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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

A construction company in the Central Valley whose owners ended up in prison for defrauding homeowners in Sonoma County after the Tubbs fire get to stay out of jail on bail. The ruling yesterday allow the co-defendants and spouses Salavador and Pamela Chiaramonte to be out of jail on bail bond as the proceedings continue. The pair charged with nearly 60 counts of diversion of construction funds to grand theft of personal property and much more. Their $250,000 bails though had to be proven the money was legitimately earned and also not fraudulent. They’re accused with family members of defrauding fire victims. Their cases continue in October.

No decisions yet about what to do with all of the money from PG&E Sonoma County is getting as part of their bankruptcy case settlement. The Board of Supervisors is tabling how to spend almost $150 million in wildfire settlement money and will get public comment before coming back with their decision this fall. The meeting yesterday was the first time the settlement spending was broached amongst the public. $149.3 million was paid to the county by the utility company in June for the October 2017 firestorm that killed 24 people and burned 5,300 homes. It also comes at a time that 50 people have died from the COVID-19 pandemic and tens of thousands have no jobs.

A new report says thanks to personal relationships the Public Utilities Commission made high-level hiring decisions. The State Personnel Board report showed the PUC Executive Director Alice Stebbins used her position to advance former associates at previous jobs for positions at two California state environmental departments. Now Stebbins is on administrative leave as the commission does an internal review after the personnel board wrote some of those hirings had, “highly questionable legitimacy.” She’s been the head of the commission since 2018 when the commission was facing pressure to be tougher on the oversight of PG&E after the deadly fires in Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

Rumors, just that, of an Immigration & Customs Enforcement Helicopter hovering over the county for immigration raids. The Mendocino Sheriff Matt Kendall says an ICE helicopter spotted at the airport was to help find illegal marijuana farms. He says there is so much land in the county under federal jurisdiction that the county taps federal resources to find illegal marijuana farms. He says that ultimately saves the county money and is a way to pass that savings on to the county.

The city manager in Lakeport is leaving a new manager named. Margaret Silveira retired at the end of last month. During an online meeting, there was a going away celebration for Silveira with a video tribute. Her deputy, Kevin Ingram, is the new manager after being the Community Development Director and City Manager Assistant. At the meeting Ingram spoke about the pandemic and how it’s impacting city workers, but said he was hopeful for the future. He says he wants to repair and update city infrastructure and get a new park erected at an unused school.

The Chief of Staff at Adventist Health has put out a statement regarding the pandemic. Dr. William Miller says he agrees that shutting down the economy was successful to avoid a disastrous surge in coronavirus cases, and as things have loosened cases have predictably spiked.  Dr. Miller says that’s why we need more testing, but that’s not been happening along with aggressive contact tracing and quarantine measures. Again there’s a shortage of testing supplies and overwhelmed labs. He says public health departments across the state can’t keep up. He says the problem with it all lays in the hands of the federal government’s inadequate response.

More than a dozen new cases of COVID-19 have turned up in Lake County, with the county hitting 253 cases. Yesterday we reported a surge of 20 cases, to hit 240, now 13 more cases in one day. It comes with 259 more tests results coming in. The Public Health Office reports 30 active cases and 221 recovered. At the same time the Board of Supervisors is still considering ways to enforce mask wearing and social distancing measures.  Mendocino County had 6 more cases for a total of 478 cases.

A new partnership with Google has been announced for earthquake warnings. The Gov. announced the partnership for those with phones with the Android operating system to feature early warning technology. The same info to send out alerts will come from California’s Earthquake Early Warning System. Gov. Newsom says Calif. will have a world class Earthquake Early Warning System as a standard function on every Android phone. Last fall he announced the first ever early warning system for smart phones, called “MyShake”. Now Google is expanding on that for Androids. For more info, visit .

The bill State Senator Mike McGuire has drafted to protect journalists from physical attacks or being detained has made it through the first Assembly committee. The legislation to protect media members at demonstrations passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee unanimously. McGuire says the press risks their personal health and safety when they’re out at protests or rallies to get the public needed information. He goes on to say California should be the leader, making sure the press is protected by their First Amendment rights. The Press Freedom Act moves next to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, then to the Assembly floor for a full vote later this month.

A man in Lakeport in court after charges of child molestation and lewd acts. He was in court last fall in the case after he was charged with oral copulation, sending harmful material to a minor, lewd acts and annoying or molesting a child under 18 and indecent exposure. 32 year old David Johnson booked into the Santa Rita Jail last year and brought to Lake County soon after. There have been several court dates since, all continued.  The man waived his right to a preliminary hearing and was ordered to a jury trial which was set for January. Then also continued. He is currently not in custody. During remote proceedings DNA evidence was discussed  but not what it was. Johnson while out of jail may not even go to the grocery store and is under supervised conditional release and under the supervision of a probation officer. But that is now under further consideration. He’s due back in court Monday.

Adventist Health’s CEO reporting some employees at one of their clinics have tested positive for coronavirus. He says they’ve increased safety measures at their clinics since the pandemic started and says there’s no evidence of exposure to patients from those who contracted the virus, which happened outside of the clinic. Those infected had mild symptoms and are isolating at home.

No new cases have been reported at the Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing Facility so far this week, and two more residents got to leave the hospital and are considered recovered and no longer contagious. The two left Adventist Health Mendocino Coast yesterday and returned to Sherwood Oaks. There are however four other residents who are still in the hospital but are expected to be okay, as their conditions are reportedly improving.  

Workshops for local businesses and at home workers regarding managing workers in the time of COVID-19 and more. The West Business Development Center is hosting the workshops this month – tomorrow will be for entrepreneurs, then another next week about how to sell on Etsty. And another after that on email marketing. The Center says as schools continue remote learning, small business owners and parents who are managing work from home and helping their kids, probably feel overwhelmed. So, they’ll also feature a business coach, specialized in work from home and optimizing your business. There will also be a financial manager at a later date. For more info, the has all of the dates and registration info.

Chromebook distribution has been put on hold for the Ukiah Unified School District after a school employee has tested positive for coronavirus. No other information has been released about who the employee is for privacy reasons. The spokesperson for the school district says some children who already received their Chromebooks yesterday should disinfect the devices. But he also adds that that should be standard practice whenever getting items such as this.

Another 22 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Mendocino County, bringing the total to 472. Mendo Fever is reporting that means the last month has seen a spike of 341%. Contact tracing is being done for nearly half of the positive Mendocino County cases. Females are getting the infection at a higher rate than males. And we’re still seeing a disproportionate number of positive cases in the LatinX community. And two new cases are in children 6-12 years old and 3 in those 13-18. 11 more cases have been identified in ages 19-34. 12 people are in the hospital and 3 are in an ICU.

The Mina Fire in the Round Valley area has charred several acres, but evacuations have been lifted. The fire near Hopper Lane and Crawford Road in Covelo was burning last night near structures and charred timber and oak. Mendocino Sheriff Matt Kendall said last night the evacuations were lifted because the fire wasn’t a threat anymore. The fire was in mop up stage near the evacuations last night and roads were re-opened. The Sheriff warning though that there was still a lot of equipment and big fire trucks on the scene. Two outbuildings and some cars were damaged. The fire has burned 171 acres and is 30% contained.

An employee at the Coyote Valley C-Store has tested positive for coronavirus. The test showed positive because there’s mandatory testing for all enterprise and tribal employees. So the fuel pumps will be open, but no cash transactions will be done and propane is unavailable right now.  The store itself is closed for cleaning and to make way for contact tracing with Mendocino Public Health.

Several injuries after a solo car crash in Garberville. The CHP, Covelo Volunteer firefighters and several other law enforcement agencies and medical helicopters on the scene early Saturday morning. Nearby residents helped people out of the Mazda CX5 after the car went off the road into a tree and the car burst into flames. Those in the car had moderate to major injuries and ended up in various Northern California hospitals. And the driver, identified as Milton Hoaglen has been arrested on suspicion of DUI. 

