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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

A Family Support Center is opening compliments of Lake County Behavioral Health Services. The announcement of the latest Peer Support Center in Middletown was named by students at Middletown High. There will be resources, referrals, and support for families in the County mental health system or if they need more information on available community resources. They have various support groups beginning including their Art Group, Homework Clubs for kids and Parent Partner groups to support parents and be their advocates. The official grand opening was on Valentines Day. The other Peer Support Group centers are in Clearlake Oaks, Lakeport and Clearlake.

State Sen. Bill Dodd says he’s working with a member of the Assembly to improve maternity care for women in the state. Dodd and Assemblymember Autumn Burke of Inglewood have announced legislation to expand access to maternity care and authorizing midwives to perform routine services. The proposal is sponsored by the California Nurse-Midwives Association and Black Women for Wellness. Dodd says women in California should not have to go without top-notch maternity care and increasing access to nurse-midwives could curtail that by improving outcomes especially for women in rural or inner-city settings.

Cleanup continues at the Bushay and Kyen Campgrounds at Lake Mendocino. The Army Corps of Engineers says they want the campgrounds open by Memorial Day for public use. A crew of temporary workers from a nonprofit out of Ukiah has been working with the Corps to get the Lake Mendocino campground sites in shape. They’re paid through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor related to 2019 storm damage repairs. They’re clearing downed trees, conducting vegetation management, and bringing roads and sites into a usable form again. Pricing will probably be going up at the campsites now though as FEMA upgraded some of the campsites so there’s now power, water, and sewer.

An update for the Ukiah Planning Commission on operations at the new Homeless Services Day Center on South State Street. The Daily Journal reports city staff is required to get a report twice a year for the first couple of years connected to the permit granted to Redwood Community Services. The report will show since last August to now, there were no complaints about the shelter or those frequenting the services there. So staff has not recommended any changes to the operations. In December they recorded nearly 90 people there using the services daily for a total of almost 2,800 visits that month. They recorded about seven people being turned away daily since the shelter opened.

Someone who tested positive in Calif. for the coronavirus who was a passenger on a cruise ship in Japan is in Sonoma County. Public Health officials say the unidentified person was taken from Travis Air Force Base in Solano County to a local hospital on Monday. There was a whole group of international travelers at the base last week. They were all quarantined due to their possible exposure to the virus. Apparently the patient who had a confirmed case of the virus wasn’t showing any symptoms. They are being monitored in isolation and they say there are no risks to public health.

Two legislators from the North Coast are trying to fight FEMA getting any disaster money back from victims. It comes after the agency threatened to try to get paid back by fire victims if money is found to have been distributed in error. Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson are co-sponsoring the bill which was introduced this week by Republican Congressman of Missouri Sam Graves. Huffman and Thompson signed on to the bill which says the federal government cannot demand victims return aid, if it’s found later to have been issued in error, and when there’s no evidence of fraud. Huffman says FEMA shouldn’t be “clawing back disaster relief funds from victims who have gone through terrible hardships”.

The PG&E CEO Bill Johnson says the company was indeed negligent after several disasters and catastrophes that killed almost 140 people but that was before and they’re better now. Johnson was talking to California regulators Tuesday saying poor management before his time was to blame and they’re safer now than they were a year ago. The remarks after the company filed for its second bankruptcy in two decades. Johnson told the California Public Utilities Commission, there would be no more catastrophes and no more deaths. There have been demands for the board to be replaced and new management before the utility company can emerge from its latest bankruptcy filing.

The City of Lakeport has been awarded a multimillion-dollar grant for a new park at the old Natural High School site. The Lakeside park will be built with nearly $6 million dollars on almost 7 acres at 800 N. Main St. It will include a new skate park, splash pad, basketball court, amphitheater, exercise circuit, five picnic areas with shade, concessions, a restroom building, parking lot, public art and landscaping and lighting. Plus there will be a facelift for a boat ramp that’s already there. It’s one of more than 60 projects being paid for by Proposition 68, a Statewide Park Program which is distributing its third round of awards. There were 478 applications for $2.3 billion for the $255 million available this time.

The 13.5 billion settlement PG&E has agreed to pay to victims of wildfires but several thousand people have filed to get a piece of the pie. Letters to the bankruptcy judge in the case complain that victims are at the bottom of the barrel in who gets paid out first. A hearing was set for today in the case to see if any federal or state agencies should get any money from the $4 billion they paid out after wildfires in 2017 and 18. Adventist Health is also trying to get about $1 billion due to its hospital in Paradise nearly destroyed in the Camp Fire. Plus, none of that even includes all of the legal fees. Victims are also complaining that half of the money to be paid out, is actually stock in PG&E.

