not immediately critical (Monday-Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 707-472-2311 or Toll Free at 833-995-2510). Redwood is also offering a Question, Persuade, Refer Suicide Prevention virtual training to learn how to intervene the right way if someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or attempts… http://www.redwoodcommunityservices.org/training and on the Redwood Community Services Facebook page.

A new report says it was wildfire smoke which caused as much as half of all health-damaging small particle air pollution in the western U.S. The report by researchers at both Stanford and UC San Diego says air pollution was down from things like car exhaust and power plants, but there were so many fires, that attributed to health concerns. The report says wildfires due to climate change were a growing public health threat.  Wildfires, the researchers say, should be top of mind, as we don’t really see sea level rise, or hurricanes that much, but we do see wildfire smoke from climate change. Researchers looked at data from 2016-18, not even last summer, when Calif. at least, had some of the biggest fires we’ve ever seen. The August Complex for instance was the first one million acre, or giga fire we ever had.

Huge waves reported at the Noyo Harbor entrance. The Coast Guard’s station Chief Petty Officer reported waves up to 20 feet high, and called it a “bar closure”. That means no military or civilian vessels can pass thru the area. There were high tides with about 8.5 foot tidal change and a long period of swells. He also had a warning, don’t turn your back on the ocean, stay back away from beaches or bluffs and check the weather forecast. Anyone onboard a ship should check the weather, have access to life jackets, and have a marine VHF radio in case of emergencies. Kym Kemp is asking anyone who may have pictures of yesterday’s waves to share them. You can upload them onto the suite.

The Lake County Sheriff’s office reports several overdoses last week. Last Thursday several people took pills apparently sold to people as if it were the drug Ecstasy/MDMA. One person died after taking one of the pills, two people ended up in the hospital and another had to have two doses of Narcan to be revived. The Sheriff’s office reports seeing social media posts and pictures of the unknown looking pills, but said they were unable to verify if they were connected to the incident. They are investigating the pills in the pictures and any possible connection to the overdoses, plus the person who died will have an autopsy and they will have to wait several days for toxicology results. One of the calls from Upper Lake Thursday, the Narcan administered at the Big Valley Rancheria.

A couple of people in Covelo had to be medevacked to the hospital after possible dog bites. It was transmitted over the scanner, one woman lost a finger and a man had an abrasion on his arm, losing skin. The two were treated for shock and taken by air ambulance to the hospital. Covelo Fire and Cal Fire were reportedly involved in caring for the two on Saturday.

Two kids reported as absent from school leads to the arrest of their parents who were nowhere to be found… now arrested. Ukiah police say they got a call Friday night, just before 11 to check on the kids, 3 and 7 years old. They went to a home and found the kids alone. Parents Stephanie Phillips and Sean Finnegan in bed and could not be awakened. Police went inside, fearing a medical emergency and found the pair in bed, the dad, with a pipe in his hand. Cops found suspected heroin nearby along with multiple Xanax pills around the bedroom, where the kids could get them. The parents ended up getting arrested for leaving the kids unsupervised, and drug possession and other crimes. The mom was also on probation. The children were taken by child protective services and brought to other family members.  

Calif. continues to deal with a seemingly unstoppable surge of COVID19 cases. 695 deaths reported Saturday alone and 468 yesterday. Nearly 30,000 deaths so far from the pandemic. The cases have surged without a flattening of the curve since Halloween, then record hospitalizations around Thanksgiving time. Hospitals across the state are struggling and many are even over capacity. In Los Angeles, there’s talk of rationing care because there are barely an ICU beds available. The post-Christmas surge is upon us. On Thursday and Friday in Los Angeles County, there were almost 20,000 cases a day. The county’s Public Health chief science officer says hospitalizations and deaths will continue to stay high due to gatherings and travel over the holidays. Los Angeles County has around 40% of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

The Governor says he’s putting aside $15 billion in economic relief due to the pandemic. It’s part of a larger, $227 billion proposal that has to be approved by lawmakers. He also asked for $5 billion in “emergency funding” to tackle five areas, reopening schools, boost coronavirus vaccine spending, small business grants and fee waivers and $600 direct payments to around 4 million people. The money all from tax revenues the state got during the pandemic. Newsom says the state is continuing to be challenged. His office says they’re putting the most money ever into schools, $90 billion. The budget has been adjusted as there was an expectation of much higher losses due to the pandemic, but apparently the expected shortfall didn’t occur, so the state has more money to spend than anticipated.