Two more residents at Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing in Fort Bragg have tested positive for COVID-19. About 3-4 days after testing was conducted last week the positives turned up, but the head of the facility says the two were barely symptomatic. They were admitted anyway to Adventist Health Mendocino Coast as a precaution. Two others who were in the hospital have recovered and were taken back to the facility. So far there have been 9 residents and 5 staff who have recovered, but 7 have died. Another seven still in the hospital are expected to recover and return to Sherwood Oaks this week.

Hospitalizations in Calif. are down, mostly because of a couple of regions where case numbers are falling. The Press Democrat reports more than 5,600 current hospitalizations across the state, 670 yesterday in the Bay Area and Alameda County, the lowest since mid-July. Nearly 27% less hospitalizations in San Francisco since a week before and almost 18% lower in Alameda County. Statewide the numbers were down 11.5% overall, in the past week. And since the major peak of July 21st, the number is down 21%.

Clearlake City Council members looking at a possible salary increase as they conducted their meeting online. Due to the pandemic most of the local or government agencies were meeting over the phone or online.  Council members make $300/month, last approved in 1989. The money is based on population, which is 15,000 right now. Each year they’re allowed a salary bump of 5% since their last adjustment. Phill Harris, who is not seeking re-election and whose seat will be open soon broached the subject. The proposal would take their salary up another $465 to a total of $765 per month.

A man accused of molesting two children may be waiting longer for his trial. 70 year old Bert Tino Besio of Clearlake was in court for a Settlement/Trial Setting Conference, but the other side asked for the continuance and it was approved until Friday. He’s pleaded not guilty in the case after his trial date was set for January. Last October the court found enough evidence for a jury trial. But he went into the hospital since then for a mild stroke. The case after the man was accused of two counts of aggravated sexual assault of a minor, five counts of forcible lewd acts upon a child and three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child on two children under 13.

A town hall is being hosted with Congressman John Garamendi by the Lake County Democratic Party. The event next Wednesday, August 19th at 6 pm. He represents a large area of Lake County and serves on the House Armed Services Committee and the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. He’s also previously served on the Science, Space, and Technology, Natural Resources, and Agriculture committees. The Zoom Town Hall is hosted by the Programs & Recruitment Committee of the Lake County Democratic Party.  

20 new cases of coronavirus have been identified in Lake County. The Public Health Office reported a total of 240 cases now in the county with 25 active. Yesterday we reported 220 cases, but the 20 additional cases were confirmed just yesterday, up 20 from Friday. 213 people are considered recovered in Lake County, and no longer contagious. 2 people have died and there are no reports of any residents hospitalized. Nearby counties, here in Mendocino 472 confirmed cases and 10 deaths, in Glenn, 360 cases and 3 deaths, Napa has had more than 1,070 cases and 11 deaths, the most for any neighboring county is Sonoma, they’ve had 3,750 cases and 50 deaths now. Yolo County, much smaller with nearly the same 44 deaths, but half the cases as Sonoma, with 1,834 cases.

3 more COVID-19 deaths in Sonoma County bring the total to 50 people who have died from the virus. Health officials say the 3 who recently died were all over 65, were living in skilled nursing centers and had underlying medical conditions. Over the weekend the county confirmed 239 new infections, then another 83 yesterday for 3,750 countywide. And in Cloverdale, another nursing or elder care facility is the 5th now to have a death of at least one resident. Of the 50 who have died as a result of complications due to the virus, 40 lived in these facilities.

The Lake County Public Health Office has released new demographics, as they do every week, on COVID-19 cases. There have been 240 cases in the county, 32 more than one week ago. The data shows close contacts were the main way the infection is spreading, 116 of the total cases. 54 other cases were still being investigated, and 33 were listed as other or unknown. Mostly females, like in Mendocino County, were contracted the disease in Lake County. As far as ages, 54 cases in those 25 to 34, 40 more cases in 13-24 year olds and in the 35-44 age range too. The most cases in Clearlake, followed by Lakeport and Kelseyville then Clearlake Oaks.

Classes begin again in most Lake County schools this week. After jostling back and forth between in person or online, most schools are online. Schools abruptly closed mid-March as the pandemic first surfaced and only days before the stay home orders went into full effect across the state.  The Lake County Office of Education reports school has already started for the Clearlake Creativity School. Tomorrow Lakeport Unified, Lucerne Elementary and Upper Lake. There were other schools that were supposed to start Monday, but they were pushed until next week and more start the third week of the month too. There is Distance Learning, a mix of in person and Distance, and fully in person with strict safety restrictions in place for staff and students. And Lake Co News reports some schools are opening with no restrictions.

Possible COVID-19 exposure at the Mendocino County Assessor-Clerk Recorder’s offices means a temporary closure of the office. There’s no re-opening date yet, just sometime later in the month. They ask that you watch their website for more information. There will however be a small number of Elections staff in the office to complete the extended candidate filing deadline which is this Wednesday. They’re also preparing the ballot and sample ballots to be mailed out. They’re following the Public Health Orders including social distancing and wearing face masks while they’re working in the office. If you have an appointment, they’ll call to cancel or reschedule.

A man from Willits has been arrested after reports of a domestic violence incident. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports getting a call last Friday finding Victor Lopez outside the home. His wife looking through the man’s phone and found he had texted another woman so Lopez says she pulled his hair as he tried leaving the house. But deputies say he forgot his phone so he went back for it and the couple argued some more. The woman says as Lopez left her finger was caught in his hair and he punched her in the face and threw her to the ground. He was arrested and held without bail due to a parole violation.

A call from a family in Willits about a family member threatening them ends in that man’s arrest. Last Tuesday morning deputies found Jacob McKey at the residence where family members say he was threatening one of them with death. McKey demanded deputies leave. They removed another family member and left McKey alone, but he left the house and shined a flashlight at deputies which turned into a laser, then deputies heard several gunshots. Deputies left the scene and called for backup. Deputies finally talked the guy down, he came out of the home unarmed and was arrested for having several firearms and criminal threats. He’s held on $500,000.00 bail.

The end of a long criminal case after two bodies are found in a parked van along Highway 20 in Fort Bragg. The Sheriff’s office says they got a report in October of 2013 to the bodies in the 31000 block of Highway 20, the area of Bark Dumps. Deputies found Jim Tat Kong and Cindy Bao Feng Chen dead in the van. They said at the time they had been shot in the back of their heads. Several law enforcement agencies worked on the incident and came up with a suspect, Wing Wo Ma. He was arrested 5 years ago in Oakland by the FBI on drug charges. He was held until 2017 without bail and was indicted on several charges including murder with a firearm, corruption, bribery of officials and conspiracy. Last November he was convicted and last week sent to prison for life.

A small airplane has crashed in Williams on its way to Mendocino County. Friday night the Lake County Sheriff’s Office got a report from the Williams Soaring Center about the overdue aircraft, a MINI Glider. It left Lampson Airfield that afternoon. The aircraft was found in Lakeport and deputies found the pilot, the only one in the aircraft, dead. The FAA was called and along with the NTSB will investigate the crash. The pilot has been identified as 89 year old Matthew Herron of San Rafael. 

There’s a new homeless shelter in Lakeport. Hope Harbor’s Covid-19 Center is at the old Juvenile Hall, the third location for the shelter. It’s actually the Elijah House Lake County Shelter as Hope Harbor’s contract has ended. Elijah House reports all juveniles who were in the location were moved to Red Bluff. Elijah House Foundation hails from Oroville and has three other locations in Butte, Tehama and Contra Costa Counties. They were the only agency to bid to take over the shelter when Hope Harbor’s contract ended. Their contract runs thru October.  

