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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

The owner of the Ukiah Valley Athletic Club says people are yearning to get back into the gym. Just days after a ripoff of some of their equipment, the owner tells the Daily Journal people say they need to get inside to exercise to relieve emotional stress, and of course to stay in shape. The club has been upgraded since the family bought it a few years ago. Now they have beefed up their cleaning protocols and expanded their cleaning staff. They also put in air purifiers to run during fire season. They’ve been closed since March 19th. They’ve also done a bunch of upgrades during the closure which they thought would only be two weeks long. That includes new flooring in some areas, new landscaping, resurfacing the hot tub, draining and refilling pools and replacing the siding on the building and putting up new signage. They’ve reopened this past week just for the pool, the gym and locker rooms remain closed. They say they hope to reopen on Monday.

The Lakeport Speedway’s approved for car races. They will start in a week, but the grandstands will be closed to spectators. They have their twilight shows planned to start at 4 p.m. next weekend and the one after.  There will be a limit on race teams for only of 6 people, 5 and the race car driver. Those who participate have to sign a release already, and now an additional COVID19 waiver/release. All teams have to pit 10 feet apart and follow 6 feet Social Distancing.

Officials in Mendocino County say the Covid-19 testing site at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds is being underutilized. The Daily Journal reports a spokesperson for the OptumServe testing site has only been at 75%. The County has to have it utilized more in order to meet certain benchmarks for reopening fully. Yesterday, state Assemblyman Jim Wood tweeted the “Ukiah testing site is underutilized. We could lose it.” He says the city’s not taking full advantage and could lose it if that continues. The testing site hasn’t said how many more tests they need to comply. Appointments were booked solid when it first opened, but then as of yesterday, they still had same day testing available. The process is ten minutes, from entering, to testing and leaving. The city manager is also urging residents to get tested, and he suggested not to go just once, but every two weeks, especially for those in frequent contact with the public.

The name of a driver who rammed a cement truck near Willits has been released. The CHP says 32 year old Brenton Michels of Kennewick, WA was in that 1999 Honda Civic headed south on the 101 Tuesday then drove into oncoming traffic on the Willits Bypass and hit the front end of a Peterbilt cement truck. The Honda went onto the other side of the highway, the cement truck rolled and hit a Subaru Legacy as it came apart from its cab, it also spilled some of its load of concrete on the roadway. The driver of the Honda, cement truck and passenger in one of the cars ended up with injuries. Michels, had major injuries and had to be airlifted to Santa Rosa, then to Sacramento, for treatment. Plus he was arrested on suspicion of DUI. The cement truck driver, Wyatt Phillips of Ukiah had moderate injuries and the Subaru passenger, from Covelo also had moderate injuries.

A resolution to call for the municipal election to be held this fall in Clearlake. At that time all of the three council seats will be decided. The City Clerk says Phil Harris, Joyce Overton and Russell Perdock’s seats will then be decided. The filing period for the papers to be filed and the candidates’ statement deadlines are July 13 through Aug. 7. If any of the councilmembers decide not to run again, then the filing period for candidates is automatically extended through Aug. 12.

In Lakeport the city has settled on a new budget. The budget, the finance director says, was slightly interrupted by the pandemic. The process normally starts in March, but since meetings went virtual and some weren’t held, they had to do a lot of their work at the end of last month. The city manager says the beginning of the year looked promising, then coronavirus happened. She says the sheltering in place by the community was helpful, and the health crisis could have been worse, but even still, it did damage to the economy, with total losses not yet known. The city is expected to spend about $5.7 million for personnel, $6 million for operations, $1.9 million for debt service and $4.7 million in capital improvement projects. They currently have a surplus, but that could change.

Further into Phase 3 for Lake County. The Public Health Office has announced dining in at local restaurants is a go. Dr. Gary Pace says they’re grateful for residents taking precautions which slowed the spread of the virus. The businesses that reopen have to follow certain protocols of course, including social distancing and business certification which can be done online. As the state releases new guidance, further sectors may reopen.

Good news in Sonoma County after some recent cluster outbreaks the County is moving swiftly into Phase 3 with restaurants, hair salons and barbershops and more reopening. There’s no limit on the amount of people that can go to a restaurant, as long as social distancing is adhered to. Mall shopping is allowed, outdoor pools are opening too.17 more people were confirmed to have the virus as the Public Health Officer made the announcement.  The new Public Health Order goes into effect tomorrow after a two week pause because of those outbreaks and to slow the spread. Also reopening,  wineries and brewpubs, in-person church services and many outdoor recreational activities, including being able to rent kayaks and paddleboards.

Clarification on fees if you want to grow cannabis. The Lake County Board of Supervisors all agreed on a clarification of the cannabis tax collecting policy. The tax in Lake County is a buck a square foot for outdoor grows, two bucks per square foot for mixed-light cultivation, and $3.00 per square foot for indoor cultivation per Measure C, also known as the Cannabis Cultivation Tax Ordinance, for unincorporated areas of the County. Last year supervisors came to an agreement on how to collect taxes, then this week they clarified Measure C. The taxes to be collected on a calendar year model, no matter when the operations for the cultivator began. They would be charged for the whole calendar year. Growers can opt out for this calendar year, 2020, that has to happen now and up to June 15th because of the pandemic.

Six people have been arrested for illegally growing marijuana in Covelo. The Sheriff’s Office went to serve a couple of search warrants Wednesday at two locations, one in a remote area of vacant Tribal Land, finding several plastic green houses with growing marijuana inside. Deputies took more than 1,500 plants and found and took a loaded .22 caliber rifle. At the second location, the Sheriff’s Office reports finding four Hispanic men in a car and held them in connection to the illegal grow. Then they found two other Hispanic men and held them. Four others got away. In all there were fourteen green houses filled with marijuana. All of the weed was also watered by an unlawful water diversion from a nearby creek.  Deputies found more than 3,140 plants, a loaded AR-15 rifle, two loaded handguns and several high capacity magazines.  So all of the six men were arrested on several felony charges of conspiracy and illegal cultivation of marijuana. The DA could also charge them with illegal weapons and illegal water diversion.

5 new positive tests in Mendocino County from Optum Serve testing this week. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer reported on the latest on COVID-19 today. She says the five who tested positive at Optum were told directly about their results, but the County did not find out for another day. But they were in quarantine, so Dr. Doohan did not have concern. She also says Optum Serve is very important to have and wants everyone, even people who are visiting the County to go get tested there. This is to meet the requirements of having the Optum Serve site in the County. There are 33 cases, and one in the hospital. Dr. Doohan is moving the County into Phase 3 but says she’s waiting on further guidance from the state. She says the changes are coming June 12th, but will share it with the Board of Supervisors Tuesday. She says it should include some lodging, campsites, gym openings, wineries, family entertainment centers, and areas having to do with summer camp and schools. But Doohan says not tourism, which is too dangerous for the County.

A big homeless camp in Ukiah is being torn down north of the airport. The City is cleaning up the area along Hastings Avenue and posting notices for those living there that they have to clear out by Monday, June 8th. The Deputy City Manager told the City Council they posted “preliminary notices” regarding the upcoming clean-up in the airport’s Runway Safety Zone. The area has to be cleared out for safety reasons and because there is a paving project underway. Apparently there was a holdup with the County due to the pandemic and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention saying homeless encampments should not be broken up, but the County ultimately siding with the City to support the decision to break up the encampment.

The former Mayor of Ukiah and current City Council member Maureen Mulheren trying to get more donations for the Ukiah Food Bank. The Daily Journal reports Mulheren is using her birthday, which is tomorrow, to get more community contributions. She says she sent a citywide email out and posted in the Neighbors Helping Neighbors Facebook group, noting several area nonprofits that could use support. Mulheren says North American Organics donated $500 to shop for the Ukiah Food Bank. She says she had been planning a street party for her birthday and a fundraiser for the Caring Kitchen Project, but that all changed due to the pandemic.

The Willits City Council discussing how the City will reopen businesses and how to deal with people who violate public health orders. The meeting held over the telephone May 27th to discuss a possible Urgency Ordinance that would include penalties for violations. But the Council ultimately decided to table the idea after a couple of members said they didn’t understand how it could be enforced and didn’t like the way it was written. The mayor said they should reconsider and bring it back in the future. Some agreeing there should be some consequences. Also, the city manager says the city was trying to get information out as quickly as possible, but that they didn’t have the time or money to translate everything happening with the pandemic into Spanish.

For the second week in a row a fire’s started at the large Gibson Creek tunnel under South Orchard Avenue. The Daily Journal reports the area’s frequently used as a temporary shelter. Yesterday, the second Wednesday in a row, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Ukiah Police Department were in the area after at least two callers reported seeing smoke billowing out of a creek bed. Police are looking into the fires as arson and someone was being counseled against smoking cigars in the creek.