No to a water rate increase in Clearlake. Last week the city council said it would oppose the 23% rate hike proposed by the Golden State Water Company over the next three years. The company is allowed to raise rates every three years. This proposal would mean nearly 15% more next year, then another 8% by the year 2024. The council has asked city staff to draft a letter for the California Public Utility Commission voicing their opposition. For their part the Golden State Water Company had a representative on the Zoom meeting and said the company hoped the council would have supported the rate increase. The Board Chair Bruno Sabatier called out the company and said the city’s poverty rate was 33% so the company instead should apply for grant funding for their needs.

Some school districts in Calif. being challenged by the needs to update ventilation systems in order to reopen to in person learning in the midst of the ongoing pandemic. The state Assembly has introduced a bill for money to be made available for schools to upgrade their HVAC systems. Teachers unions and state leaders are asking schools to find ways to improve indoor air quality with newer filtration systems or air purifiers, or completely replacing outdated heating, cooling and air ventilation (HVAC) systems. The Governor’s plan to reopen schools calls for testing, contact tracing, masks, and ventilation upgrades.

There could be up to 900 vaccine shots a week given in Mendocino County. At least that’s the hope from the county’s Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren. During his Friday media availability Coren said the vaccination plan was supposed to be slow to begin with, then ramp up. He says there will be a mass vaccination clinic up to 3 days/week. Nearly 300 were given their first dose on Thursday last week. He says the short term goal is 900 people/week, which will steadily increase number as more doses arrive. So far the county has received about 2,450 doses to date. The last shipment of 975 Pfizer doses were for the second shot. But the county was expecting more doses which will be updated on the public health department’s website as they arrive. Dr. Coren says the county has 31% ICU capacity at the moment. He also noted a recent outbreak at the Safeway in Willits and of course a major one at the Mendocino County Jail where 94 cases emerged.

A working group of experts on the vaccine has announced who will be next in line for the coronavirus vaccine as doctors across the state say they’ve been forgotten. But a new updated tiered based approach should have health providers getting vaccinated. People over 64 years old, teachers, childcare workers, food industry and agriculture workers and non-medical first responders are in the next group along with prisoners, the homeless and those in essential transportation, manufacturing and construction workers at risk of exposure. Then one last priority group, those over 49 years old, people ages 16 to 64 with chronic conditions or disabilities, and essential workers in the water, defense, energy communications, financial and government sectors.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says they’re aiming to vaccinate 900 residents a week. In his weekly address, the first since the holidays, Dr. Andrew Coren gave an overview of where we’re at with the pandemic. First off, we have had a couple of outbreaks recently. The jail, where there were nearly 100 cases of the virus in inmates and staff. Also 5 cases in a micro cluster at the Safeway in Willits and at Mayacama Industries. Coren says the daily case rate is around 32 individuals per 100,000 residents. And we’re gaining on 3,000 positive cases so far and 2914 and 31 deaths. 332 are in isolation and 13 people are in the hospital, including one in an ICU. 28 new cases were confirmed yesterday. The county has 31% available ICU beds. The trigger for economic lockdown is 15%. There is a new travel advisory across Calif, a warning not to go outside a 120 mile radius from your home and avoid travel to or from other states or countries.