A fire burning in the Covelo Ranger District is reported at 60 acres. The Baseball fire started yesterday from a pile burning 15 miles southeast of the city of Covelo near Atchison campground. The fire is reported at 5% containment with additional fire crews ordered yesterday. Fire officials say the conditions yesterday were a little windy and 70 degrees with a moderate rate of spread. No property or structures were being threatened.

There’s a new executive director now for the Lake County Fair. The Board of Directors has chosen Sheli Wright who takes over for Courtny Conkle who resigned last fall to go work in Wyoming as the State Fair manager. Lake Co News reports Wright takes over as the Lake County Fair CEO March 16th. She’s got experience too as an attendee who also grew up showing animals and participating at the Fair. There are other events besides the Fair too, year round events take place including car racing, the Lake County Rodeo and the soon to be happening, Lake County Ag & Natural Resource Day on March 28th.

A drive by shooting reported in Lower Lake and a suspect is arrested. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept. reports arresting Don West of Clearlake after the Sunday morning drive-by. Lake Co News reports there were actually two separate incidents West was connected to. Police say he also assaulted someone he was dating, broke thru the front door of their house and caused property damage to the tune of $500 then ran away. Then someone driving says West pulled a black semiautomatic handgun on them from his driver’s side window. They reported hearing two gunshots. Deputies pulled West over soon after but didn’t find evidence of a gun. But the car that reported it did have a gunshot hole in it. West was arrested on several charges including suspicion of burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, shooting at an occupied vehicle and assault on a person with a semiautomatic firearm. He was held on $300,000 bail.

The Baseball Fire has grown some, but the containment is a lot greater too. Fire crews say the fire on the Covelo Ranger District is now at 40 percent in the Mendocino National Forest. The fire is believed to have started from a pile fire in prescribed burn just before. It’s now blackened 68 acres and is located about 15 miles southeast of Covelo near the Atchison campground.  The fire is burning in grass, brush and timber and is not threatening any property or structures.  The forecast calls for dry weather with light wind and temps in the high-60s.

PM NEWS:

FEMA and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services are reportedly trying to separate claims with Pacific Gas and Electric from money that’s been promised to wildfire victims, $13.5 billion dollars. Right now victims, lawyers and some governmental agencies would share in the pot of cash. The government agencies say they are trying to get a separate deal and did not agree to the one already set aside. The governments are asking the giant utility to pay back costs they put forward to pay for damage caused by the company’s faulty equipment. FEMA wants nearly $4 billion and could go to victims to get paid back. And the state of Calif. is trying to get about $2.6 billion. Cal Fire also has a claim.

The elections office in Ukiah says they’re in desperate need of a Poll Inspector and Poll worker as someone has bowed out a week ahead of Super Tuesday and Calif.’s Presidential Primary. The inspector needed at Saint Mary’s Polling Place. There’s a training this Friday at the election’s office. There’s a small stipend for whoever is hired. Polls are open 7 am to 8 pm Tuesday. They’re recommending the training session which is about 2 hours long to learn the ropes. Please call 707 234-6808 if you can help out. They’re touting it as a great community involvement day for service organizations throughout the County.

 

A woman from Willits has been arrested after a fire breaks out at a home her boyfriend owns. Mendocino deputies report getting a call last Friday and finding the home engulfed in flames.. The man who lived there told cops he was threatened by Carley Schlapkohl. He says they were at the home and Schlapkohl became agitated and verbally hostile to him and threatened to cut his throat. He went on to say later in the evening, she jumped on him violently and assaulted him. After falling asleep he woke soon after to find his home on fire. The man escaped and called 911. Schlapkohl was found sitting in an abandoned vehicle and arrested for domestic violence battery and criminal threats and held on $25,000.00 bail. The fire’s under investigation.

A fire training with the Redwood Valley/Calpella and Potter Valley Fire Districts takes a home down on Black Bart Trail. Fire crews were training to keep the home from completely being gutted, dealing with various fire behaviors. They also rescued fire victims, worked with fire hoses in various situations and worked with equipment. There were nearly 3 dozen firefighters on the scene of the residential structure fire. It was surrounded by other homes which they practiced protecting too. The home they worked on was set to be torn down.

A man from Chico has been arrested after a domestic disturbance in Fort Bragg. Deputies say they got a call to a car parked along the road in the 16000 block of North Highway 1 so they stopped to check on a man inside, Mathew Spencer.  They say he was in the passenger seat and seemed overly nervous and that a woman was with him but disappeared. He also had a large knife on him, and they found an improvised weapon made from a stick. He also had a warrant out for his arrest for attempted robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, and being an accessory to a felony.  The woman was found by police dog Takoda, she had been assaulted. Spencer was then arrested for felony domestic battery and battery resulting in serious bodily injury and booked on 345,000 dollars bail.