The Sonoma County Health Officer is speaking out about the protests and how they could wreck the work done to slow the spread of coronavirus. Dr. Sundari Mase is reminding those protesting after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis that coronavirus is still active in the community and to be careful, wear a mask and be sure to physically distance themselves as much as possible. She warned those at higher risk of contracting the virus not to go to places where you cannot protect yourself. Mase did not say if anyone has contracted the virus at any of the protests over the last couple of days. 

Even though the general election is months away, the Gov. has announced several hundred polling places will be added across the state for in person voting. Gov. Gavin Newsom says they’re committed to protecting Californians during the continuing pandemic, but also says he recognizes some citizens want, or need, to vote in person. He had said in the past that every person in the state would get a mail-in or absentee ballot, but national Republicans had criticized the move calling it abuse. The President also weighed in and has repeatedly said there’s widespread cheating with mail in voting. Even still the Gov. was criticized for his recent decision by a Republican Assemblymember in Rocklin who says it’s unlawful and another reason to take away Newsom’s broad emergency powers during the virus outbreak.

The Lake County Public Health Officer not committing to moving deeper into Phase 3 of the Governor’s 4 phase plan. The Record Bee reports the State Public Health Officer told local public health officials that there’s a two step process for phase 3, if the County has been approved for a variance, which Lake County has.  So it’s up to the County to reopen certain sectors if they’ve been given guidance from the state and the local health officer gives their approval. Dr. Pace says as he receives more guidance from the State, then he’ll decide what comes next, and that Lake County has to be stable enough for further relaxation. He says the state had been looking at reopening gyms and fitness centers but there’s been no guidance on that. They’re closed along with bars and nightclubs, entertainment venues, large public events and gatherings, convention centers and nail salons. Non-essential travel is also prohibited.

A protest to honor the life of George Floyd who died while being held by Minneapolis police has been held in Middletown. Several community members out yesterday downtown for a peaceful protest. Reports of about 150 people showing up for the Black Lives Matter gathering which was organized by 3 Middletown High School graduates. Protesters lined the sides of Highway 29 and chanted, then towards the end, they kneeled in silence for nearly nine minutes. That’s the amount of time Floyd was reported to be under the knee of a police officer who’s been charged with second degree murder. Several county officials, including the Sheriff Matt Kendall and Board Chair Moke Simon.

Congressman Mike Thompson’s holding an online forum regarding the protests across the Country. The town hall today at 4:30 with fellow Calif. Congressional member Rep. Barbara Lee of Alameda County. The discussion on racism and injustices in America. They are expected to discuss possible congressional action, including legislation Rep. Lee is introducing for a United States Commission on Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation.  To join you have to get in touch with Thompson’s office and ask to be added to the Zoom conference, which has a limit of 500 participants. Those confirmed will get an email with instructions.

A possible bond measure for California in November to bring broadband infrastructure to rural California. During the pandemic, it’s shed a light on how many families are without, even a hotspot, to log onto the internet. Chromebooks and iPads were given out to students across the state after leaders went direct to companies for free service for students for long distance learning. But some kids couldn’t even take class because they couldn’t log on. So Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi of Torrance is sponsoring the California Broadband Infrastructure and Distance Learning Bond Act. It looks to bring in between $3 billion to $4 billion and construction of fiber cables and other necessary infrastructure in remote parts of the state. It could also pay for computers and professional training for teachers on how to effectively use technology for instruction.

You are invited to all Ukiah Unified School District 2020 Graduation and Promotion Celebrations, which will be held virtually over the next several days! Please join us in celebrating this monumental achievement that so many have worked so hard to achieve.

Watch the celebrations on Comcast Channel 3, or the UUSD Live YouTube Channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvrRjxT-CILBVvDMZQ2aw9Q

SCHEDULE

Pomolita Middle School – Thursday, June 4, 2020, 6:00 pm

Eagle Peak Middle School – Friday, June 5, 2020, 6:00 pm

Big Picture Ukiah – Thursday, June 11, 2020, 6:00 pm

UISA – Friday, June 12, 2020, 6:00 pm

Ukiah High School – Saturday, June 13, 2020, 6:00 pm

Billions in budget cuts for schools and healthcare are a nonstarter. Legislative leaders said no to the governor’s deep cuts to public schools and health care services because of the pandemic. The Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed ways to close the $54.3 billion dollar budget gap. The state had a surplus before coronavirus reared its ugly head. State revenues have gone way down since March when the Governor’s shelter in place order went into effect to slow the spread of the virus. And after that more than 5 million people filed for unemployment. The Governor has also been asking, along with the state legislature, for congress to shore up finances, with no luck. The latest state spending plan from the Governor would take billions from public schools and cut out health benefits for some unless the state gets money from the Fed by July 1st.

An urgency ordinance passed in May in Lake County so folks wear masks in county facilities has been rescinded. That’s because there’s now a Public Health Order in place so the Board of Supervisors found the Urgency Ordinance not needed any longer. There had been no requirement at all for face coverings in Lake County businesses, so as an additional protective measure, the board voted for the ordinance for County-owned facilities, especially because the Courthouse building in Lakeport gets a lot of foot traffic. The Public Health Order says all local businesses will require face coverings. It goes for workers and patrons. The Health Order does allow those with problems breathing to be excluded, but those persons have to maintain social distancing unless there’s a barrier between them and another person or they’re with a family or household member. There are now 11 active cases in Lake County and 30 cases total.

4 more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Lake County. The Public Health Officer reported 11 active cases, one person in the hospital, 1 in the Lake County Jail and 9 others are stable in home isolation. Dr. Gary Pace says they’ve seen clusters of infections but there’s not been widespread community transmission. He says there’s also been strong contact tracing with each new positive test. He says there may be more cases due to how contagious it is and how it can spread in households quickly and more businesses are reopening along with the Lake. Dr. Pace says if you think you may have been exposed, immediately get tested. There are free drive thru testing sites in Lake County.

AgVenture is canceled this summer. The event’s steering committee says it’s due to COVID-19 and thanked all of who have participated over the decade they’ve held the event which has graduated almost 120 professionals, elected officials and community leaders. The committee says the coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on how farming and food production are essential to our daily lives. And that farmers, ranchers, farmworkers, haulers, processors, suppliers and anyone else working in the Ag industry is an essential worker. AgVenture has educated many over the ten years on how important agriculture is to Lake County’s economy.

4 people recovering after a crash between two cars and a cement truck on the 101 in Willits. The CHP reports a Honda Civic going 65 MPH, followed by a Subaru Legacy also at that speed when the Peterbilt truck was headed in the other direction. The Honda drifted over in front of the cement truck, spun over to the side of the highway, then the cement truck rolled and blocked traffic. The Subaru was hit by part of the truck which had separated from its cab on impact. The driver of the Honda had major injuries and was arrested for DUI, the other two drivers and the Honda passenger all went to the hospital too. No word on their conditions.

The rest of Lake Mendocino will be open for visitors. Parts of the area had already opened, but no campgrounds and boat ramps. The South Boat Ramp, the Dam Parking Lot, the North Boat Ramp, day use areas Pomo A, and Pomo B, Shakota trailhead: accessible from both Pomo A and B; the Overlook and Joe Reilly are only open for walk-in and bike-in traffic. There are some restrooms open too and single use picnic tables, but those are being discouraged for use. Some of the areas will remained closed for the summer, Oak Grove, Pomo C, Kyen Campground, playgrounds, and group picnic areas. There are also safety precautions in place all around. A warning with the opening, that if it starts to get too crowded, it could be closed down again.

A little closer to permanent protection for Mill Bend. The Redwood Coast Land Conservancy has announced they’ve been awarded over $2 million in grants to protect 113 acres of coastal wetlands and some surrounding hills in the Gualala River Estuary. Money came thru the US Fish & Wildlife Service, which is part of the Dept. of Interior, the California Natural Resources Agency, and the California State Coastal Conservancy. The last bit of the project is now to raise the last $205,000 for continued stewardship of Mill Bend so it’s protected as a park and conservatory.

Woodland Community College is planning to reopen all three of its campuses for in person classes. The College President says they’re working closely with state and county health officers, and district leaders. He says it’s important for them to be equitable and accessible, especially to low-income and students of color who may not have access to technology and money to succeed. They will however have online classes this summer at their Woodland and Lake campuses. And three classes will be in person at their Colusa County Campus. The school’s currently working with instructors to make adjustments so students still get a great educational experience online. They’re enrolling in person, with minimal staffing for the fall.