Calif. had its deadliest weekend so far due to the pandemic. Cases continue skyrocketing, especially in Los Angeles County. There have now been over 30,000 deaths since the pandemic started last year. It took 6 months for the first 10,000 deaths, and less than a month to go from 20,000 to 30,000 deaths in Calif.  Calif. is ranked third for the most deaths, behind Texas and New York which has had about 40,000, most of which happened at the very beginning of the pandemic. Calif. officials reported a 2 day record of deaths this weekend, 1,163. There are also way more hospitalizations too.  Still health officials have a warning for Calif. residents, the worst is yet to come. The hotspots in the state are in 15 counties in Southern California and in the San Joaquin Valley. This is where many are listed as lower-income residents who could also be living in congregate situations or work at places where they must be in close contact with customers or other employees.

The amount of people dying from the virus in Sonoma County is skyrocketing again. The Press Democrat reports the first week of the new year brought over 20 more deaths from the pandemic. County health officials say ten of the 22 were reported yesterday, and 8 on Tuesday. But ten is the most the county has had in one day so far. The Sheriff’s office has a new refrigeration for as many as 56 bodies at one time if the morgue reaches its limit. Health experts say we’re still not into the travel and holiday portion of an expected surge in cases again. The county’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase says the rise in deaths and hospitalizations shows it remains widespread in the county and that it’s important to follow public health orders and personal safety rules, including masking, hand-washing and social distancing.

Two of the North Coast congressional members are speaking out about the President and his connection to the insurrection at the US Capitol on Wednesday. Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson say the President needs to be removed from office. First House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced they were trying to convince the Vice President to invoke the 25th amendment. But Thompson and Huffman say they will support articles of impeachment which were widely being circulated yesterday online and in the halls of Congress.  House speaker Pelosi blamed Mr. Trump for inciting an armed insurrection against America after his supporters descended on the Capitol wreaking havoc. 5 people died.

A small airplane had to make an abrupt landing near Lake Sonoma that sent out a search party. Nobody was injured in the impromptu landing yesterday in northwestern Sonoma County. The CHP got a report of a downed plane around 4-30 near Dry Creek Road and Stewarts Point Skaggs Springs Road, northwest of Healdsburg. That triggered Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputies, a CHP helicopter and firefighters from Cloverdale, Dry Creek Rancheria and Northern Sonoma County to report to the area. The plane was found on a sandbar. The Northern Sonoma County Fire Chief said thankfully the water was low so the area was flat enough for the pilot, who was alone on the plane, to land. The pilot had left and walked to a nearby home and the plane was not damaged.

No in person driving tests are being allowed right now by the DMV due to the pandemic. The Department of Motor Vehicles announced all in person tests are postponed until at least Feb. 1st due to the continued rise in COVID-19 cases. So anyone with an appointment will be notified their appointment is being rescheduled. It includes commercial and noncommercial licenses, but because motorcycle tests can still be done at a distance, they will continue. Those who have to wait and have expired licenses or permits will get an automatic extension for six more months of expiration, or 24 months from the date of an application, whichever comes first. Commercial driver licenses are only extended until the end of Feb.

New coronavirus vaccine recommendations have been sent out to local public health departments and healthcare providers. The recommendations show the new tiered groupings of who should get the vaccine by priority. But health departments and providers can also offer shots to lower priority groups after the high-priority demand lessens or doses may expire. As of yesterday there had been over 586,000 doses administered and over 2 million doses sent out to local health departments. Those include first and second doses.  The Governor announced too that continued safety measures are needed to get through the current surge, which includes distributing the vaccine in an equitable way. The Governor says the goal is to administer a million vaccinations over the next 10 days.

50 more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Mendocino County. The county’s public health department also announced free testing in Willits this morning from 8:30-10:30 at the Willits Senior Center. Also this afternoon in Covelo. Check the Public Health Dept. Facebook page for more info.

State Sen. Mike McGuire has put forth a bill for local small businesses struggling due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The bill would roll back a Trump administration tax for limited liability companies and partnerships and “S” corporations. It would give these companies the option to pay the yearly tax based on net income for the prior year, which McGuire says would give money back to the companies dealing with the ongoing crisis. McGuire blames the Trump administration for instituting the tax in certain states which hurt middle-class families and small businesses across Calif. The bill would roll back the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act signed into law in 2018. His bill will allow a deduction of state and local taxes from federal taxes.