A man in Willits has been arrested after a woman called to say she was attacked by her husband. Deputies say the woman called from the Brooktrails subdivision to say Tavion Johnson showed up at her friend’s house, where she was staying, pushed his way inside and he threw his keys at her face, injuring her. They say she had visible injuries matching the description of the altercation, so later Johnson was arrested. There was also a temporary restraining order against him at the time so he was booked into jail on $25,000.00 bail.

Because a new gateway is planned in Middletown, the Middletown Area Merchants Association is looking for designers to submit sketches. The gateway to be 15 to 20 feet wide and 12 to 18 feet tall on the east side of Highway 29 by Perry’s Deli. Those involved are looking for inspired ideas that could include landscapes like mountains, trees, rustic, rural lifestyle, big skies and stars. The association says its open to all sorts of various materials and that the archway should say something to do with the town or “Welcome to Middletown.” They’d also like it to have a way for banners to be hung from it for current town announcements. They will be picking two or three sketches that will move on for the next phase. Send your scanned sketches or a picture of your sketch to: MiddletownDesignProjects@gmail.com or mail to P.O. Box 1616, Middletown, CA 95461. Further info, 707-809-8118.

Police in Fort Bragg on the case after finding a street sign busted in the middle of a sidewalk. Cops say last Saturday morning the sign was hit by a car so they followed an oil trail to a parked and abandoned car. They towed the vehicle and later found it to be the same car of a possible DUI which they had a Be on the Lookout warning for, earlier issued by the California Highway Patrol. The CHP had been actively searching for the same car for a hit and run crash at a Nor Cal Gas Station. Police went to the gas station and got surveillance video finding Sierra Kocher was the driver of the car, they say the video also showed signs of intoxication on it. There has not been an arrest yet, but all of the evidence has been sent to the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

The Governor is calling for work on the homelessness crisis, focusing too on treating those with serious mental health illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Last week the Governor delivered his State of the State address saying some living on the street who are capable of accepting help, should be able to find a way to get off the street and into treatment. But he also mentioned how some have a, “grave disability”. There’s a project that’s supposed to start next month to expand conservatorships without changing current state law, but that’s just in San Francisco. Governor Newsom says he’d like to see the pilot project expand statewide.

The Lakeport City Council has unanimously approved replacing the sidewalk at Library Park with a construction company, Granite. The Library Park Sidewalk Replacement Project went to Granite Construction who turned in the lowest out of three bids. The replacement project, as we mentioned yesterday, after damage along with the seawall caused by winter storms in 2017 and again in 2019. Another contractor is already working to replace the cinder block seawall. FEMA money will pay for the new seawall and sidewalks. The council saying they’d like the whole project done by Memorial Day weekend, and any finishing work by July 4th.

Some changes coming to Clearlake after city staffers successfully get some grants. The City Manager gave an update at the last city council meeting after a bunch of applications were sent in to pay for improvements to infrastructure, more housing and prepare for more public safety power shutoffs. The City Manager Alan Flora says they got more than a quarter million dollars from the California Office of Emergency Services for public safety power shutoff impacts and preliminary approval for another $160,000 for more housing. The city also being considered for at least $200,000 to pay for upgrades to the bathrooms at Austin Park. The city is trying to get grant money for fixes after the Sulphur fire and they’ve also applied for money for the a veterans housing project, the Hope Center behind Adventist Health Clear Lake Hospital.

Legislators working on affordable housing announce several new bills that save money for those building and buying homes. The impact fees aid local governments in paying for schools, roads and parks.  But lawmakers say they’re still discussing how to replace the fees which, in some cases, can pay as much as a third of some cities entire budgets. Assemblyman David Chiu of San Francisco, the chair of the Assembly’s Housing Committee says the fees are “well intentioned” but they’ve also been “an incredible impediment to development”. One bill in the package would change how fees are determined, and two others would reimburse local governments who waive the fees or reduce the fees on affordable housing built in densely populated areas.