A judge in California’s Second Appellate District has been removed from the bench after sexual misconduct charges against him. The Commission on Judicial Performance reports Justice Jeffrey Johnson will no longer serve after multiple complaints of misconduct. The final decision is confirmed within 30 days, subject to discretionary review by the California Supreme Court. The commission says Justice Johnson touched four women without their consent and engaged in sexual harassment against seven others. He’s further accused of trying to develop personal relationships with three other women. He’s also accused of being at work drunk, and making disparaging remarks about colleagues.

The Commonwealth Garden (CG) across from Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital is giving away plant starts. They plant on their five-acre site that has a greenhouse, orchard, bee boxes and organic produce each June. The garden is run by the hospital’s foundation. Their plant giveaway started about a month ago with plant starts going to more than 150 households, but they still have more. They ask because of the pandemic and the need for social distancing, to call first to schedule a pickup. They’re free but say donations are welcome to help defray the cost of water, soil and seeds.  Call (707) 459-2777 to volunteer and get more information about the CG.

Since Mendocino County is generally following Sonoma County, we thought we’d update you on what’s happening there. Sonoma County slowed the phase 2 reopening because of a spike in cases. While some restaurants opened around Memorial Day, churches, barber shops and hair salons did not. The Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase now says she will allow a larger piece of the economy to open by Saturday. That will include indoor dining at restaurants, wineries and brewpubs, in-store shopping at malls, and haircuts at barbershops and hair salons. She will also allow places of worship to welcome congregants, but only 100 at a time. Dr. Mase says the outbreak is stable, and if it holds the rest of the week, most services closed in her original stay-home order went from March 18th could reopen again.

After some blow back from the public the Sonoma County Sheriff showed up at the latest Board of Supervisors meeting. Sheriff Mark Essick made headlines last week saying he would not abide by the Public Health Order which held at the first part of phase 2 while surrounding counties opened. Essick saying it wasn’t in alignment with the state, but the Board of Supervisors stood by the Public Health Officer who got strict after a few outbreak clusters in the County. Essick at the Board of Supervisors meeting last night, the Press Democrat reports, to make peace. Of course it was a virtual meeting due to the pandemic. But he acknowledged he made a mistake and said he was optimistic there was a clear path forward, agreeable to all, and in the best interest of Sonoma County.

You may see some smoke billowing in the air around the airport as the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports they will be conducting a training exercise. The burn tomorrow night at 6 pm at the south end of the airport.

Two men from Ukiah have been arrested for a ripoff at Ukiah Valley Athletic Club. The Sheriff’s office reports two people went into the gym and lifted a large industrial pool heater and a large roll of industrial rubber flooring. Both of the items together had a combined value of $3,700.00. The gym’s surveillance video caught the theft and posted the video on their social media platforms. Then deputies got an anonymous tip about a familiar car to the incident parked in Talmage. Deputies went to the area and found two men, with evidence from the gym and various other businesses. Jesus Malfavon-Sandoval and Luis Magana-Alvarez were arrested on several charges, Grand Theft and Conspiracy, but released after booking because of the COVID-19 emergency order by the Judicial Council. Their bail was set at zero dollars.

A man from Covelo has been sent to prison for being in possession of ammunition . The DA reports 33 year old Luis John Oliver was sentenced last Thursday to 51 months in prison. He was indicted by a federal grand jury in February and convicted of being a convicted felon in unlawful possession of ammunition and a few weeks later also indicted by the same grand jury of being a convicted felon in unlawful possession of both a firearm and ammunition. The DA says after his prison time he’ll get 36 months of supervised release.

The Sonoma County Sheriff reversing position and says, yes he will enforce the stay home order. Last week Sheriff Mark Essick said he would not be enforcing the Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase’s stay home order as it wasn’t in alignment with the state. But there had been a recent spike in cases of Covid-19 leading Dr. Mase to hold off on moving deeper into Phase 2 of the Governor’s 4 phase reopening plan. But yesterday Essick agreed that his deputies would indeed enforce the order until June 8th, next Monday. But with the caveat that county officials are working to be in alignment with the state. He says he’s confident moving forward it will be a risk based approach, not essential non-essential, which will better align Sonoma County with the state guidelines.

Several new cases of coronavirus reported in Lake County. The Lake County Public Health Officer reported after Clear Lake was reopened to the public, there’s been an increase in cases. 5 new cases reported over the weekend for a total of 26 cases. Last week there were 23 cases, but Dr. Gary Pace says 2 active cases that had previously been reported in the County went to their home County so Lake County essentially lost two cases. Dr. Pace says it’s not surprising there was a spike in cases with more social activity and businesses reopening. There are 14 active cases and one person in the hospital. All of the five new cases are stable and four isolating at home. One is a Lake County jail inmate. He says most of the new cases look to be clearly connected a previously known case. And others have contracted the virus outside the county. He says he won’t release any more information, but until the County reaches 50 cases, he won’t release any demographic information.

A positive case of coronavirus has been confirmed at the Lake County Jail. The Sheriff’s office says after the rest result came back positive, all inmates and staff who had direct contact with them and were willing, were tested. The inmate and all others who had direct contact with them are in isolation. The Sheriff’s Office reported they’ve had enhanced safety measures in place to slow the spread of the virus for more than 2 and half months. There’s been modified visitation, suspension of jail programs, enhanced medical screening at booking, face mask wearing by staff and inmates, designated bed spaces for isolation and quarantine, and comprehensive regular cleaning and disinfecting. The Sheriff’s office says they’re working with a medical provider and Public Health to remove any affected inmates out of medical isolation per CDC recommendations based on “symptom based strategy:”

After several more cases of coronavirus were confirmed in Mendocino County, there was concern one might be a false positive test. The Mendocino Public Health Officer said she was leaving it up to the State to confirm. The California Department of Public Health had notified the Public Health Office there was a positive case in the North Coast region of someone who had been asymptomatic and another asymptomatic case in the Ukiah Valley region soon after being exposed. Both were tested on Abbot equipment, both went to hospitals and came out with negative tests after. The Public Health office says asymptomatic people should not be tested on this equipment after the two false positives. So that meant, the County had less cases overall. But yesterday the Public Health Officer confirmed two more cases, so it stays at 30 confirmed cases overall. There are 17 recovered, 1 hospitalized, and 12 at home in isolation.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office has released a statement about the use of force after all of the protests across the country. Sheriff Matt Kendall’s statement thanking all who reached out then said they are working on training in various fields, including use of force. He says before Sheriff Allman retired, he got the department a use of force simulator they will use for more in-depth training. Kendall says they’re working with other law enforcement chiefs to ensure all peace officers in the county get the training. There’s also a Calif. law requiring all law enforcement agencies  their “current standards, policies, practices, operating procedures, and education and training materials” on their websites so the public can see it. The Sheriff has this on their website and available to the public if they request thru the California Public Records Act.

As colleges take a summer break, some health experts are calling for an earlier start to fall instruction due to coronavirus. Public universities plan to start on time this fall, but Bay Area News reports some infectious disease experts say it could be better to start early before another possible coronavirus wave. The Director of Public Health at UC San Francisco’s Institute for Global Health Sciences says it’s an intriguing idea, like hurricane preparedness. Many other schools across the country are already planning virtual classes or a mix of in person and virtual. Or they’re starting early and ending mid-November instead of around the holidays. An epidemiologist from UC Berkeley also says it’s a good idea, keeping students here during the holidays instead of going home, coming back, and possibly spreading the virus back to campus.

The 2020 Fort Bragg Firemen’s Ball has been canceled. What would have been the 101st year of the ball, is canceled because of coronavirus. The Fort Bragg Volunteer Fire Department voted to postpone until 2021 which they say was not an easy decision because they’ve always looked forward to mingling with the community at the event, their only large, yearly fundraising event. They are asking for any donations that would have come their way to support volunteers continue their mission, to instead go to local, struggling businesses, many of whom the department says has always shown them support.

A woman in Fort Bragg has been arrested after police got a call to Glass Beach for someone taking off their clothes and throwing rocks and sand at people walking by. Police say they got a call yesterday afternoon from State Park Rangers for the woman who was sitting in the tide pool area. State Park Rangers reported two people had been assaulted by the woman who they say seemed to be in mental distress. They talked her into leaving the shore and as they escorted her back to the beach, she pushed someone nearby and tried running. They caught her and put her in handcuffs, but say she kept trying to drag them back to the ocean. She was restrained and taken to the hospital for evaluation. No injuries were reported.

The Governor speaks out after he’s criticized for reopening the state too soon. Last Friday Gov. Newsom responded to some newspaper editorial boards, local health officials and state lawmakers who commented on guidelines set up for the reopening of churches, hair salons and barbershops. The governor says he has come up with a framework to follow, but it’s up to local municipalities to reopen businesses when they feel comfortable to. Counties have to meet certain criteria and then attest to the state they have, then the state approves their phased reopenings. The governor says every county is different and says it’s up to county officials to determine the pace of reopening which is being done with local public health officers using health data to determine what’s appropriate for them, and adds, there’s no mandated pace for opening.