A lawmaker from San Francisco says he’s drafted a bill to make it easier for the elderly or those with disabilities to apply for food stamps, known in Calif. as CalFresh. They could potentially do the whole process on the phone, if his bill passes. He announced the bill this week, noting the state’s food insecurity crisis is worse than ever. Sen. Scott Wiener’s bill would streamline the process which includes lots of long questions, putting forth evidence of need and then having an interview. Right now less than half of the counties in the state allow the phone in process.  Over 4 million people are reportedly enrolled in Cal Fresh currently.

The workload of nurses in Calif has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Nurses were only allowed to have a certain amount of patients at one time, but that’s out the window due to the amount of cases the state’s dealing with. Before this the state was the only one in the country required by law to have a specific nurse to patient ratio, one nurse to two patients in ICU and one for four in emergency rooms. The Gov. and state Department of Public Health are handing out temporary waivers though due to a lack of staffing at some hospitals. It happened in the spring too for 90 says, the latest for 60 days at at least 250 of the state’s 400 hospitals.

Those who have to have debris taken from their homes after the summer’s wildfires, there’s a free program. The state’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program is free, but property owners need to opt in to it and fill out some paperwork to allow workers onto their property. The program put on by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, CalRecycle, and local governments.  Those with fire damage or destruction or if they have trees that could fall onto public roads or buildings from last summer’s fires have until the beginning of February to sign up for the free program. It includes removal of hazardous household materials and contaminated debris.

California officials are telling people they should stay home and not leave for non-essential travel outside an area within 120 miles from home. They’ve instituted a quarantine too, anyone coming or going needs to self-quarantine for a week and a half. California is considered the hottest spot in the country. But all of the recommendations are not mandatory and local officials can have stricter rules if warranted.

The Governor of California has a new school reopening plan, but superintendents of seven of the state’s biggest school districts don’t like it. A letter sent to Gov. Gavin Newsom says the plan doesn’t help low income communities of color or promote a way to slow the spread of the virus. The Governor announced spending $450/student for in-person learning which the superintendents say they fear would help wealthier communities and punish poorer ones. The “Safe Schools for All” plan was announced last month. It looks to spend $2 billion on schools to reopen next month as the virus continues spreading like wildfire across the state.

A shooting reported in Ukiah. Mendo Fever reports hearing the report on the scanner last night around 9:21 p.m. It happened at the Sunrise Inn on South State Street. Someone reportedly shot out a window then ran off. They have identified the suspected shooter as Phillip Lopez who was described as a Latino man, 5′ 9”, 180 lbs. with tattoos on his face wearing a black hoodie and blue jeans. Later in the night police put out a “be on the lookout” for Phillip Ronnie Lopez Junior, who they say is “armed and dangerous.” They say he was suspected of shooting into an occupied vehicle and is believed to have been connected to a Black Cadillac CTS sedan.

Three North Coast members of Congress have spoken publicly about their experience during the insurrection at the US Capitol. Congressman Jared Huffman of San Rafael, Congressman Mike Thompson of St. Helena, and Congressman John Garamendi of Walnut Grove. Garamendi says yesterday will go down as the saddest day in American History. Huffman says he couldn’t have imagined anything like this. Thompson’s building was the first to be evacuated, the Cannon Building. He says there had been anxiety about the day, because they were counting the electoral college votes and certifying Biden and Harris’ wins. He says President Trump encouraged his rally goers, earlier in the day, to be violent. Supporters stormed the capitol, broke inside and went onto the floor of the house, senate and rampaged thru offices before eventually being forced out by police. Huffman called it sedition.