 

 

The Lucerne Area Town Hall had Lake County Sheriff Brian Martin as the featured speaker. Last Thursday, the Sheriff spoke on several issues including homelessness, sheriff’s office staffing and other topics. Martin told the room about the rights for those who go to live in vacant homes, so-called, squatters. Abandoned properties include foreclosures, a home where someone dies, and it remains empty or vacation homes where the owners live outside the area. The Sheriff says there are cases where his department is limited on what they can do, but trespassing is different, and they can do more there. The Sheriff says nearly 2 dozen positions have been cut from the agency, but they have five new sheriff trainees in the academy, starting their jobs in June. Residents were also able to ask questions after the presentation, and those touched on staffing shortages, response times and the homeless.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors takes up cannabis policy and recommendations from the Cannabis Cultivation Ad Hoc Committee. At their meeting tomorrow, the Supes will also consider starting a Local Equity Program for growers who have not been working in the legal market and how to change that. They’ll also consider putting in money for the long talked about feasibility study on possible licensing for the Potter Valley Project. The board has a busy morning tomorrow as they’ll also listen to a presentation from the Sonoma County Wildlife Rescue on non-lethal wildlife exclusion services to help get rid of certain animals encroaching on buildings and homes. Several proclamations and awards will also be presented.

More state aid is being considered for college students in the state so they can pay for housing, books and food and other non-tuition expenses. These are just some of the ideas proposed for California’s financial aid system. A presentation was made by the State Student Aid Commission last Thursday. It shows community college students would be benefitted the most with more than 300,000 more community college attendees becoming eligible for Cal Grants. Students at other schools in the University of California or California State University systems would not get more financial aid, but they could still be eligible for Cal Grants for tuition and other fees.

A new location is being considered for the Clearlake Public Works corporation yard. The City Council looking at a potential relocation for the yard which is on the Pierce Field airport property, which the city owns. But the city’s looking at a potential sale of the property. So the council’s considering instead some city-owned property on Ogulin Canyon Road. Lake Co News reports the city’s consulting engineer showed the council analysis of two sites on the other property, one on top of a hill and the other, below. The only problem is the yard wouldn’t be able to grow by that much in the new location.

The homeless problem in Santa Rosa has a new wrinkle as the Governor’s proposed putting emergency homeless shelters in an area of state-owned open space that was being considered for a greenway project with housing and shops. The Press Democrat reports the development on open space owned by Caltrans, is set for a green trail, more than 200 apartments and 12,000 square feet of commercial space. The City Council also just unanimously voted to convert the land for the project. But now the Governor’s office says they’re not forcing the city, or any other, to use the site, it’s just an offer. And the office says Governor Newsom wants to be “flexible” about shelter types.

A special meeting’s being held by the Lakeport City Council on a project for a new sidewalk at Library Park. The meeting tonight on the Library Park Sidewalk Replacement Project is the only matter on their agenda. The proposed $400,000 project with one bid only, just under that number after the engineer projected a cost of more than $435,000. After the storms of early 2017 and 2019, the area was damaged beyond repair. The seawall, as you may recall is being replaced. Now the sidewalk needs to be pulled out and replaced. FEMA and insurance are covering most of the construction which could start in the middle of next month.

A man in Clearlake has been arrested on drug and weapons charges after a chase. Cops say 27 year old Steven Farnan was pulled over after it was found he had an expired registration and was driving without a license. The probable cause stop turned up a concealed loaded firearm and possession of more than half an ounce of heroin. Farnan was contacted thru the driver’s side window at a gas station and tried to get away, but he was stuck. The police officer say a handgun in the guy’s waistband which he tried grabbing before getting out of the car, so the cop tased him. He was booked into jail after it was also found he was on Post Release Community Supervision and had previous weapon-related arrests.

The Lake County Registrar of Voters Office has announced the date for a public manual tally for the March 3rd primary in Calif. Monday, March 16th the public is invited to the registrar’s office starting at 9 a.m. at the Lake County Courthouse. There will be a minimum of 1 percent of randomly selected precincts counted which will have all of the campaigns being voted on in the Presidential Primary Election included. The precincts are randomly selected though before the manual, public tally. Those who want to attend are warned they may not in any way interfere with the election process.

State Sen. Bill Dodd has introduced a bill so traffic will be a little easier to navigate through one Northern Calif. highway. The Senator says the legislation will help reduce traffic snarls on Highway 37 and protect the highway from sea level rise due to climate change. The senator says the time is now to improve the highway as it connects the community to jobs and supports the economy. The highway connects Sonoma, Solano, Napa and Marin counties with as many as 40,000 vehicles moving along the roadway daily. Plus twice as many cars and trucks are expected to drive over the highway over the next two decades. The legislation would bring a new toll so money could be raised for the improvements. There would be state and federal matching funds too. Senator Dodd’s Facebook page had the announcement of the bill.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports a new phone scam. The would be crooks calling and saying they’re from the Sheriff’s office, but they are no way connected. The sheriff’s office reminding they never call folks for donations on the phone or in person. They say if this happens for you, to immediately call the office and report it. They also remind the public not to make donations to any phone solicitors. Some asking for the money to be left under your front door mat, something they also frown upon. And also, never give your personal info over the phone to strangers, especially your social security numbers, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, or address.