New Calif. teachers could be recruited online given the current pandemic. School districts are looking for teachers due to a long time shortage, which is magnified in areas like special education, world languages, math, science and English language development. The larger districts have reportedly been interviewing prospects virtually, changing in person interviewing onto online platforms. Smaller school districts such as the ones in Lake County also reportedly using online recruitment programs. The Record Bee reports Konocti Unified has teachers who’ve not completed certain programs and only have partial training, something the Superintendent of schools blames on health concerns and Lake County being a challenging place due to its rural location. San Francisco Unified was reportedly using Google Hangouts for interviews. Los Angeles was doing a mix of virtual and in person.

After considering at a special meeting last week, the Clearlake City Council has voted to sell the old Austin Resort property to a developer. The meeting only lasted about 30 mins and all members voted to approve the plan which is said to be a $40 million project. Bailey Building and Loans presented the city with a proposal to buy both parcels of the former resort to build a new destination resort to include a marina, hotel, restaurant and retail stores. A letter of intent was approved earlier this year and the Planning Commission also approved the proposal. The purchase price for both parcels is just over $915,000. The developer wants the city to coordinate with tribal governments when necessary; build a roundabout, consider another property nearby for a lease agreement and other improvements. The developer will then put up a waterfront resort and maintain public access to the waterfront of Clear Lake forever and work with police to make sure it stays safe.

Fire lookouts are needed this wildfire season. The director of the Forest Fire Lookout Association, California-Pacific Region, says they’re getting more calls to see if they can help with staffing the lookouts. The area they cover includes the Mendocino National Forest and some of the Los Padres National Forest. The US Forest Service has asked the Fire Lookout Association to find lookouts and train them to be fire watchers. There are no fire lookouts in Lake County, so they’re using mountaintops as lookout spots. There will be several locations, Anthony Peak in Mendocino County, another in Upper Lake which has not been confirmed yet, and on top of Mount Konocti, but not in the lookout tower, which is currently closed.

For more information, call Rivera at 707-239-6824 or email him at cprivera453@gmail.com .

To learn more about the Forest Fire Lookout Association, visit www.FFLA.org. To donate to the Mount Konocti fire lookout tower renovations, visit https://ffla-ccwr.org/.

Four hospitalizations and thirty cases of Covid-19 in Mendocino County. But none of the hospitalizations were in critical care or on ventilators. Public Health Officer Noemi Doohan says three of the new cases are due to community spread and one case may be a false positive and it will be up to the state to decide. These 2 community spread cases are from the North County and the other in the Ukiah Valley.  In other Health Office news, Dr. Doohan is allowing church services in alignment with the state. She says it’s high risk, and is asking everyone to be careful, wear masks and socially distance themselves, political protests are also allowed with the same restrictions. There are other openings and allowed businesses. You can visit the Public Health Office Facebook page and website.

There is clarification about barbershops and hairstylists that only hair can be dealt with and no facial work like shaving, due to too close of contact with the customer.

In Lake County, County offices are starting to reopen after remote services thru the pandemic. They’re self-certifying their opening like local businesses and taking extra caution with protections for visitors. But the Lake County Board of Supervisors Chair Moke Simon reminds there are still many essential County services that can be done at home. Due to the pandemic, many services can be done without an in person visit. They’re asking anyone at risk of getting infected to call first and arrange for service without coming to County facilities.

Senator Bill Dodd and his colleague Sen. Steven Glazer have a bill to make sure critical facilities like hospitals, fire stations and water treatment plants are operational during potential wildfire-related electric utility power shutoffs. Senator Dodd sys it’s imperative these services stay operational during public safety power shutoffs. The bill, if it passes, would mean most essential facilities would continue operating with emergency backup generators. The senators say that would ensure there is electricity to pump and treat water during intentional outages. Right now they say, facilities could face penalties for running generators during power outages. The bill has already passed the Senate Environmental Quality committee and is sponsored by the California Municipal Utilities Association and the Las Virgenes Municipal Water District.

The Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan says she’s staying… for now. She had announced she was leaving for San Diego, where she’s already living, but the County is still on the lookout for a new health officer. Dr. Doohan says the County’s been in close contact with the state regarding the requirements for a county health officer, and she will still be serving Mendocino County until a new officer is hired. She says there is a job posted for the position and there are two people who have shown interest and they hope they will apply for the job. Doohan says the Board of Supervisors voted to continue her contract through the end of the year, but their goal is to hire a new health officer and when that happens, she’ll remain a consultant and there will be a transition.

200 pieces of art sent to the White House from the Round Valley Tribe. 200 folded origami peace cranes, or tsuru, sent with a demand for human rights and dignity for asylum seekers and immigrants. The folded tsuru have been worked on over two years at the Round Valley Public Library, and Health Center Fair. They were all saved to make a piece of art for the community, but are being sent. They represent solidarity in a  non-violent, direct action project for all communities being unjustly targeted.

The Lakeport City Council is considering approving their $18 million recommended budget. The Record Bee reports the total city-wide revenues are projected to be off by 6 percent for the next fiscal year. The city’s general fund looks to be off $850,000 as opposed to a $718,000 surplus they had the end of last year. The city has listed spending at just under $3 million but the city manager says the city should be able to “weather the economic storm caused by the uncertainties created by COVID- 19”, using reserves for the budget.

Police in Clearlake reporting a bicycle rider has been killed on Highway 53. Not a lot of information released but the chief confirmed there was a fatal crash last night at Highway 53 and Dam Road and a man was hit by a car as he rode his bike. They asked people to stay out of the area and did not announce the victim’s name or if the driver stayed after the crash. Police: “Deceased male has been identified as Michael Dale Anthony Everson, 20, of Clearlake.”

The Lake County Board of Supervisors still deciding whether to restart in person board meetings. The meeting tomorrow morning will start off with the weekly coronavirus update from the Public Health officer and will be held online again. You can catch it on their website or Facebook page. The board is expected to talk about ending their ordinance from May 5th for temporary safety protocols for members of the public visiting county facilities that they wear masks if they cannot socially distance from others or if there’s protective shielding. This is at the request of the Board Chair, Moke Simon. This is because there had been no Public Health Order on the matter at the time, and now there is. So the Public Health Order supersedes the Urgency Ordinance.

A small fire quickly stomped out in Clearlake Oaks over the weekend. Lake Co News reports the fire Saturday afternoon reported behind the Moose Lodge with firefighters from across the region responding. There was also a short power outage with some of firefighters trying to find downed power lines on the Northshore before they went out to this fire. The fire was reported to be burning at a slow rate of speed on between two to four acres. Airplanes and bulldozers were requested. In the end the fire charred nearly 4.5 acres.

Lake County Superior Court is getting ready to reopen along with other County facilities and businesses. The court reported Friday there would be in-person trials or contested hearings starting in two weeks, on June 15th. They also announced social distancing would mean a lower number of cases. And jury trials will begin a week later, sometime after June 22nd. The County also announced the court clerk’s offices are reopening next week, on June 8th. But the public is still encouraged to use the drop box when they can and if possible, to avoid person-to-person contact at the Courthouse. They will still continue some hearings via videoconference.

No pay raise for state lawmakers as the state is in a budget deficit due to coronavirus. It’s the first time in five years legislators won’t see a pay bump. A public board, the California Citizens Compensation Commission which sets salaries for public officials, voted unanimously against the raise for the fiscal year starting July 1st. Gov. Gavin Newsom is getting almost $210,000 a year, with state legislators at just under $115,000. And some other top state officials, the lieutenant governor is getting $157,000 and the attorney general will make about $182,000.

A new report of counties in Calif that opened first shows spikes in Covid-19 cases. The McClatchy data review of the first 22 counties that reopened business between May 12th and 14th showed there were more new cases and deaths in those counties than the previous two weeks. There were 82 cases total in those counties the two weeks before their openings, and no deaths, but after the openings, nearby double the cases, 147 positive tests and 4 deaths. The report also shows hospitalizations exploded by more than 60 percent for the counties. But the report also says it was a small sampling and it’s still too early to really draw any conclusions. Some of the data: Del Norte County had 3 cases, then spiked to 20, Glenn County was up from 6 to 12. Mendocino had cases spike after the Anderson Valley church gathering and a worker from our County who is employed in Sonoma County. And Butte County went from 19 to 37 cases. And some counties in the report who started to loosen restrictions also increased testing which could account for an increase in cases there.