A man on parole from prison has been found by CHP and Caltrans workers near the Highway 101 onramp to Talmage in Ukiah. Officers say the man died even though they tried to save him. His probation officer says he was released from prison early because of the safety restrictions at Calif. prisons due to COVID-19. The man’s probation officer says the state should do more to protect released inmates, like this man, who ended up on the street without support. The man was incarcerated at Soledad State Prison and due to be released in November. He got a bus ride to the Ukiah area and apparently had no transitional housing. It appears to be a drug overdose.

Major surge of coronavirus cases in Mendocino County over the weekend, with 70 confirmed positives. The Mendocino County Public Health Office reported 19 cases yesterday and 51 Saturday. They say Saturday’s massive caseload was due to test results and a new lab being used. 34 of the results were from July 31st to August 8th, this past Saturday. There are now 450 total cases of COVID-19 in the County. Also the Board of Supervisors is getting tough on enforcement, approving a contract with a security guard company to monitor folks in quarantine, focusing on those who are refusing to stay inside. 13 people are in the hospital and one in the ICU. 10 people have died from coronavirus in Mendocino County.

The Ukiah School Superintendent sending out a letter to parents as summer vacation winds down and Distance Learning for the fall semester kicks off soon.  The school district looking at different models for online learning. They’re asking for flexibility from parents at this uncertain time. The superintendent says they heard mixed results from parents and say some had a good experience, while others didn’t. She says there will be a dramatically different experience with more time for online live learning from a credentialed teacher, with common structures across each school and classroom, staff professional development specifically for distance learning, and software enhancements.  They’re also continuing with food distribution of free breakfast and lunch this year. 

At least three businesses in Mendocino County continue to struggle with COVID-19 outbreaks including Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing. Dr. Noemi Doohan says it’s being contained with the help of the County, Adventist Health, the State, and employees at Sherwood Oaks. There were no new deaths within the last week. Ukiah Post Acute Care has had 5 employees test positive, but no residents. At Walmart, it’s not considered an outbreak because there have to be 3 employees sick who were connected by close contact, which is being investigated.  Environmental Health was there cleaning over the weekend.  There is no new information from this morning on any of the outbreaks.

There will be a lot more public access in the South Cow Mountain Off Highway Motorvehicle Management area. That’s due to the just finished acquisition of a ranch near Lakeport. The Bureau of Land Management Ukiah Field Office reports the acquisition was the almost 1,400-acre Blue Oak Ranch which is right beside Highway 175 near the town of Lakeport. The ranch was paid for with money from the Land and Water Conservation Fund and the California State Park Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division Grants Program.

It’s getting to be that time of year, when bears have foraged and start to end up in neighborhoods. With that a warning for parts of the state including in Lake County. In Clear Lake a cub was hit by a car on Highway 20 near Paradise Cove. That was at the beginning of June, then a few weeks later, 2 cars hit a bear on Highway 29 near Lower Lake. Four bears hit by cars in Yosemite and another one walked onto a golf course in Truckee during a PGA event in the last several weeks. There have been a bunch of reports of bears seen in and around Lassen National Park. And a black bear was seen at the end of June wandering on the beach in Glenhaven.

The Lake County Public Health Office releasing more info on COVID-19 which seems to be holding steady, but reports with testing difficulties could change that. Dr. Gary Pace reports the county at 220 cases, that’s 25 more cases, but over a one week period. Dr. Pace reported Friday there were 24 active cases and 194 recovered. There was however a second death in the county last Wednesday. The first was reported on July 3. Nobody is in the hospital currently. The test positivity rate sits at 4.6 percent, something Dr. Pace says is manageable. He did report on long waits for tests with some saying it’s taken them seven to 10 days or longer for their test results. He says that led to Quest modifying their procedures and outsourcing more work.

The driver of a pickup truck that rolled over the weekend died, but the CHP says it’s because he bailed from the truck and jumped off a bridge. The California Highway Patrol says the driver rolled the pickup on the East Fork Russian River bridge Saturday. The Ukiah office for the patrol says around dinner time Saturday they got a bunch of 911 calls about a crash on Highway 20 just west of the Bushay campground entrance, then people called to say the driver jumped off the bridge. Deputies found the pickup truck on its side, blocking the highway on the bridge. The incident is being investigated.

The top public health official in the state has resigned a couple of days after the state says it fixed the issue of test results taking too long. The Press Democrat reports Dr. Sonia Angell resigned Sunday, but no reason was given in her resignation letter to her staff. And the California Health and Human Services Agency has not expanded on why she left either. The Gov. thanked her for her service. Now the position will be filled on an interim basis by the VP of external engagement for California Health Care Foundation.

PG&E has been ordered to do a better job inspecting their high-voltage power lines, to hire more tree-trimming supervisors and upgrade its record keeping on how old its electrical equipment is. It’s all part of their criminal case and bankruptcy after multiple disastrous and fatal wildfires dating back several years. The work all part of the criminal case after the San Bruno explosion, for which the utility was on probation. The conditions to prevent any more wildfires following the Camp fire in Butte County 2 years ago.

The first case of an inmate contracting coronavirus has been reported in the Mendocino County Jail. Apparently it was a man who had been extradited from out of state on a Mendocino County warrant. They’re supposed to be quarantined for 14 days before coming into the prison and a test to make sure there’s no infection upon arrival showed a positive. So the inmate is now isolated in the facility. They’re being monitored there with the help of Mendocino County Public Health.

New school reopening guidelines have been released from the state. The rules for elementary schools planning in-person learning even though most schools will restart with online classes. The Gov. announced schools on the state’s watch list within the last two weeks can only do online learning. But elementary schools can apply for a waiver. A school superintendent, private school principal, or executive director of a charter school can apply. Schools have to show they’ve spoken with parents and teachers’ unions about their reopening plans, and that they’ve published then on the school’s website. That has to include cleaning and disinfection plans, mask wearing, protective gear, health screenings, contact tracing, physical distancing and so much more.

The Sites Fire still burning in Colusa County and inching pretty close to Clearlake. It presents a set of challenges for firefighters due to the pandemic. The firefighters have to be separated and their equipment disinfected more often then in regular times. Colusa County also has the third highest infection rate in the state.  The Red Cross is also handline evacuees differently, people can’t just crowd into a huge school gymnasium, instead, they’re putting folks up in hotels and if not, in a gym, with strict social distancing. So far the fire has burned 560 acres and is 58% contained.

The state watching Sonoma County’s COVID numbers, as the county continues dealing with an out of control surge of cases. The Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says the county’s been on the state watchlist three weeks because of high rates of virus transmission well above benchmarks the state has set for reopening plans. The county is averaging about twice as many cases per 100,000 residents than allowed. Nearly 1,000 cases in two weeks, Dr. Mase says, shows the infection transmission is too high. They need to hit 100 per 100,000 people, but average about 188.

People told to leave their homes near Clearlake have been able to return as the Sites Fire reached 55% containment last night. The fire in Colusa County has charred 560 acres after breaking out Sunday afternoon. The fire’s the biggest this year so far and led to evacuations and road closures, but both eased yesterday as crews contained surrounding the fire yesterday. There’s been no structures destroyed but 12 were still threatened last night.

Willits owns a piece of its own. The city has ownership of Main Street after Caltrans gave it up. The street goes from the intersection at Highway 20 just past Willits High. The city manager and deputy city manager say they’re hoping to have a city party and ribbon cutting ceremony at some point on Main St. but can’t right now due to the pandemic. The road ownership means the city will maintain it plus a couple of traffic signals, something the state agency could cost up to $140,000 a year. The city says it has a plan but they want a sales tax increase too due to the pandemic. But it’s been struggling with less revenue over the last few years. They’ve cut staff and services and brought in more money with marijuana taxes. Plus the city’s dipped into reserves.