5 people have been arrested after a call to an assault on a woman. On Saturday, the Sheriff’s office got a call to Redwood Valley and found a woman was being taken to the hospital for injuries she got from the altercation with her boyfriend. Deputies also say while trying to investigate, a woman confronted them saying nobody else was there, but they said they heard people inside. KC Stillwell was arrested for lying and continuing to interfere with the investigation and a probation violation. Also Jessica Norton, Weston Riley and Nicholas Britton were found inside, some seemed high, one on parole and another on summary probation. Douglas Whipple was arrested for causing the injuries to the victim. Plus he was found with another man with a bunch of meth and syringes.

Mendocino and Lake counties are now included in the US drought monitor’s list of counties that are considered abnormally dry. That designation now covers almost 60 percent of the state, up from 46 percent a week ago. Another 9.5 percent is considered in a more serious moderate drought condition. The conditions now favor another summer of higher risk of wildfires unless we get significant rain in the next two months. Experts say there is still hope that March will bring adequate rainfall but there long-range forecast shows no relief in sight. The drought monitor blames a persistent weather pattern that has kept the rain to the north and south of California for the last several weeks.

Work could start as soon as next month on Ukiah’s downtown streetscape project. The City Council has approved an almost 6.5 million dollar contract for work that will narrow State Street from 4 lanes to 2, with a middle turning lane, make the street more pedestrian-friendly, add new traffic signals and provide bike racks and opportunities for outdoor dining. There was no opposition at this week’s council meeting to approve the project, in fact, there was strong support. Some of those who spoke said they have seen many near misses as people try to walk across the street and are anxious for the job to start. That could come in Mid-March after the city sits down for a pre-construction meeting with Ghilotti Construction of Santa Rosa which submitted the lowest bid on the project.

CHP says a man from Upper Lake was seriously injured in a four-vehicle crash on Highway 101. Officers say 26-year-old Edgar Moso was heading north near the Green Bridge when a southbound pickup veered into his lane and hit him head-on around 8:00 AM on Thursday. The impact spun Moso’s Volkswagen Jetta across the road where it was hit again by a semi and another vehicle. He was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital. The pickup driver was less seriously injured and two other people were treated and released at the scene. The wreck snarled traffic for about 3 hours. CHP is investigating.

A woman accused of sex trafficking in Lake County has been sentenced to probation. Lake Co News reports 29-year-old Krystina Pickersgill will be on probation for three years after she pleaded guilty to charges that she and her husband sold young local girls into prostitution in the Bay area in 2018. Prosecutors say several charges involving four other victims were dropped as part of the plea deal. A judge had refused to accept an earlier plea bargain in January 2019. Pickersgill’s husband, Sam Massette, was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December 2018.

The first confirmed case of Coronavirus has been reported in Humboldt County. The Humboldt County Health Department says the two residents were evaluated at St Joseph’s Hospital in Eureka last Sunday and that one tested positive for the virus while another showed symptoms. Both are in self-quarantine at home and monitored by doctors The health department says they pose no risk to the community. Health officer Dr. Theresa Frankovich says it’s not surprising that cases are showing up in Humboldt County because of the amount of foreign travel done by people who live there. She also says more cases are possible in travelers who return from abroad.

Passengers of a cruise ship evacuated to Travis Air Force Base in Solano County due to concerns about Coronavirus are free to go home. 178 people from the ship have been in quarantine at Travis since they got back to the states on Monday. 6 of those passengers were immediately sent to a hospital in Nebraska, while another 16 were taken to hospitals near the base after they were evaluated. The CDC says the people who were cleared to leave pose no risk to anyone else.

The Mendocino National Forest is offering two roadside hazard tree fire salvage sales for bids early next month. The Forest Service will accept sealed bids at the Mendocino National Forest Supervisor’s Office at 825 North Humboldt Ave in Willows at 10:30 on March 4. The trees are in an area northeast of Upper Lake and in another northwest of Stonyford. They include Douglas Fir, White Fir. Ponderosa Pine, Sugar Pine, and Incense Cedar. The National Forest website has information on the sale and how to bid.

The Lucerne Elementary School district is looking for volunteers to serve on an oversight committee to monitor spending from a 2016 bond issue. That 4 million dollar bond is being used for improvement at district schools. The committee will have seven members including 2 representatives of the community at large and representatives from businesses, senior citizens, parents, the PTO, and taxpayers. Once selected, they will look over staff reports to make sure the bond money is being spent as intended. Applications are due to the superintendent’s office on Country Club Drive by next Friday

Lakeport is looking for a Director of Community Development. A posting on the city’s website says qualified applicants should submit a cover letter, application, and three references by March 23rd. The job pays between $89,500 and $109,400 a year.