The Fort Bragg Police Chief speaking out about the violent and peaceful protests across the country. Chief John Naulty released a statement saying it’s his duty to speak about the recent events across the country the last few days. He says first, that on behalf of the city of Fort Bragg’s Police Department, the agency sends its deepest condolences to the family and friends of George Floyd. He says the actions by the individuals who violated the moral and ethical codes do not reflect Fort Bragg and that they took an oath to Protect and Serve the people of Fort Bragg and will continue to do so with the utmost respect for every person they encounter. Chief Naulty says they take pride in the community and his staff will not break the community’s trust. He also says he stands with people who would like to exercise their right of freedom of speech peacefully. And they ask all participants to respect local businesses and be mindful that businesses in the community are still finically struggling after the Shelter in Place (SIP) restrictions.

The Ukiah Symphony Association has announced they’re postponing the entire 2020-21 concert season. The Association says the fact that Mendocino College deciding to mostly operate online for the next academic year and required physical distancing and shelter-in-place orders informed their choice. The Symphony Association President says they plan to resume performances for the 2021-22 concert season but says it’s impossible to predict what the reality will be next year. They are however, offering virtual events thru their social media pages. And you can check out their website too, https://www.ukiahsymphony.org/

On Monday you may hear some sirens as the Lake County Sheriff’s Office/Office of Emergency Services is testing the emergency warning sirens in Loch Lomond, Cobb Mountain, Anderson Springs, and Middletown. It’s to make sure the sirens work ok and there may be some additional messages sent as a reminder beforehand. It’s to mark the beginning of the monthly test of the system, which will be the first Monday of every month at 11 AM. They say if there is an active response to local fires in progress, the test will be cancelled, and resume the following month. They remind you to get your email address to the Sheriff’s office, so you’ll get notified each month.

Following the three Sheriff’s in the Emerald Triangle, the Sheriff of Sonoma County says he’s not going to enforce the stay home public health order. As were reported yesterday the Emerald Triangle law enforcement officers were in alignment with the US Constitution, now the Sonoma County Sheriff Mark Essick says the local Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase’s order to stick to Phase 2 and not allow more openings for two weeks is not in line with the state and that she didn’t provide proof to keep restrictions on civil liberties in place. County leaders do not agree with the Sheriff, just this week, they back Dr. Mase after she said there had been local outbreaks, but left it at that. Essick is ordering deputies to consider violation reports against what the state’s guidelines are, and educate the public how to slow the spread of the virus, but not to book anyone in jail for solely violating the county’s public health order.

The Sonoma County Public Health Officer has release more info about why she’s holding back on reopening some businesses, only saying it was because of community spread and a nursing home outbreak. Now, Dr. Sundari Mase says there were several infections at a local winery, a water filtration plant and in a group of farmworkers. She didn’t say which winery, name the water plant or what crops the farmworkers had handled though. She said there had been a recent shift from households to workplaces as people move about more, not knowing they may have been infected with the highly contagious disease. Dr. Mase nor County leaders have answered any more questions on the matter.

Campfire restrictions announced in the Mendocino National Forest as we enter wildfire season. The Forest announced yesterday to protect the health and safety of employees and communities, starting today there will be no igniting, building, maintaining or using a fire except in developed recreation sites and wilderness within the Mendocino National Forest. Officials say these steps are to make sure firefighters are available to safely respond and manage incidents and that 95 percent of all wildfires are human-caused. The Forest Supervisor says there’s an above-normal fire season projected in much of the state, and the combined potential for wildfires and smoke could impact communities and firefighters, and it’s everyone’s responsibility to be fire safe at all times while visiting the Forest.

The Governor’s announced an accelerated reopening for churches and other Places of Worship along with in-person protests, so the Mendocino County Health Officer has issued another revised Shelter-In-Place (SIP) Order to reflect what the state is authorizing. Places of worship including churches, mosques, temples, and synagogues can have limited capacity, same for Funeral Services. Hair salons and barbershops may open for limited haircut-related services, following the outlined statewide guidance, and in-person political protests are allowed with modifications and must adhere to safety measures from the State and outlined in the Health Officer’s Order. Also very limited use of shared pools for pool-based physical therapy. All of this went into effect just before midnight last night.

The Lake County Public Health Officer releasing a statement about mask wearing. Dr. Gary Pace, says yes, there are those for health reasons, who cannot wear a mask. Maybe it’s due to breathing difficulty or other negative physical or emotional consequences, but the County’s latest health order encourages a doctor’s note if they get push back from local businesses. So he released an Addendum to the County’s health order for individuals unable to wear a mask, that they must help in other ways, with minimum physical distance of 6 feet between people, unless there’s protective shielding in place. And that businesses can lawfully refuse your entrance.

For Lake County-specific Coronavirus information, please continue to visit the Lake County Health Services Department’s website, http://health.co.lake.ca.us.

The Lake County Coronavirus Response Hub has additional valuable resources:https://lake-co-ca-coronavirus-response-lakecoca.hub.arcgis.com/

The plan for the state to make up a 54 billion dollar budget gap has some state Senators just saying no. The plan would mean permanent cuts for K-12 schools and community colleges if there is no money coming from the federal government after the outbreak. School districts say it would mean schools closing, mass layoffs and a delay to reopening in the fall. But the state Senate has a plan that says no to the cuts and instead tables $9 billion in payments to public schools for a year so school districts could spend money by borrowing or using their own savings then the state could pay them back later. Payments have been delayed in years past, like $10 billion when Jerry Brown was the Governor, but it was paid back over several years, this new plan, is just one year. The deadline for a plan in the state Legislature is June 15th for a new operating budget for the fiscal year starting July 1st.

From Mendocino County Public Health Office Facebook page:
“Public Health is confirming 5 additional cases of #COVID19 in Mendocino County. 3 of the 30 total cases are still under investigation. Please see the dashboard below for the demographic info we have available at this time. Join us for our live Friday Update tomorrow with Dr. Doohan for more information as it emerges.”

Deputies in Ukiah looking for the public’s help after several reports of shots fired in Ukiah. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says they’re investigating an illegal discharge of at least one gun in the south end of the City. The MCSO went out to the 100 block of Oak Knoll Road early Sunday morning after multiple reports of shots fired. They say they were in touch with local residents who said they thought there was a car that left the area and headed north on South Dora Street afterwards, but they didn’t have a description of the vehicle. Deputies say they did find about 10 to 20 expended handgun casings on the street, but no bullet holes, strike marks or victims at any of the homes in the neighborhood. They’re asking anyone with further information to call the Sheriff’s dept. or anonymous tip line.  

The State of Calif. says it needs to raise at least $500 million for electronics for students since many could continue at home learning thru the end of the year, possibly into next year. The Superintendent of Public Instruction for the state Tony Thurmond calling on companies, foundations and individual donors to help get 600,000 computers and tablets, and 300,000 to 400,000 internet connections or hot spots so K-12 students will be able to continue distance learning due to coronavirus pandemic. The State working with T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon and others to get 100,000 hot spots for students and 21,000 computers to districts.

Mendocino College announcing they’ll continue most instruction online in the fall. The interim Superintendent/President says they’ll be “primarily” online in the fall for the “health, safety, and well-being of students, faculty, staff, and community”. She says it was a tough decision, but after speaking with faculty leadership, deans, the vice president of academic affairs and others, they thought it would be best to decide sooner rather than later in order to have time for fall schedule planning.  She also says if there are any in-person activities, they will be with appropriate safety precautions like physical distancing and sanitation measures, and only in small, stable groups.

Mendocino College says some road work is done at an intersection near the school in Ukiah, making it safer after major upgrades. The Hensley Creek Road and State Street intersection, where the school says thousands of students, employees, and community members get to the college every week has a new traffic light. The college says that’ll loosen some of the traffic congestion and help stop accidents at the intersection, which were a concern for many years as enrollments continue to increase. The Interim Superintendent/President says they’ve been wanting to get the traffic light at that intersection for several years. They also put up a new digital sign at the intersection to help increase the visibility of the campus. The sign was paid for by the school’s foundation.

A man in Ukiah’s been cited for elder abuse after a man he cared for reported he was thrown on the ground and couldn’t get up. 73 year old told deputies he and his live in caregiver Terry Omler got into an argument and Omler pushed the man down, he landed on his wrists and could not get back up as Omler went to sleep and left him there. The man cannot walk well without help and crawled to his phone and called for help. He says it took him an hour to crawl to his phone. Deputies found Omler sleeping after alcohol consumption, saying he was heavily intoxicated. He’s arrested for felony elder abuse resulting in bodily injury and booked into jail, but it was zero bail due to the Governor’s stay home order. But a judge approved a $25,000 bail for which he was then held.