More coronavirus cases in Mendocino County. Another high day, 9 new cases for a total of 331. 66 are in isolation and ten people remain hospitalized. The 9 new cases in the Ukiah Valley.

A couple more inmates have died from Covid-19 at San Quentin State Prison. Corrections officials say one of them was on death row. The two both died outside the prison at a hospital. They were 48 year old Orlando Romero, who was sent to death row in 1996 for first-degree murder and second-degree robbery while armed with a firearm. He and his brother arrested for randomly robbing people. No word on the other inmate. They were the latest of nearly 2 dozen now who’ve died from the pandemic. 9 were on death row. It’s the hardest hit prison in the state with about 70% of the inmates contracting the virus. 49 inmates across Calif. have died of complications from the virus.  

Surge of Covid-19 cases in Lake County. The Public Health Office reports  13 new cases as of Friday.  There have been 208 positive cases. Right now, there are 25 active cases, 182 recovered and one person has died. No cases are in the hospital, but in the past there have been 17.  The state is nearing 519,000 cases and 9,500 deaths. Lake Co News reports 24,420 healthcare workers have also contracted the virus and 128 have died. Nearby county counts, Colusa County has had 331 cases and  four deaths; Glenn, 332 cases, one death; Mendocino, 331 cases, nine deaths; Napa with 963 cases and nine deaths; and Sonoma, with more than 3,100 cases and 39 deaths; Yolo with half the population of Sonoma, has had about half the case load, almost 1,600 cases, but more deaths, 42.

Lake County has released their weekly demographics showing nearly 7,200 Covid-19 tests conducted. The info shows most of the cases have been contracted from close contacts. 33 more cases from one week to the next. Of the 208 cases in the county, more than half were from a close contact. 51 cases are noted as being investigated, 23 from out of county contact, 17 unknown source – but thought to be from community spread, six from work contact.  Most of the cases were in women, 113 cases. And the highest amount of cases in 25 to 34 year olds, then in 13 to 24 year olds. 

A man accused of murder in court in Lake County. His trial was set for June, after a couple of other court dates during the pandemic. The latest hearing ended with the matter headed to a settlement or trial date setting conference in a few weeks. 21 year old Mavrick Fisher accused of the murder of Grant David Whitaker of Mackinaw, Illinois in August of last year. The two traveling together to a campground where the victim was allegedly killed. The two reportedly planned on starting a deaf camp together, per Whitaker’s family members.  Fisher pleaded not guilty last fall and his trial was set for January, then pushed to March and continued again. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports Fisher admitted to the killing and gave instructions where his body could be found. Bail has been denied.

A man from Fort Bragg’s been arrested after a call to Westport for a domestic disturbance. Mendocino deputies called Friday to the incident and found Dennis Day and a woman he was in a romantic relationship with, which included children in common. They say there had been a verbal argument that led to a physical confrontation, where the man pushed the woman down to the ground.  Deputies say she had minor visible injuries consistent with the reported assault. So Day was arrested for domestic violence battery and booked into Mendocino County Jail and held on $25,000.00 bail

The outbreak at the Sherwood Oaks facility in Fort Bragg continues as 7 more residents have been sent to the hospital. The Mendocino County Public Health Dept. says they’re working closely with Sherwood Oaks staff the state and Adventist Health on the matter. There have been 20 Residents and 8 employees and 1 community member who have contracted the disease. 7 residents have also died, 6 on the premises and one at a hospital. There have been 6 residents and 5 staff members hospitalized. The administrator of Sherwood Oaks says it’s been a difficult time for everybody in their community and they appreciate the help and collaboration they’re receiving from the hospital and public health.

A revised health order is coming from the Mendocino County Public Health dept. The order will focus on outdoor gatherings in cars or in bubbles of people. Public health says it’s crucial for all residents to continue to follow current health orders to protect the health of the county.  

A man from Oregon has been arrested after an attack on US Postal Service workers in Ukiah. Police say they got a call Friday morning to the Post Office on South Orchard Avenue to a man attacking postal workers. They say when they got there, there were 4 employees holding down a man who cops quickly handcuffed. They found a .40 caliber Glock pistol on him. Employees say Timothy Raybould parked in the employee parking lot and was looking into cars and acting suspicious so somebody approached. They told him to leave and say he attacked them. Others came outside to help, and say he attacked them too. One of them ended up with their hips fractured and went to a hospital. Raybould was arrested on several charges including suspicion of illegal weapons possession, possession of a controlled substance and battery causing great bodily injury.

Two seats remain open on the Willits Unified School District Board. They’re open to campaign for any resident 18 or older who’s registered to vote. The application deadline is this Friday for the four year position.  The president and clerk position are open. If either of the trustees whose terms are expiring decide they will run again, then the deadline for applications is extended to Aug. 12th, a week from Wednesday.

A lawsuit regarding logging on the Gualala River in Sonoma County could be moved to federal court if a local nonprofit has their way. Friends of Gualala River have been fighting five years to move their suit forward. Now they’re working with the Center for Biological Diversity to get the Gualala Redwood Timber’s Dogwood Timber Harvest Plan stopped. The two entities filing together to sue Gualala Redwood Timber and the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection claiming violations of the Endangered Species Act. They say the logging operations seriously harm the watershed and five federally listed endangered species.

A man with a criminal history taken down after dousing himself in gasoline and threatening to kill himself. Mendocino County deputies in a standoff with the man who was holding a lighter in his vehicle. The sheriff says that stopped them from being able to use tear gas or other gas agents on him, that are typically utilized in this sort of situation. A volunteer firefighter sprayed him and his vehicle until he finally emerged from the car and was taken down by a police dog. They also had a drone overhead and saw a long gun on the man who had broken out the window of his truck. That turned out to be a pellet gun. Mendocino Supervisor Ted Williams is also a volunteer with the Albion Fire Department and was on scene along with the California Highway Patrol, California Parks Service, Fish and Wildlife, Ukiah Police Department, Albion Fire Department, and a local ambulance company.  

Another urgency ordinance will be considered by the Lake County Board of Supervisors regarding the coronavirus pandemic. This one looking to further enforce the health officer’s orders and the state’s on mask wearing and other restrictions. The meeting in hybrid format due to the pandemic, partly online, partly in board chambers.  The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace is giving his weekly update on the pandemic. After that the supervisors will consider an ordinance to fine folks who refuse to follow the guidance in county health orders. It says in the urgency ordinance that studies show facial covering can reduce respiratory virus infections and slow community spread of COVID-19. The proposed ordinance gives the Public Health Officer authority for appropriate action including fines or citations to businesses and individuals.

A fire is burning Colusa County, straddling the line with Lake County. The Sites fire was reported yesterday afternoon and by last night has burned 540 acres with 20% containment. There are some evacuations on Sites Lodoga Road and Squaw Creek Road in Colusa County. Yesterday afternoon about a dozen structures were threatened. It was windy too and Cal Fire said there was a dangerous rate of spread. There were also some road closures reported on the evacuated streets and for the community of Sites, a few others.

Somehow thieves have stolen a massive water tank from the Leggett Fire Station. The fire department says a 5,000 gallon tank was swiped over the weekend. The fire station power shuts the water pump, radio and garage doors was also disabled as the thieves made off with the tank. The fire department is asking anyone who may know something to call, they’re offering a $1000 reward for any information that leads to the recovery of the tank. The department says besides a financial loss to them, it’s a danger to the area when they lose power, if someone needed them, they couldn’t protect the community. On their Facebook page, they posted, “all volunteer members of Leggett Fire are disappointed that anybody would steal anything from a Fire Department. Karma comes back around.”