A woman from Upper Lake says quick action and teamwork by the Northshore Fire department saved her life after a heart attack. The Record-Bee says 82-year-old Marjorie Kohler was airlifted to Santa Rosa on February 12th after a call to 9 1 1. She is now recovering at home. She met with first responders this week and says without them, she might not have survived

The Redwood Valley Calpella fire department will be doing a training burn on Saturday. That burn is planned for 3901 Black Bart Trail in Redwood Valley starting at 8:00 AM and it should be over by 3:00 PM.

A judge has approved a settlement in a civil rights case that accused the state of not doing enough to help kids learn to read at dozens of poor-performing schools. The agreement calls for the Department of Education to spend 50 million dollars to beef up education programs in those schools and to improve reading programs statewide. The group that filed the suit back in 2017 says the settlement is a milestone that will transform California’s approach to literacy.

Traffic is flowing again after a serious crash this morning on Highway 101 south of Hopland. CHP reporting one person was hurt in that crash that involved 4 vehicles southbound near the Green Bridge around 8:00. All lanes were blocked for a time and traffic was jammed but the road is reopened. No word on what caused the wreck.

The city of Ukiah is allowing a cannabis facility to expand into a new building. Emerald Sun is planning to move part of its operation to a building on Airport Road. The Daily Journal reports the permit allowing the expansion is conditional, pending a site visit to make sure all the information used to approve it is correct. The building had previously been part of the former Mendocino Brewing company.

The Clearlake City council is talking about a mid-year budget adjustment of about $650,000. That adjustment is part of a review that’s done halfway through the fiscal year. Among the changes—-budgeting $500,000 for a bond for the planned Hope Center homeless and healthcare facility on Emerson Street. City officials say their review has found that the budget is in good shape and may even result in some savings when the final numbers come in when the fiscal year ends.

Some old records kept by the city of Willits may soon be going through the shredder. The City council has agreed to destroy those documents related to the cleanup at the old Remco Hydraulics Building because there isn’t enough space to keep them. 70 boxes have been stored since 2006 at a storage facility in Ukiah that is now going out of business. All of the cases related to the cleanup have been settled and so there is no need for the documents any longer, some of which date back far as 1995. The records could be spared if anyone wants to take them off the city’s hands at no cost.

A judge has ruled that the state can’t force California’s property insurance pool to write comprehensive policies. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara had ordered the Fair Access to Insurance Requirements Plan to offer broader policies but the judge says the law only allows for basic coverage. The FAIR plan is known as the insurer of last resort for people who otherwise can’t get fire insurance through no fault of their own. It is funded by insurance companies who have to pay in if they want to do business in the state who argued that offering comprehensive coverage would destabilize the insurance market. Thousands of people in fire risk areas have had their policies canceled or not renewed and have turned to the plan for help.

AM NEWS

Property crimes in Lakeport went down last year but there was a slight uptick in violent crime. Lakeport Police Chief Brad Rassmussen outlining those numbers at this week’s meeting of the city council. He says burglaries dropped from 59 in 2018 to 28 last year, while the number of reported larcenies was up slightly. 2019 also saw 3 rapes, 7 robberies, and 78 assaults. Alf those figures were up a bit from the year before. The chief also told the council that 2019 was a busy year for his officers with 17 percent more calls which were handled by a staff that was 17 percent smaller. He says that could be one reason that police response times increased year to year. Council members say the department is doing a good job both preventing crime and answering calls from people who need help.

The council also took up parking at its regular Tuesday meeting. Tickets will now go up between $15 and $25, depending on the violation. The last time those fines went up was 2009.

Lake County voters will have two choices for superior court judge when they vote on March 3rd, but neither will actually have their name on the ballot. The Lake Co News reports that DA Felony Prosecutor Lisa Proffit-O’Brien has turned in enough signatures to qualify as a write-in challenger to incumbent Judge David Markham. Markham had missed the December deadline to have his name printed on the ballot so he will be a write-in candidate too. Interim Registrar of Voters Dianne Fridley says both candidates will have to spend time making sure their supporters know that they’ll need to do more than check a box when they get in the voting booth. Its been a busy week for Fridley and her staff. In addition to reviewing Proffit-O’Brien’s paperwork, Tuesday was the last day for voter registration for the election that is now less than two weeks away. Mail-in voting has already started.

The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority says a fire in a shipping container on Leslie Street was probably started by someone who left a warming or cooking fire unattended. That fire Wednesday morning was quickly put out, but acting battalion chief Justin Buckingham says it shows how dangerous those fires can be if they aren’t carefully watched. He says his department has been on several similar runs in the past few weeks.