North Coast Congressmen John Garamendi working with colleague Dean Phillips of Minnesota have sent notice to both House and Senate leadership asking for a national contact tracing and testing program for COVID-19 in any new legislation in both chambers. The UNITE Act and the Utilizing and Supporting Evacuated Peace Corps Volunteers Act have both been introduced in the House. Garamendi says the pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on society, and that we need scaling of testing and contact tracing to flatten the curve and lift stay-at-home orders. Public Health officers across the country say we should have as many as 300,000 or more contact tracers. Garamendi and Phillips bills would use service organizations like the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.

North Coast Assemblyman Jim Wood says the governor’s planned budget cuts are a mistake. During a special session of the legislature, lawmakers got to question the Newsom administration about a plan to cut various programs due to a $54 billion budget hole due to the coronavirus. Wood says actually eliminating programs and not just pausing them is a different thing. His comments after cuts noted for healthcare and senior nutrition programs, something Wood says would be devastating to older, poor or disabled Californians. Wood says without full Medi-Cal insurance, people will lose access to dental and optical care. The latest budget includes spending cuts to public education, health care and environmental protections.

Two more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Mendocino County. The Public Health Office has confirmed there are now 25 cases. Yesterday we told you about two other new cases and that contact tracing had begun. Now the 24th and 25th cases, so for three days in a row, cases have been climbing. There were also nine new cases identified in Lake County. The Mendocino County Health Office reports the Anderson Valley Health center had confirmed a case from a test of 39 people last Thursday. There was only one positive result. All who tested were asymptomatic. There have been 101,000 confirmed cases in the State of California and more than 3,900 deaths.

Police in Clearlake asking for the public’s help finding a missing elderly man. 81 year old Lloyd “Jim” Wilborn has not been seen since Wednesday morning. He was in a 1995 Honda Del Sol and has mild dementia and leukemia, and is hard of hearing. Police say his daughter lives in Lucerne but the two have not spoken in five years. He also has no friends or businesses he frequents in the area, and mostly stays home. He also does not have a cell phone and was not reported missing in his past.

Cal Fire is reminding people, in the midst of the pandemic, that it’s critically important to create and maintain defensible space and home hardening to protect against wildfires. They’re sending out a flyer that has information on it about doing a defensible space self-assessment. It will have steps for homes and buildings, show how to harden your home to be more wildfire resistant and say it’s easy to follow. The agency says it helps their inspectors comply with social distancing while the agency collects vital information.

Sheriff’s in the Emerald Triangle saying they’re not going to follow the Governor’s stay home orders. The Humboldt County Sheriff Willian Honsel posted on social media last month he believes the order violated the constitution and wouldn’t be enforcing it. This came after the Governor ordered beaches to close. He says law enforcement is not bound to an order they feel are not lawful. Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall noted the constitution in his decisions too, but it was in particular to suggestions to him about how he handle the spread of Covid-19. He did say previously though that the County should be able to determine its own shelter in place protocols and that the Governor should have faith in locals. In Trinity County, Sheriff Tim Saxon said it’s not a one size fits all approach that works to stop the spread of the virus and that rural communities are different.

The Public Health Officer in Sonoma County says there will be no changes to her Shelter in Place order for two weeks. The Press Democrat reports Dr. Sundari Mase says it’s because there are new patients in the hospital and ICU and a new outbreak at a local nursing home, plus community spread from workplaces.  Dr. Mase says keeping the stay home order as is is going to protect health care workers from a surge and keep ICU beds available for serious patients. She has allowed restaurants, wineries and breweries serving food to resume outdoor dining with certain public health protocols. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is on board with keeping the Phase 2 reopening as is, in solidarity with the Public Health Officer.

A handful of churches in Sonoma County say they’re going against the Public Health order and opening anyway this weekend. The Press Democrat reports the Catholic churches are holding mass in defiance of county health orders prohibiting gatherings. The newspaper reports the Santa Rosa Diocese Bishop Robert Vasa says he is not going to stop parish priests if they want to reopen for Mass on Sunday but also says he’s told them they need to comply with directives from Sonoma County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase. He added that most Catholic churches in Sonoma County will stay closed, but it’s up to the individual churches.

The Public Health Officer in Santa Clara County says the state’s moving too quick to reopen its economy. The Governor has said he’s looking at the percentage of positive cases, not the overall number of cases, but Dr. Sara Cody says allowing gatherings of up to 100 people for religious, political and cultural reasons is a bad idea, calling it a serious risk to spread the virus. Her comments on Tuesday to the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors. Cody is credited for helping come up with the Bay Area’s first shelter in place order. Also noted, Santa Clara had some of the state’s first cases and has not been able to open as deeper as other counties in the state.

Lake County looking for more local control is sending a letter to the Gov. for even more relaxation of shelter-in-place orders. After the Memorial Day weekend supervisors were questioning why more businesses couldn’t open. The next day though religious services, political protests, hair salons and barbershops were allowed to start once again. But Lake County supervisors want more. There’s a special meeting planned about the wording of the letter to get the Governor to allow the county its own permission when to reopen certain businesses. They spoke of opening gyms, and the Public Health Officer Gary Pace says if there’s a reasonable plan and other local governments sent similar letters it could happen. 

Legislation being considered by state lawmakers includes replacing PG& E with a non-profit company called Golden State Energy. The Senate Bill comes as the utility is about to emerge from Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. It says if the disgraced utility does not safely operate in the future and is blamed for even more catastrophes, like wildfires or explosions, it should be replaced. The bill by state Senator Jerry Hill says nobody knows what the future will bring and they expect the best, but it’s best to prepare for the worst. The bill spells out how an orderly transfer of the company would go if PG& E’s certificate of public convenience and necessity is revoked.

The Gov. is allowing hair salons and barbershops to reopen, but some counties, like Sonoma, say they won’t go there quite yet. 47 of the 58 counties in the state have been cleared for the first bit of Phase 3 of the 4 phase reopening plan just as the state hits about 100,000 cases. The announcement about hair shops a day after the Governor announced churches could reopen with strict guidelines. Nearly a dozen counties will not be able to reopen though because there have not received permission to reopen other businesses like restaurants and shopping malls, those nearest to us include Alameda, Contra Costa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz and Tulare. Some lawmakers say they think the Gov. is moving too fast with the reopening, but Newsom says they’re focusing on the percentage of positive cases instead of the overall number. He adds it’s inevitable there will be more positive cases as the economy reopens and people begin to mix more frequently.

A mobile home in Ukiah has been gutted by a fire. Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reports it broke out yesterday afternoon in the Manor Oaks mobile home park on East Gobbi Street. The report said the home was totally on fire and others were threatened. When firefighters arrived they found it fully engulfed in flames and two nearby homes threatened. Nobody was in any of the homes at the time and there were no injuries. Firefighters contained it to the one structure only, but there was some heat damage to windows and blinds of the other homes. They say they’re not sure how the fire started, but it looks to have originated in the kitchen. The home was totally destroyed.

Lake County staying in alignment with Governor Newsom’s latest relaxation of some of the stay home orders, allowing hair salons and barbershops to reopen. Since Lake County has their variance with the state, the Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace put out an updated Public Health Order regarding coronavirus with guidelines about how local facilities can proceed with reopening. Dr. Pace says he too will allow hair salons and barbershops to reopen, with limitations though. The provider has to wear a mask, unless they have a health problem precluding it, same for their customers, physical distancing, temperature or symptom checking of employees and other workers, frequent handwashing and regular cleaning and disinfection and training of their workers on their reopening plan for prevention. They have to immediately respond to any new cases and potential infections in workplaces.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office has confirmed two more cases of coronavirus for a total of 23. Yesterday they confirmed the 22nd case with an unknown origin and contract tracing started. Later yesterday there was a confirmation of the Public Health Officers Facebook page of the 23rd case which was also of unknown origin. Public Health reports there’s no evidence of community spread. And while there is a new testing site, appointments must be made and there are no walk-ins for Optum Serve!

To get tested for COVID-19 by Optum Serve, you MUST make an appointment by visiting https://lhi.care/covidtesting or by calling (888) 634-1123.

An award has been bestowed on Willits Charter School. The school is the 2020 winner of the Jack London Award for Educational Innovation. The award for the school’s Friday Academies Program. The school director says they focus mainly on Arts and Sciences. Students there go to their core classes and electives Monday through Thursday, and on Friday it’s their Academies Program where students go to their enrichment classes which are many times led by community members. They include Animals, Native American Club, Martial Arts, Set Design and Mock Trial. Two schools got the Jack London award of a $500 gift certificate, a certificate of recognition and a book authored by Jack London. It’s for “good ideas and great programs and the people who make them happen in our local schools.”