A man accused of murdering his daughter a few years ago in Hidden Valley Lake has had a court appearance regarding a doctor’s report. Steven Miller accused of shooting his daughter, Hannah Welch to death in May of 2017. At his preliminary hearing nearly a year later, the court found enough evidence to try him for murder, and for exhibiting a weapon. The court appearance over video with his lawyer and the prosecution to hear the mental health evaluation to see if he’s competent to stand trial after he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. This is a continuation after a May 2018 mental health evaluation from three doctors all finding him incompetent to stand trial. Now a follow up report shows he’s competent to understand the proceedings against him. So another court appearance is set for December and a possible jury trial for next January.

The coronavirus pandemic is continuing to surge in Sonoma County, with the county passing 3,000 positive cases. And 2 more deaths at nursing facilities in the county. 32 people or 82% of the deaths in the county have been residents at skilled nursing homes and residential care facilities. The Press Democrat reports more than 250 nursing home residents and workers had become infected by the middle of last week, and of those 144 were residents. The newspaper reports most of the cases and deaths were at three facilities: Broadway Villa Post Acute in Sonoma and Petaluma Post Acute and EmPres Post Acute Health and Rehabilitation in Petaluma.

Six families have lost their home after a fire burns an apartment complex in Ukiah. The fire Friday morning at the corner of Observatory Avenue and South State Street. Ukiah Police and deputies from the Sheriff’s Office on the scene with Ukiah Valley Fire Authority helping to get everyone out of the building safely. There were no reported injuries and firefighters say they weren’t aware of any animals either injured or killed either. The apartment building had five units. Firefighters on the scene around 7 am and had to wait to enter to inspect because it was very hot inside for some time. They say it looks to have been accidental, where too many electrical appliances were plugged into a power strip, but since everything was too damaged, they couldn’t say what first caught fire.

The name of the victim of a fire at a home in Albion has been released. The Albion Fire Department on the scene July 11th after Sylvia Stanley’s home burned. Her son Mike was apparently at home asleep. A body found in the fire, but a positive i.d. could not be made right away due to the extreme conditions. But now the Mendocino County Sheriff confirmed the body was 39-year-old, Mike Stanley. The Daily Journal reports Sylvia has been ill with cancer too.

Another death due to COVID-19 has been reported in Mendocino County. The Mendocino County Public Health Dept. posted another death from one of the patients at the Sherwood Oaks skilled nursing facility. That makes 3. It’s not included on the county’s coronavirus dashboard yet, but the county’s now had 9 people died due to the pandemic. The dashboard continues to show the most cases in the LatinX community, nearly 180 out of the total 299 cases. 7 people are currently in the hospital, but none in the ICU. There are 66 active cases. There’s testing this weekend in Laytonville and Redwood Valley.

Unemployment looking up in Calif. The Employment Development Department reports 7 million people have filed initial claims since March. There’s also been a backlog in processing those, but the Governor says they’ll hire a lot more people to deal with that. This past week saw nearly a quarter million more people file first time claims, but it was down more than 40,000 from a week before when 289,600 workers filed claims. Across the country there were more than 1.4 million claims, up 200,000 or so from a week before. Lawmakers of both parties have been complaining to the governor that there needs to be a better way to get thru the massive pile of claims that have been filed since March.

State experts being called to Sonoma County as outbreaks of Covid-19 continue unabated at skilled nursing facilities. The Press Democrat reports the Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase told reporters the state would be helping after 25 residents at the facilities died. So far 32 people have died in the county due to complications from the virus. The county had reportedly asked for help from the state early this week. Dr. Mase says it’s to try to slow the spread of the virus at the facilities and help them “get out of the outbreak mode and move toward recovery. The state is the regulatory authority for such facilities. And the newspaper reports the county’s on the lookout for al alternate care site as some of the facilities are quite cramped.

Several hundred goats are being deployed along the 101 between Healdsburg and Geyserville to eat brush. A firebreak project is bringing in 400 goats to much away the dry vegetation thru next week. They were brought in to clear about an acre and a half and will stay there until it’s gone along with a guard dog and goat herder. There’s also temporary fencing in the area to help keep control the animals. It’s not the first time the agency has used goats. In May, they were also brought in, that on hills near the entrance of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.

A section of a Northern Calif. highway’s being resurfaced using recycled plastic. Caltrans says they’re experimenting with sustainable highway construction, which involves grinding the top 3 inches of the highway, topping it off with the plastic mix and other ingredients and packing it down. It’s reported to be the first time it’s been done on a highway in California. The State Department of Transportation says if it’s a success and shows its durable, they’ll do more of it. Right now it’s just a 1,000-yard section in Butte County of Highway 162 near the Oroville Airport near the town of Oroville.

The state Supreme Court says public employees cannot add on to their pensions by working extra hours, then cashing out unused vacation or sick leave time ahead of retiring. The court relied on a previous law from 2013 that says pension spiking is not allowed. The law set up to close loopholes and to prevent abuse in the system. When employees work a bunch of overtime and stockpile vacation and sick leave time, but cash out later, it’s thought to inflate annual salaries so their pensions were at about what they were making while working or in some cases, even more.

The Governor has announced hiring a strike team to tackle the pile of unemployment claims that have been filed amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The legislature is also set to discuss the issue today after complaints that computer systems aren’t working properly and claimants cannot get through on the phone preventing claims from being filed. Yesterday the Governor spoke on the matter saying there should be no barriers between Californians and the benefits they have earned. The strike team will draft a plan within 45 days for improvements for the state Employment Development Department.

The filing period to get onto the November ballot in Mendocino County has begun. Actually it started nearly three weeks ago, and ends next Friday. The Assessor-County Clerk Recorder Katrina Bartolomie sent out a reminder to the press yesterday. It says if an incumbent doesn’t file for their seat, the filing deadline is then extended through August 12th. They’re trying to do a lot of the filings over email and snail mail due to the pandemic to limit in-person office visits. You can make an appointment over the phone. And as a reminder, if you want to serve on a local board, to call the office and they’ll email an application.

The US Census is happening now. We have a few more months to gather information and Census officials are trying to get more people to provide their data.  Lake Co News reports the response rate in Lake County has been at about 45% compared to the state at 64% and the national rate at 63%. The US Census happens every decade to find how many congressional seats each state will have in the U.S. House of Representatives as well as how legislative districts are drawn. The deadline was supposed to be happening sooner, but now because of COVID, it’s been extended until October 31st. Counties in Calif. with low response rates were Mono, Alpine, Trinity, Plumas and Sierra. 

Those participating in the marine fishery in Calif. but have lost money due to the Covid-19 pandemic can get relief from the CARES Act. The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is distributing money from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The fisheries got about $18 million in CARES Act funding. The state agency says they may have more than 11,500 applicants who are eligible to get some of the money. That also includes individuals who work in the offshore, shoreside, aquaculture, commercial passenger fishing vessel and guide sectors. Those eligible have to have lost at least 35% of their fishing related income due to COVID-19 between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2020.

The medical director at a nursing facility in Fort Bragg says the coronavirus outbreak is not yet under control. He said two more residents died, then late last night we got word of a third, for a total of seven who’ve died of the virus.  Two more were also newly diagnosed yesterday. 18 residents and eight staff members have contracted the virus since it started to circulate there July 6th. There are still two residents at Adventist Health Mendocino Coast (Hospital); and another has returned to Sherwood Oaks but is in isolation. The medical director says rumors they had been closed by the State Department of Health are untrue. As we’ve been reporting they’re still in need or more nurses and nurse aids. A state health inspector came out Wednesday and has approved of the policies in place.

Reports of a fire on the railroad tracks in Ukiah looks to have been an arson fire. Firefighters got a call Wednesday to the tracks near Norgard Lane about a mile south of Talmage Road. Fire officials say when they arrived the fire was threatening a home, but the residents didn’t seem to know, so they knocked on their door to get them to leave. Firefighters kept flames away from the house, but some fencing was damaged. The fire ended up charring about three acres and got close to a vineyard before it was put down. Firefighters say there were encampments nearby but nobody was there while they were on the scene. They have no suspects but say they’re pretty sure it was intentionally set.