Health officials say people in Lake County shouldn’t lose any sleep over the risk of coronavirus. Two patients are being treated for the illness in Napa County but Lake County Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says he is confident that doctors in Napa are doing their jobs and limiting any contact with those patients, so there is very little chance that anyone else there—or here—will get sick. Dr. Pace says his office is watching the coronavirus outbreak carefully and is in regular contact with state health officials to get the latest information. The two people being held in isolation in Napawere among the American passengers evacuated from a cruise ship off the coast of Japan and taken to Travis Air Force Base earlier.

Coronavirus has grabbed the headlines, but the flu has killed 328 people in California since the season began. The latest figures from the state department of health show deaths from the flu are up 58 percent from this time last year. Doctors say the numbers will continue to rise as more cases are reported. It has been a bad flu season, especially for children because the current strain of the virus is harder for them to fight off. Doctors say people need to remember to use good hand hygiene and stay home if they do sick.

The DMV office in Ukiah will be open this Saturday to make things easier for people who need to replace their current driver’s license with a new federally compliant REAL ID. The state wants people to get those new licenses now, well before the deadline of October 1st. If you don’t have one by then, you won’t be able to get on a plane or enter secure federal buildings or military bases. Applicants have to bring additional ID including one verified proof of identity such as a valid passport or birth certificate, one proof of Social Security number and two proofs of California residency such as a bank statement or utility bill. People whose names have legally changed will have to show proof of that as well. The special Saturday hours in Ukiah are from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM. There is more information about all of this on the website Realid/dmv.ca.gov. By the way, if you want to make sure the license you carry now is compliant, look for a symbol of a bear with a gold star in the upper right-hand corner.

The Ukiah City Council scheduled to take up plans for a new look on State Street this evening. The project is referred to as the Road Diet because it will shrink the number of r lanes from 4 to 2 each way with a turn lane in the middle. The city hopes the work will make downtown more pedestrian-friendly and slow smooth traffic with the addition of the turn lane. There will also be new traffic signals, sidewalks repairs, and the addition of bike racks and outdoor dining locations. The winning bid of 6.45 million dollars was submitted by Ghilotti Construction of Santa Rosa. The contract is on the agenda for the council’s regular meeting which starts at 6:00

A rough start to the morning for several businesses on North State Street in Ukiah. Trevor Thurston, who owns Thurston Auto Plaza, tells KWINE that around 120 tires at several locations up and down North State Street had their tires slashed overnight—adding up to several thousand dollars worth of damage. Thurston says his surveillance video from about 12:30 this morning shows someone on his lot but the image isn’t clear enough for a description of the suspect, He hopes that anyone on that part of North State who has video or any other information contacts the sheriff’s office, which is investigating what happened.

CHP says a man from Ukiah has died in a crash on Interstate 5 in Yolo County. The man was killed in a three-vehicle collision on Thursday near Woodland. A woman in the car he was driving was seriously hurt while two children were less seriously injured. All three are also from Ukiah. The names of those involved have not been released.

A report out today says California needs to improve special education programs. The nonprofit group called Policy Analysis for California Education says schools are organized in a way that keeps disabled kids from reaching their potential. The authors say teachers need more training, programs need to be streamlined and students need more individual attention. About 725,000 children take part in special ed programs at school in California.

A trial date has again been set for a man accused of a double murder in Clearlake in October 2017. The Record-Bee reports 64-year-old Alan Ashmore is scheduled for a jury trial on March 4 in Lakeport. He is accused of killing his father, Douglas Ashmore, and another man named Richard Braden. He is also charged with the attempted murder of three CHP officers. The case has wound through the courts and has seen several possible trial dates come and go as doctors evaluated Ashmore’s mental capacity. He remains in custody.

CHP says its officers may have saved a life when they rescued a man who was apparently thinking of killing himself by jumping off a Mendocino County Bridge. The officers responded to a call about a man sitting on the edge of the bridge on Highway 101 just north of Confusion Hill early Saturday morning. That’s where they found the man, who police say was intoxicated and talking about suicide. Even though he became uncooperative, officers were able to get the man safely off the bridge railing. He was taken Adventist Health Ukiah Valley where he underwent a mental health evaluation.

The city of Clearlake is taking bids for improvements at its animal control facility. The winning bid will be announced on March 12th. Those bids will be sealed until then.

Some highly acclaimed wildlife films are getting a screening in Ukiah over the next few weeks. Starting this Friday, the Redwood Valley Outdoor Education Project is showing some of the top movies from this year’s International Wildlife Film Festival in Missoula Montana. The showings will continue on Friday evenings through March 20th at the Ukiah Civic Center. There is a suggested ten dollar donation that will support the RVOEP, which is a program in the Ukiah Unified School District that teaches kids about the environment in the classroom and on field trips.