The Public Health Officer in Sonoma County says even though the Gov. has continued to loosen restrictions to the original stay home order, there will not be any shopping malls, barbershops, hair salons or in-person church services yet as there’s recently been more cases of coronavirus spreading in the community. Dr. Sundari Mase had just allowed restaurants, wineries and breweries to have outdoor dining, but is apparently not moving deeper into phase 2 or allowing phase 3 quite yet. She says it’s because of more than 200 new confirmed cases (including 48 over the holiday weekend) of COVID-19. She also noted some people in the ICU and on ventilators was also on the rise. And there’s a new outbreak of the virus at a local senior residential care center, but she did not reveal its name.

Several dozen contact tracers are being hired in Sonoma County to find people who may be infected with coronavirus. The positions are noted at the Sonoma County website under Community Health Worker I and II with starting hourly wages from the high teens to the lower twenties and a $1.15 per hour bilingual bonus. They need PT and FT workers to do contact tracing. You’ll have to attend a 20-hour online course and possibly go to an in-person orientation. They plan to hire about 150 trained contact tracers by June 15th and 230 by July 15th. They already have 75.

A special meeting’s called of the Clearlake City Council regarding the sale of two parcels of land that used to be the Austin Resort. There’s a virtual town hall this morning on the subject because of the current shelter in place order with Clearlake City Hall still closed to the public. They were accepting questions in writing by email or thru the city’s website, where you can also view the townhall starting at 9.  The main agenda is to talk about a buyer’s offer for the Resort, they’re looking to replace it with a destination resort. There are two parcels, one about 4.75-acres and the other, just under 3 acres.  A Letter of Intent for the sale has already been approved by the City Council. Total sale price, just over $915,0000.

Police are searching for a missing teen in Fort Bragg. 17 year old Morgan Rossiter is described as, a white male, 6’05”, 250 pounds with short brown hair and blue eyes. His mother reported he might be with his bicycle, a light blue long haul trucker, street bike and that’ he’s has Autism, but is high functioning. He was last seen yesterday around noon time taking the bike out and he apparently left a note saying he’d be back in a week. He also has a cell phone, but it’s not powered on. They say he might not speak, could be scared or nervous if he’s contacted by strangers and to call police if you see him.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has given the go ahead to extend finances for a warming shelter for the homeless. Yesterday at the Board’s virtual meeting, they also discussed getting back to in person meetings. The Harbor Warming Center Project being used a COVID-19 homeless shelter in Lakeport. It’s in the old Record Bee building and was supposed to be shuttered this spring, but the Board gave their approval for more time so the homeless can shelter in place. The shelter also looking at transition plans out of the location soon. The board also allowing the Sheriff to allow businesses to use County property temporarily so they have more space for social distancing as they reopen, like restaurants with spill over into sidewalks or parking lots. The Board also agree to continue with live Zoom and Facebook streams, but the Board members would return to chambers for their meetings. They’re looking at a June 9th start date.

The Eastlake Landfill the subject of the Lake County Planning Commission’s next meeting. The Commission taking up the subject tomorrow if the landfill would conform to the county plan and meet environmental impact standards. The landfill near Clearlake has been the main solid waste dumping area since it was permitted back in the late 90’s and covers 35 acres. On an average day, there’s about 130 tons of waste brought there and about 47,000 tons per year. That can probably only last a few more years with the amount of waste increasing each year. The County looking to expand the landfill another 56.5 acres, 22 acres at a time. The Community Development Department recommends the Commission approve the expansion. The virtual meeting to be held tomorrow at 9 a.m.

State lawmakers back to the capitol picking up where they left off with in person meetings after their unplanned shutdown due to the virus. They have various measures to look at, including a proposed ban on flavored tobacco, including menthol. They’re also considering a bill to clarify general contractor licensing to protect homeowners who have to rebuild after a wildfire to guard against shysters. A new bill to get more information from nursing homes related to the amount of deaths from Covid-19 which was already unanimously approved in committee and goes now to the Assembly Appropriations Committee.  

The Governor has once again released new shelter-in-place rules so that church gatherings can resume, but with safety restrictions in place. This means Mendocino County will have to change some restrictions. The new rules apply for in-store retail as well. Gatherings of political protest will also be allowed but with strict social distancing requirements in place. The County CEO says a new public health order will come out this week.

Phase 3 of the state’s reopening is beginning with hair salons and barbershops allowed to reopen in most of the state. But counties have an option to restrict further if need be. Already 47 of the state’s 58 counties fully opened into phase 2. The changes to the state’s stay-at-home order are not allowing nail salons to reopen though as it was noted earlier this month that the first case of community spread in California came from a nail salon. Phase 3 also includes gyms, movie theaters and professional sports without live audiences, but that’s deeper into this phase, not quite yet.

The Lake County Sheriff is allowing visitors at the local jail. Since the outbreak, the jail has been closed to visitors, but the public health office has allowed a gradual return to visitation, Live Scan services, religious and educational programs. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports progression into phase 2 and 3 are contingent on the status of community spread of Covid-19 and if there’s any staff and/or inmate infections. They have not determined a date yet to move into phase 2. The limited visitation and Live Scan services are considered phase 1 and start Monday, June 1st

Even though Humboldt County was one of the first to get the go ahead to reopen, the County is taking a slower approach to emerging from the stay home order. The County had more than 90 cases as of this weekend, and two employees at a nursing home recently contracted the infection. Businesses have to work with the Public Health Dept, the same as the rest of the state, in coming up with their reopening. But Humboldt County’s Public Health Officer says they could slow some certifications because of new cases emerging. 6,500 licensed businesses have applied to reopen, and the County’s website only shows 255 certified as of last Friday. Of the applications, around 100 restaurants, but not one had been approved to resume dine-in service.

Mendocino County Sheriff Matt Kendall puts out a Memorial Day message to say there have been concerns directed his way about the public health order. He says there’s been suggestions from various sources about how the law should be enforced and that he will follow the US constitution. He says some suggestions were that people should be stopped if it seemed they were out of place and that they should provide their identification, others have suggested roadblocks to take identification and says he realizes there’s fear around the pandemic, but that these suggestions are in direct conflict with the constitution and that anyone entering Mendocino County has rights afforded to everyone in the United States so he won’t be caving to the pressure and start violating rights. The message posted on Facebook over the long holiday weekend.

The Lake County Sheriff acting as director of the Office of Emergency Services is helping businesses promoting physical distancing with their repenings. Sheriff Brian Martin has issued a Directive allowing temporary use of County-owned and private properties for modified business operations, like for restaurants to spill outdoor dining onto the street. The order is effective as of this morning and has to be ratified by the Board Of Supervisors which they were supposed to consider at a 1 pm meeting today. If approved, businesses owners have to get a free, Temporary Use Permit from the Department of Public Works. There are requirements that go with it, which you can see at Lake Co News.

A smartphone app is going to be required for anyone who works for Sonoma County to make sure they have no coronavirus symptoms or have possibly been exposed to someone with COVID-19 before showing up to work. The Press Democrat reports the County hired IBM to develop their COVID-19 Check app which has already come out and is available at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Employees will be able to screen themselves for symptoms and exposure, then their employer has a parallel feature on the app to verify their wellness check before they start work for the day.

A massive turnout at the Russian River to beat the heat this holiday weekend. Healdsburg Veterans Memorial Beach had hundreds of revelers as the temperatures started to creep into the upper 90’s inland. Sonoma Park Rangers patrolled beaches and watched to make sure people were keeping their distance from each other. There’s no sunbathing, picnicking and barbecuing at river beaches. Also, they were not allowing umbrellas, shade structures, tents, coolers or beach chairs. And people were stopped if they were found with any of that. Parking lots were also closed along the coast, so many visited the river.

Some new cases of Covid-19 have turned up in Lake County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says with more testing, two new cases have been identified, but the local infection rate is still low, and there are no hospitalizations. Dr. Pace says probably because things are beginning to reopen and there’s more community activity and more availability, new infections are probable. There were 4 new cases last week and an impromptu testing site was created last Friday to follow-up on contacts from a previous case. The results of 40 tests came in and two were positive, 55 are still pending though. The Public Health Office says the new cases are stable and isolating at home, and further contact tracing has begun. Dr. Pace says all previous cases, 12 of them are doing well, and one who was admitted to the hospital is home in good condition.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors having a special meeting related to funding the COVID-19 shelter for the homeless. The meeting today at 1 pm. held virtually can be seen on the Board’s website. The Public Health Officer will be first up, delivering his weekly update on the virus, then the board will consider going back to in-person meetings. They will also look to ratify an order issued by Sheriff Brian Martin, who’s the acting director of the Office of Emergency Services, to allow businesses temporary use of county property in Stage 2 of the state’s gradual reopening from the pandemic. And they’ll consider the Harbor Warming Center Project for the homeless.