The Gov. canceled a planned press conference on the pandemic because of the goings on at the capitol. The Governor’s office said it was out of “an abundance of caution” after pro-Trump protesters had also gathered outside the state Capitol. At the same time there were violent rioters at the US Capitol, there to overturn the presidential election results, the Vice President was presiding over. Members of Congress had to either evacuate, shelter in place and some had on gas masks. Gov. Newsom said it was an assault to democracy and Democratic institutions and called on President Trump to “move immediately to a peaceful transition of power.”

Hundreds of thousands of unemployment claims are on hold as the state’s grappling with massive fraud in the coronavirus unemployment relief program. They first said they were going to freeze high risk claims, but yesterday the state Employment Development Department said they were looking over existing claims from those who said they were without a job due to the pandemic. The state also claims the unemployment dept. found as many as 3.5 million potentially fraudulent claims. Almost 2 million were already disqualified with payments held back for the 1.4 million they are still trying to verify.

The Governor says he wants to add onto the federal stimulus some Californians just received for $600 with another $600. The Gov. Gavin Newsom announced the proposal yesterday for people who make less than $30,000 a year, including people living in the US illegally who file taxes with the state. That means about 4 million people could be eligible at a cost to the state of $2.4 billion. He says he’s also going to the Legislature to get permission to extend a moratorium on evictions as well. The budget usually passes in the summertime, but the Governor will ask lawmakers to do it sooner to get more relief to Californians suffering because of the pandemic.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors is closing its chambers due to the amount of positive coronavirus cases. The board meetings will continue to be Zoom’d to the public. 2 members voted against the idea, newly minted Board Chair Bruno Sabatier and Supervisor Tina Scott. The idea brought up by former Board Chair, Supervisor Moke Simon as the county continues to grapple with cases and deaths. He said they could take up the matter each week. But Sabatier said he was comfortable coming to the courthouse, which is also currently closed to the public, and the board chambers, saying anything we do, comes with risk. The board also approved new COVID-19 Worksite Protocols, an extension of something passed back in May and gets a review every month.

Some state lawmakers commenting on the uprising at the US Capitol. State Senator Mike McGuire said it was a terrorist act that was stoked by the President, adding that “all Americans should be horrified and angered by these seditious acts”. State Sen. Bill Dodd said the chaos was an “unprecedented attack on American values, our representatives and our fair election process”. The Governor canceled a coronavirus press conference because protestors gathered at the state Capitol. He said after, “we are concerned for the safety of California’s congressional delegation and U.S. Capitol staff, and are reaching out to offer support in every way possible” then called on the president to end the situation and acknowledge the will of the people and for a peaceful transfer of power. The insurgency into the Capitol and on the House and Senate floors yesterday during the counting of the electoral college votes and finally certification early this morning.

An update on the pandemic for Lakeport. The City Council heard from city staff and directed them to continue their efforts to educate and enforce restrictions. The council talked about current response efforts, something the city manager said they were constantly reviewing and making changes to. As of yesterday, the county had over 2,000 positive cases since the beginning of the pandemic, including 25 deaths. The city working with the county’s public health office regarding restrictions, testing and other protocols. The city manager told the council he’s hopeful about the vaccine as there is an unprecedented surge in new cases.

Business owners trying to get onto the state’s portal to apply for one of the many grants for those affected by the pandemic say it’s a nightmare. The website for businesses to navigate requires several documents to be uploaded but apparently there have been technical issues. So the state’s lending partner had to extend the deadline 5 days so those having problems could get thru the site which had a lot of traffic, thousands of applicants. And some applicants couldn’t make their way thru the site due to the amount of visitors at one time. The grant program in November distributing money from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on the business’s size.

No more delivery drivers for one Grocery Store company who says instead they’re going to utilize third party companies. Albertsons, the owner of Safeway, Vons and other stores is going to use Door Dash starting next month. A representative of the company says it will help them grow home delivery. They say they’re working to help the employees affected by the move, those who stay thru the transition will earn bonuses. The president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International union says it’s an exploitation of Prop. 22 which permits side hustle companies like Door Dash and Uber to classify drivers and others as independent contractors so they don’t get full-time employee benefits.