Confirmation we are in a drought again. The Mendocino City Community Services District has confirmed an existing Stage 4 drought. At their latest meeting they chose people to sit on the Groundwater Management Committee. Water allotments to residents have been cut by 40 percent. As of last week rainfall was at about 50 percent of normal. The District Superintendent was happy with how the community cooperated. Customers only allowed to use 50 gallons a day.

The Lake County Public Health Officer updating the Board of Supervisors on COVID cases, says not much has changed. On the county’s dashboard are 181 positive cases and 13 currently active. Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says the county has not had a major outbreak, but it’s been close here and there. Dr. Pace says family gatherings are the place where cases are spreading the most, or from other family members who don’t live in the county, but visit. Pace told the board that family gatherings with more than one family group are the riskiest.  He also says frontline workers are at the most risk as the state has had a major surge in cases. He’s encouraging mask wearing, social distance and hand hygiene.

More information has been released about seven people who died in Sonoma County at skilled nursing facilities. The Press Democrat reports the first of the seven died July 23rd, and the last of them this past Monday. All of the patients were over 65 with other health conditions that put them at higher risk. The Public Health Office has not released a lot more information. The newspaper reports many of the deaths were reported late to the public health office because the facilities were overwhelmed. There are 20 skilled nursing facilities that have had outbreaks. In the last week 65 staffers and residents contracted the virus and a little more than that a week before. Assemblyman Jim Wood has also introduced a bill so the nursing facilities are mandated to report sooner. Wood says more than 40% of the people who died in California were from skilled nursing facilities.

Another record for daily deaths has been set in the state. Ten people in six counties, but 51 in LA alone. On Tuesday, the state recorded 164 deaths. And there’s been almost 120 deaths a day for the last week. There’s also been more than 9,000 cases a day, but 10,000 on Tuesday. The daily record for deaths was one week ago, that was 155, then the next day, last Thursday we were higher, 156 fatalities. California has now had the third highest rate of deaths in the U.S.

One of a few rural counties who earlier defied the Governor’s stay home order, now has its first case of coronavirus. Modoc County in northeastern California actually confirmed two cases, both in the same household. And now the contact tracing has begun to find who may have been near the two, who are isolating at home. The county Public Health Department is telling anyone who may have been at one local bar to call them. The county’s director of health services says they’ve been lucky so far and warned residents to “respect and follow” the guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In May the county went against state orders and reopened restaurants and nonessential businesses after six weeks of closure. Yuba and Sutter Counties also reopened early, the two are both on the state’s watchlist.

The Governor is being sued along with others by some charter schools who say funding during the pandemic denies payments for more students. The four charter school organizations suing Gov. Gavin Newsom, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and the California Department of Education saying they’re being underfunded and the students who attend are having their constitutional rights violated. The schools and parents of new students asking courts to force Calif. to reimbuse the schools for new students and say lawmakers need to fix it quick. The Gov. had promised reimbursement for pre-pandemic attendance. The schools say they had lotteries, adding more students, and now will not be able to pay for them.

13 more cases of coronavirus have been reported in Mendocino County. We’ve now had almost 300 positive cases. The county’s dashboard has our total at 293 with five people in the hospital, that’s one more than the latest update, but there are zero in the ICU currently. We have had a total of 6 deaths in the county due to complications from the virus. The most cases, over 200 in the Ukiah Valley, the North County and North Coast each has had more than 35 cases, the South Coast, only four cases and South County, 12. There are currently 64 active cases.

Landlords are allowed to toss people from their homes again in Imperial County. The Gov. disallowed the practice during the pandemic and courts have ruled against allowing evictions. But the Imperial County Superior Court is issuing eviction notices anyway to renters and has moved some eviction proceedings further along, violating pandemic judicial protocols. The state Judicial Council had issued an issued an emergency rule barring local courts from most evictions except if there’s a threat to public health and safety. But Imperial County’s evicted at least three people who sued and had their cases rescinded. Courts may be able to pick back up on evictions in 2 weeks unless lawmakers step in.

Remote proceedings continue in Lake County Superior Court along with in person safety measures during the pandemic. Trials were allowed to restart in June, and in the Lake County Superior Court, jury trials were supposed to start up again July 8th. Apparently that didn’t’ happen because the cases were all resolved or rescheduled. If there are any other jury trials for next week, we’ve not gotten a schedule of those yet. Lake Co News reports that should be determined by the end of the week. The court in the meantime is providing essential services right now with a limited amount of cases, social distancing, mask wearing and remote business as much as possible.

There had been a planned increase in the state’s minimum wage and the Governor says it’ll move forward in spite of the pandemic. The Gov. announced he could have suspended the raise in the wage but decided against it. So on January 1st, the minimum wage goes up to $13.00 an hour for businesses with 25 or fewer employees, and to $14 per hour for businesses with more than 25 employees. There’s also been an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit which the governor reported put one billion dollars back into the pocket of Californians. Those with kids under 6 are also eligible for another $1,000 tax credit.

Three more nursing homes besides Sherwood Oaks in Fort Bragg have reported a positive coronavirus test. Four patients at Sherwood Oaks have died since their outbreak and several others contracted the virus. The Mendocino Voice news site reports the cases were at Ukiah Post Acute Care Center, Mountain View Assisted Living and Memory Care, and Redwood Creek Care Center in Willits. The news site reports Ukiah Post Acute and Mountain View Assisted Living each had an employee test positive.  More information was expected today from the Mendocino Public Health office.

Fort Bragg City Council is taking the whole mask wearing thing seriously, citing someone for being in public without. The City Council has decided to enforce mask wearing in the city and an executive order was passed for no warning period. So if you’re caught without a mask on, or not socially distanced from those not in your immediate family, you could be cited. The city also extended the evictions moratorium, in alignment with the state. But that could end in a couple of weeks. The mask enforcement goes like this, $100 for the first violation, $250 for the next and $500 for the third infraction. Police could just educate though and choose not to enforce. The County has had the first $100 citation. It happened Saturday in the village of Mendocino. The person first educated, but seen a couple hours later without a mask, and was cited.

A man in Fort Bragg’s been arrested after reports of illegal dumping near the Pudding Creek Bridge. Fort Bragg Police got a call to the area and found Shawn Spiller of Fort Bragg who they saw was in a car registered to another person who happened to be in jail in Mendocino County. Police say they believed he did not have permission to drive the car, so they called jail staff. While searching the car, they found drug paraphernalia and suspected methamphetamine and since the man was on probation, they held him. They say they also found a bunch of cordless power tools like some taken from another car a few weeks ago in the city. Jail staff informed police the car was stolen. So Spiller’s been charged with various crimes, including possession of stolen property, possession of methamphetamine, possession of paraphernalia, and violation of probation.  

Reports of a car burglary in Ukiah leads police to a couple of minors inside that car stealing stuff. They say the victim confronted the kids and they ran from the scene. Cops found a 12 year old boy matching the description on Nokomis Elementary School grounds. They found several items on him that matched reports of what was stolen so the boy was held and later positively id’d by the victim. Reports later of various other cars being broken into, so property was returned to those owners. Police say the second kid, a 14 year old was found a today trying to break into a car. The 12 year old was charged with theft, vehicle tampering and prowling and released to his parents and the 14 year old reportedly has charges pending.

A man in Fort Bragg’s been arrested for pepper spraying another person. Police got a call Monday to an altercation and found one person had been pepper sprayed behind a business. Deputies say Jeffrey Thomas Wright was accused of causing a disturbance at the business and pepper sprayed someone as he was moving trucks saying Wright wouldn’t leave him alone, screamed at him, then sprayed him and his truck. He got the spray cannister away from Wright and sprayed him back. Wright was arrested for unlawful use of Tear Gas Weapon and booked into the Mendocino County Jail. He was released due to the pandemic.