New satellite pictures out today show the dry winter has left the Sierra Nevada snowpack significantly lower than last year. That could spell trouble ahead because a healthy snowpack is vital to
California’s water supply, providing about 30 percent of the water used in the state. Even though forecasters say it’s too soon to speculate about another long drought, there is a concern about what will happen. This is one of the wettest times of the year for the Sierra Nevada, so the snowpack could increase before it starts to melt in the spring. The long-range forecasts, however, suggest the dry conditions will continue

Willits has a new sustainability policy. The city council has said yes to the policy, which is part of its energy management plan. The guidelines say the city should commit to small changes to reduce energy use and use billing data to find ways to save. Once those steps are taken the city will then look at its facilities to see if there are any other conservation opportunities. City manager Stephanie Garrabant-Sierra calls it a basic plan that will help the city act responsibly to protect the environment. The council has also decided to look into energy audits to see if other changes could save both energy and money. City Council member Madge Strong thinks that is a good idea, noting that the Willits Sewage Treatment plant alone costs the city $14,000 a year for electricity.

Willits High School has won another accreditation from a group that certifies schools. Accrediting Commission for Schools Western Association of Schools and Colleges has extended that accreditation though 2023. Superintendent Mark Westerberg telling the district board that the extension confirms Willits High is going in the right direction based on graduation rates, number of students on the honor roll, and other factors. The district says accreditation is important because it helps school leaders track how well the school is doing.

The Clearlake City Council will talk about the city budget at its meeting this week. They’ll be doing a mid-budget year review and amending it if necessary. Also on the agenda at Thursday’s meeting, consideration of a proposal to relocate the city Public Works corporation yard. That plan would move the yard from its current location on city airport property to a 21-acre site on city-owned site on Ogulin Canyon Road. City staff members say the airport property is valuable for commercial development and that the Public Works office and shop there are outdated and will need to be replaced eventually anyway. The Clearlake Council meets at 5 PM in the council chambers at city hall on Olympic Drive.

A new boss at Sutter Lakeside Hospital. Lake Co News reports that Scott Knight is settling in after his first day on the job as chief administrator on February 3. Knight is moving up—he was the assistant administrator before this. He replaces Dan Patterson who left the hospital in Lakeport for the Sutter Regional Hospital in Santa Rosa. During his time in Lake County Patterson served on the Lakeport Development Advisory Council besides his hospital duties.

More people are staying overnight in Ukiah. The city says revenues from its transient occupancy tax are up—way up. Officials say Ukiah brought in about 2 million dollars last year from the tax, which is a 26 percent increase from the year before. They say that’s good news not only for the city’s bottom line but for the entire economy because of the ripple effects from money visitors spend within the community. City staff says a change in marketing strategy in 2011 is among the factors behind the increase. The City Council will get a report on the higher revenue at its meeting Wednesday.

Some new faces on the Middletown Area Town Hall. Lake Co News reports that Lisa Kaplan and Rosemary Cordova have been chosen for two open seats. The Town Hall also picked its leadership for the coming year, with Tom Darms picked as chair, while Sally Peterson will be the vice-chair. The election was originally set for January but was put off until this month because of worries about how the election would be held and how the public would be notified about the vote. The next meeting of the Town Hall will be March 12.

Congressman Mike Thompson says he’s happy that the US will not increase tariffs on imported wine. Thompson, who is a member of the congressional wine caucus, says increased tariffs would have hurt the state’s multi-billion-dollar wine industry. Caucus members had written to US trade representative Robert Lighthizer opposing the additional tariff. The congressman says he’ll work to make sure the next time tariffs come up, the wine industry will be protected. Thompson’s fifth district includes parts of Lake, Napa, and Sonoma counties.

State lawmakers are considering a bill that would make voting mandatory. The proposal by assembly member Marc Levine would not impose any penalties for not voting. He says the goal is
participation, not punishment. Levine is a Democrat and admits that his party would benefit if everyone voted because Democrats outnumber Republicans in the state by 2 to 1. About 75 percent of eligible voters cast ballots in 2016. Speaking of elections, the Presidential primary is two weeks from today and what California democrats decide could go a long way to decide who will challenge President Trump in the fall.

The US Census is gearing up and the Census Bureau is looking to hire. Lake County residents will have a chance to find out more about those jobs tomorrow at an information session in Upper Lake. The Census Bureau says it will need thousands of temporary workers to talk to people who did not return their Census forms. The meeting is from noon to 5 at the Upper Lake branch of the Lake County Library on Second Street. If you’re interested and can’t make it, there is information available on the website 2020census.gov.