Places of worship can start to reopen across the state with new guidelines. The California Department of Public Health made the announcement yesterday and local health departments have to approve it. So there can be religious services and funerals with limited attendance at 25 percent of capacity or as many as 100 attendees, whichever is lower. Most large gatherings are still off the table during the state’s current stay at home order. There are also new guidelines though for protests and gatherings for political expression, with the same plan, 25 percent of an area’s maximum occupancy – or up to 100 attendees.

The Lakeport City Council to decide if an area of the downtown core should have a road fixed. They’ll consider the “Eleventh Street Corridor Multimodal Engineered Feasibility Study” so traffic flows better for not only drivers, but pedestrians and cyclists. Plus there would be new safety measures such as street lighting and crosswalk signals. If the city approves the study, then it goes to the Planning Council, and if it’s further approved, the city will go after grant money to pay for the improvements. It’s been a plan since 2017. That could come to fruition on Eleventh Street from Highway 29 to North Main Street.

Another case of coronavirus has been confirmed by the Mendocino County Public Health Office. The 22nd case of COVID-19 was announced on the Public Health Officer’s Facebook Page. The post says they’re not sure yet how the infection was contracted and they’re in the process of investigating with a thorough contact tracing being conducted by Public Health too.

More than 59 volunteers are helping try to find a missing man from Fort Bragg. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office got a call that 77 year old Luther Jackson disappeared from the Fort Bragg Senior Center. An employee of the center called to say Jackson was not there so they went to the Center and also could not find the man. They searched a nearby property as well. He’s described as a white man, about 5 foot 9, 175 pounds, with blond and gray hair and blue eyes. Mendocino County Search and Rescue personnel has been looking for the man, utilizing ATV’s, drones, ground searchers, and dogs. Yesterday 54 people went out looking for Jackson again from several law enforcement agencies with no luck.

A man from Eureka says he had to fight off a 16 to 18-foot long shark this holiday weekend while he was on his kayak in Shelter Cove. A spokesperson for the Shelter Cove Fire Dept. told the Outpost news site that Michael Thallheimer was fishing off the coast and was attacked. He was alone and had just caught some fish and was hoisting them onto his kayak. Apparently the blood from the fish was leaching out into the water and the shark became attracted to it and appeared out of nowhere. He told them he had to fight it off by punching it, but it punctured his boat and he began taking on water and called 911. He got lucky, after dropping his phone and keys in the water, a cop was on the coast looking and saw him clinging to his sinking kayak. He was pulled out by other fishermen and taken back to the marina. He had no injuries, but was hypothermic.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer with the latest on the County’s attestation and the latest cases of COVID.

Up until this morning there have been 15 cases in the County, the 14th case confirmed last Friday was at the Assembly of God church in Redwood Valley, 3 people at a virtual service had all contracted the virus. There were more tests done after that, this past Tuesday after Lake County residents came forward to say they were affiliated somehow with the church, two were positive cases, one ended up in the hospital and that’s when the church was publicly named by residents.

More than 330 people tested at a drive thru site – 6 additional cases are connected to this Church, for a total of 9 people – 7 from Mendocino County, 6 identified today, one last week from our County, 2 in Lake County. The new cases are all in isolation.

Before these six cases, the County confirmed a 15th case contracted at their workplace in Sonoma County. 55 other people from Mendocino County work at Sonoma County workplace. The County is offering all who may have been in contact with the 15th case, and the 6 other new cases free testing.

500 new contact tracers in Calif. The Governor announced they will start to call, text and email people who may have been exposed to coronavirus. The Governor’s office says they will encourage those potentially exposed to quarantine or recommend they seek medical care. The Governor’s office also announced a media blitz, radio, television and billboard campaigns to bring more awareness to contact tracing and urge people to call. They’re being called the “CA COVID Team” and are being managed by the California Public Health Department. All information is confidential and will not be shared with outside entities. The state hoping to eventually hire 10,000 contact tracers across Calif.

The Avenue of Flags is happening in Lake County for Memorial Day, but on a smaller scale. Lake Co News reports there are usually almost 1,000 American flags placed at the Hartley, Kelseyville, Lower Lake and Upper Lake cemeteries, but this year, while they almost canceled, they decided to just put 50 flags up only at the Lower Lake Cemetery. Organizers say the display will be from the front gate to the George Mitchell Building and the service poles. A small gathering at the cemetery that morning will then disperse and put up the flags Monday. If you want to help, they say you’re welcome with a facial covering on.

Mendocino County got the go ahead from the state to reopen deeper into phase 2 of the governor’s 4 phase plan to open California. The County got the green light Wednesday to reopen more businesses, including dine in restaurants, retail and more. The county had to show they’ve met certain criteria to reopen including a low case count of COVID-19, proof they have the infrastructure to detect and safely isolate new cases and personal protective equipment for front line healthcare workers, amongst over requirements. The County has had 15 cases, no hospitalizations and no deaths. The Public Health Officer has issued a new shelter-in-place order that goes into effect at noon today, allowing limited dine-in restaurants, in-person shopping at retail stores, preventive dental care, limited use of shared pools for child care units, children’s extracurricular units and work groups. Salons, hotels, airbnb’s, bars, winery tasting rooms and public pools are still not allowed to reopen.

No college entrance exams will be needed for some higher education campuses in Calif. The UC Board of Regents cut SAT and ACT in their applications for admission by California high schoolers for the nine undergraduate campuses in a unanimous vote. The regents agreed with president Janet Napolitano’s idea to phase out college admissions testing. She said it was because of the “correlation of the SAT and the ACT to the socio-economic level of the student” and sometimes, their ethnicity. The testing had already been removed due to the pandemic, but this makes it permanently, test optional after the pandemic too.

More patrols will be out, even though there have been less cars on the road, for the Memorial Day weekend. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is also encouraging essential travel only and physical distancing if Californians do leave their homes. They say if you do plan to travel you should be in touch with the county or state where you’re going to find out if there are any local restrictions or directions for people from outside the area. They are conducting their yearly Memorial Day Maximum Enforcement Period too. The CHP Commissioner says it doesn’t matter what changes in the world, the people of Calif. can count on them to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.

The state of California quickly paid back almost $1.4 billion dollars to the federal government needed to pay out a huge spike in unemployment claims due to the coronavirus pandemic. The state borrowed nearly $350 million in April and almost $1.1 billion earlier this month. The state paid back the money with money from businesses who paid their taxes to cover unemployment. The Unemployment Dept. reported it was the highest period for receiving the yearly employer contributions and the department had asked the state for authority to borrow up to $10 billion between April and June.

With the state’s approval or not, more than 1,200 pastors in Calif. announcing they’re going ahead with in-person services May 31st even though they haven’t been given approval or any guidance on reopening. A lawyer who represents one church is suing on behalf of the more than 1,200 pastors who he says all signed a “declaration of essentiality” announcing they would open their doors again May 31st, but that they would have physical distancing and other precautions so they don’t risk spreading coronavirus. The lawyer says there are pastors who represent more than one church and he expects at least 3,000 churches would have in-person services on May 31st.

Any public school child in the Ukiah Unified School District classified as eligible for the free/reduced price school meals will be getting up to $365 for their family. The money comes in a debit card, a Pandemic Electronic Benefits Transfer card, to be used at the local Farmers Market or at grocery stores. Kids eligible for the meal program at schools are getting the extra food benefits to help their families during the coronavirus emergency. They’re being automatically sent to students enrolled in a school meal program after the state verifies their eligibility through other state databases like Cal Fresh and MediCal. If it has not arrived by today, families are encouraged to go online to: https://ca.p-ebt.org/ or call 877 328 9677.

Lake Tahoe still discouraging people from heading there, and now just before the Memorial Day weekend, non-residents face a $1,000 fine for visiting. There is Phase 2 reopening in both Truckee and South Lake Tahoe but no hotels or short-term rentals are open to the general public, only those who have to travel for business or essential reasons.  Those with second homes in South Lake Tahoe are now allowed, they had been discouraged before. But now the city says they’re welcome in city limits to their own property, but no lodging is available for short-term renters or patrons at this time. And South Lake Tahoe Police say not in Tahoe this time, for anyone else after the city passed an ordinance allowing $1,000 fines for violators of the travel ban.

CHP and the Shasta County Sheriff’s office have rescued a bald eagle from the middle of a road outside Redding. Drivers spotted the injured mature bald eagle on Interstate 5, south of Redding on the southbound side. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife had a picture of the bird up online sitting on the highway. The CHP and the sheriff’s office on the scene and moved it out of traffic and waited with it for a wildlife officer to get there.  The Dept. of Fish and Wildlife says it had no obvious signs of injury, only some blood on its mouth. They rescued the 9-pound eagle and it was transferred to the Defiance Canyon Raptor Rescue.