A man in Fort Bragg had to be given NARCAN after an overdose. Police say they got a call Tuesday night finding a man in a coma with shallow and sporadic breathing so they gave him two doses of NARCAN. They say about 5 minutes later he woke up. He was taken to the hospital for further treatment.

Information from COVID-19 tests are to be reported to the state, but the government is asking for the patients’ race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The secretary of the state’s Health and Human Services Agency says it’s so they can find a way to slow the spread of the virus. Dr. Mark Ghaly says the information will help them see if interventions are working and what the disparities are. Right now the state is not getting race and ethnicity data, but as we’ve been hearing locally, there’s been a disproportionate increase in positive cases in the local LatinX community. In the state, more than half the cases are in the same community.

Seven more deaths of Covid-19 complications in Sonoma County. The public health office says they were four women and three men at various skilled nursing facilities. The Press Democrat reports Broadway Villa Post Acute in Sonoma, Empress Post Acute in Petaluma and Petaluma Post Acute have all reported deaths. The facilities are mandated to report deaths from the virus within 24 hours. Health officials say there were four facilities that had deaths but did not say which ones. Dr. Sundari Mase says they’ve been trying to find a solution, but the county has no jurisdiction over the facilities and urges nursing home administrators to come up with a solution.

A new way to bring money into the state, tax the wealthy. Democratic lawmakers have a new plan to raise taxe rates on taxable income of $1 million and higher. They say this could bring in billions more revenue to help improve K-12 schools and pay for many other government services as the state tries to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. 15 democrats in the Senate introduced the bill to help find ways to close a massive budget gap before the end of August. The bill would put a 1% tax on adjusted gross income starting at one million, increase it to 3% for those who earn more than $2 million and to 3.5% for taxpayers with income above $5 million. The projected operating deficit for next year is currently projected at $8.7 billion.

A man from Nevada has been killed while riding his jet ski in Sierra County, he was hit by lightning. The man and his son on skis on the Stampede Reservoir. His son was knocked unconscious and “severely burned”. His dad identified as Eugene Arao. A woman on a nearby boat saw it and posted on Facebook there were several other people also injured by the lightning strike, calling it a “horrific tragedy.” Thunderstorms had been reported throughout Truckee and Tahoe over the weekend.

A couple of cities defying the Governor’s stay home health orders aren’t getting state money. The Governor has blocked almost $65,000 from Atwater in Merced County and more than $35,000 from Coalinga in Fresno County. The two cities receiving letters from the state saying they’ll lose more money if they don’t roll back restrictions per the state’s orders, but each city council was staying where they were at. Atwater’s mayor said the Governor was abandoning them. They’ve declared themselves a Sanctuary City.  Merced County just reported its highest-ever hospitalizations. In Fresno County they’re teetering just below their highest level.

It’s Wednesday, the there’s food for kids 18 and younger at Ukiah High. It’s part of the summer program for kids to get meals for the week from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The child does not need to be with their parents who can pick up the food including, chicken, or pork, chili beans, yams, and peaches, plums, or watermelons. They remind to wear a mask and practice social distancing when arriving to get the food.

Assemblyman Jim Wood has a new bill to help protect residents and staffmembers of skilled nursing facilities. Assemblyman Wood says 95% of the facilities report nearly 3,000 residents and over 100 healthcare workers at the facilities have died because of coronavirus. He says his bill which will be heard in the Senate’s Health Committee this weekend requires the facilities to report each disease-related death to the state Department of Public Health (DPH) within 24 hours. And it would in turn require the Department of Public Health to release that information on an internet website each week. He says it would be in a way to shield privacy to help the state get more timely data to respond quicker to the spread of the virus. And they would have to have staff dedicated 24/7 to disease prevention.

A protest of Ukiah teachers ahead of the new school year. Some had signs as they picketed Monday saying “teachers are not expendable.” There had been a plan for partly in person classes for kids in Ukiah, then at the end of last week, it abruptly changed. The school board announced a couple weeks ago a plan for hybrid learning. But the Ukiah Teachers Association is against the plan. The board was almost unanimous in approving the plan to return to in person classes, then four days later announced all distance learning with improvements. And now district officials say they’re still hoping students can get back to in person class sometime this school year, depending. Ukiah education leaders will be on a call with State Senator Mike McGuire this Friday to address the issue. To listen to the discussion live, “dial 844-767-5679, enter code 2463180 and follow the prompts.”

There’s a new coronavirus relief program being set up by the Community Foundation of Mendocino County. It will provide support for individuals and families, small businesses, and nonprofits in the county. It’s thru a Non-Profit Relief Grant program which is already taking applications for the first round of money which will be Aug. 28th. The grants will be for local 501c3 organizations working in adaptation, operations, and preservation. So that for new technology or businesses pivoting into other sectors, training for staff in those new technologies or protocols and help for organizations with fixed costs they can’t meet due to the recession. For more info, visit: nonprofit-relief/.

After an outbreak at the Sherwood Oaks Health Center, there’s a shortage of staff. The facility in Fort Bragg has had four deaths and several infections, including in staff members. Since then they’ve lost other staffers too and need to hire RNs, LVNs, CNAs, and reception workers.  They are providing proper personal protective gear including goggles and N95 masks. The facility’s website lists full and part time open positions for the day and evening shift.

If you are interested please contact Terrie Masterson at 707-964-6333 or e-mail terriem@sohcftb. com Lodging may be provided for anyone needing to travel. Visit Sherwood Oaks Health Center website and job postings at https://sherwoodoakshealthcenter. com.

An agreement has been reached for a group out of Oroville to run the homeless shelter in Lakeport when Hope Harbor closes at the end of July. So Elijah House will take over until September 30th at a fee of, at the most, $234,550. Hope Harbor was running the homeless shelter since April and the county asked for more bids from others. Apparently Elijah House was the only taker. They help those with substance use and mental health issues, and they operate a sober living facility in Butte County. The Hope Center will open in September or October, a transitional housing facility in Clearlake where some of those at Elijah House can then transfer when they close.

Something to help the environment, a Low Carbon Transit Operations Program. Caltrans announced more than 140 million in funding for 166 local public transportation projects. They are meant to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mostly in disadvantaged communities impacted the most by climate change. The Caltrans director says it’ll improve transit service for those who need it the most. The Low Carbon Transit Operations Program was created 6 years ago. Three projects to give free or reduced fare rides in Lake County, Humboldt and the city of Arcata.

A couple of coronavirus testing sites are open in Mendocino County this weekend. One will be in Laytonville, the other in Redwood Valley. The Laytonville test site is Friday morning from 9-11 in the parking lot of the Long Valley Health Center. It’s drive thru service, first-come, first-serve. They will be there again August 14th and August 28th. This Saturday morning, from 8-11 am, a testing site will be at the Consolidated Tribal Health Project and the Coyote Valley Tribe in collaboration with Mendocino County Public Health in the Reservation’s gymnasium in Redwood Valley, walk up testing or you can drive thru too, with no reservations required. 

Another nine cases of COVID have been reported in Mendocino County. That brings the total case load in the county to 274. There are also five people in the hospital, and one is still in an ICU. So far the county has had 6 deaths. One at a rehab facility in Marin County, one at Howard Hospital and 4 others after an outbreak at a nursing home in Fort Bragg.

The Governor announcing a couple of weeks ago he prefers for schools on the state’s watchlist to operate only online. That led to a quick turnaround in Ukiah from in person learning in two groups of kids 2 days a week each, to straight up virtual learning after it was announced by the Public Health Officer we would soon be on the state’s watchlist. That happened Friday. Mendocino Voice News has reached out to various school districts in the county for a report. Anderson Valley says they’re starting online August 25th. In Fort Bragg, schools are starting about a week sooner, August 19th, also with virtual learning for at least a month. In Laytonville, the same, but August 24th. Leggett is online, but we don’t have an official start. Mendocino starts August 21 online for 2 months at least. In Point Arena they start online August 19th. Same for Willits, but they’re still deciding on a start date. Potter Valley has no decision, and Round Valley may go in person, considering opening Sept. 8th.

A resident in Calpella is asking for the Mendocino Forest Products wood pellet plant to close during the pandemic. A group of residents gathering now to get the plant near the Coyote Valley Reservation to close while COVID-19 surges uncontrolled. They say it’s because of health concerns, being that the virus attacks the lungs, and the plant puts smoke in the air. Mendocino Voice news reports the plant does meet the official air quality requirements, but the local activists and some state organizations are sending a letter on the matter to the Air District, Board of Supervisors, and several state agencies with their request to stop the emissions.

A man and woman in Ukiah have been arrested after someone saw them toss a rock into a local business. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports Saturday getting a call from the business owner who had surveillance footage of two people ripping off about $1,700.00 worth of wigs. They identified one person as a local transient, Oscar Cabezas-Tafoya. Cops on the lookout for the man, finding him with Luna Magdaleno, who was also seen on the footage. She was also on probation at the time. The two arrested on various charges and booked into Mendocino County Jail.

A Climate Emergency Resolution has been voted on by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors. The Climate Action Advisory Committee (MCCAAC) which the board appointed presented the plan. The committee chair said it was an important first step since the board saw how important climate change and climate adaptation are for the community. The plan includes scientific evidence of climate change and the the state’s target of 2045 for carbon neutrality and clean electricity. The plan with a declaration by supervisors of a “climate emergency” that they agree “threatens humanity and the natural and built environments” and joins “a worldwide call for a just transition away from fossil fuels.”

As cases of Covid-19 surge out of control in Sonoma County, the county says hospital capacity is at a new high. The Press Democrat reports the county health officer, Dr. Sundari Mase says the surge in hospitalizations is due to large outbreaks at more than a dozen skilled nursing facilities. There were also patients in the county who came from San Quentin State Prison where there was also a large outbreak. The county joined many others a couple of weeks ago to get onto the state’s watchlist so there had to be rollbacks in public health restrictions for several business sectors. Dr. Mase says local hospitals are also having a problem sending patients back to skilled nursing centers, so they stay even longer in the hospital, even if they don’t need to be cared for any more.

You’re not welcome in Tahoe or Truckee from out of town to slow the spread of virus. Placer County and the town of Truckee say tourists should stay away for another 2-3 weeks. They report high visitor numbers even in the midst of the pandemic.  The county put out a statement last week saying they’ve had “an exceptionally busy influx of weekend visitors” so it’s made it hard to “practice safe physical distancing.” They say it’s for those coming for a day without reservations to stay. They say they want people to plan ahead and have a reservation. The county joins others on the state’s watchlist with a 57% increase in hospitalizations and nearly 130% rise in ICU numbers.

Democratic lawmakers are proposing a $100 billion economic stimulus against “future tax vouchers” and other ways for more spending to boost the economy during the pandemic. Democratic lawmakers are the majority. Their plan allows the state treasurer to send out tax vouchers to residents to raise billions. It would allow taxpayers to pay taxes ahead of schedule at a discount. They’ve not homed in on the exact discount yet. The treasurers office says it’s a work in progress and praised lawmakers for their “out of the box” thinking. No new taxes are in the plan.

More coronavirus cases in Lake County. The Public Health Dept. posted 7 more cases yesterday, but the last update was Friday. There have now been 175 cases in the county. 12 are active, 162 are recovered and no longer considered contagious. And the county has had one death. The state’s cases continue to surge, inching up to the 500,000 mark with daily highs posted day after day. As of last night there were more than 460,000 COVID-19 cases statewide and over 8,530 deaths. Mendocino has 274 cases, Glenn has 280, Sonoma 2,617, far more than any other neighboring county and Yolo has about half as many cases, 1,424 cases and 37 deaths, more than Sonoma whose had 24 deaths.

No new cases in the nursing facility in Fort Bragg where there’s been a Covid-19 outbreak. Mendo Fever news site reports no new cases since Friday, but 4 residents are still in isolation in the facility. One has recovered and was moving from isolation today, one patient was stable, but two were reportedly on the decline. Three of the facility’s residents are at Adventist Hospital Mendocino Coast in stable position, but reportedly guarded. The news site reports there have been 13 residents infected and four have died. 8 staff members also got infected and 2 are considered recovered or out of isolation. 

The Rohnert Park Police Dept. has arrested one of their own. Officer David Sittig-Wattson has turned himself in after being accused of embezzling money from the department. The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office’s is investigating the accusations against Sittig-Watson. The sheriff’s office says property crimes detectives investigated the officer and sent their work to the DA’s office who charged the officer, who was the former treasurer of the Rohnert Park Public Safety Officers Association. They had requested the investigation after accusations of four years of embezzling.

The Lake County Public Health Officer has been informing the public on demographics of cases after the county had 50 cases. Well beyond that now at 175 positive cases with 24 new cases since the last demographics update one week ago. The office reports there are more females who’ve been infected then males.  There were more cases in those 25 to 34 years old, then, in those 35 to 44 in this last demographic update. The most cases traced to another known case, then the next largest batch of cases is still being investigated. Lower case numbers from on the job contacts and in home, or congregate living, including in the Lake County Jail, where there have been two cases. Clear Lake, Upper Lake, Lower Lake and Hidden Valley Lake have had the bulk of the cases.

An employee at a store in the Lake Sonoma Marina is infected with COVID-19, so the local Marina Store is closed. The Press Democrat reports marina officials confirmed an indefinite closure of the Marina Store Friday after the confirmation of an infection. The Marina Store working with the public health department, did a deep cleaning, but then closed down. Visitors can purchase deli items, alcoholic beverages, fishing and camping gear. Five people work there, and all of them were apparently in contact with the infected worker. They will stay closed until backup workers can be brought in, other virus test results come back negative or all employees are quarantined two weeks. The positive employee was asymptomatic.

15 firefighters in Sonoma County are in isolation after one tested positive. The Petaluma Fire Department was forced to close Saturday after the positive test on July 19th, nearly a week earlier. This means 58 people could not work, so nearby fire agencies had to chip in to help. 

Caltrans has a new plan to move goods. The Calif. Freight Mobility Plan 2020 shows which goods can move by truck, train, ship, airplane, car, bike, foot or robot. The state agency says it’ll strengthen California’s infrastructure and improve upon what we already have, making it more innovative, economically competitive and still protect communities and the environment. This comes amidst the pandemic which the director of Caltrans says has shown just how important the freight industry is to health and economic well-being.

A woman in court Friday admitted she tried to kill a former girlfriend using a knife. Court papers say 48 year old Nichole Birdsall waived her right to a preliminary hearing and pleaded guilty Friday to the surprise February knife attack. Apparently another woman sleeping at the time called 911. The victim had a restraining order against Birdsall who agreed to a stipulation that she will face ten years behind bars. And since it’s a violent crime, there will be limited good time or work time early release. Any credits for parole she gets will be limited to 15 percent. She faces sentencing in September. And is currently held on one million dollars bail in Mendocino County Jail.

A nonprofit in Lake County looking to run a temporary shelter for the homeless amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The Elijah House looking to get the contract with the county approved, for which the county would have to put up nearly a quarter million dollars. The Hope Harbor homeless shelter is closing, so the county had put out a request for bids for an organization to take over operations. The Elijah House bid is $234,550.  The organization is actually based in Oroville, but would operate a center here after Hope Harbor closes at the end of the month. The new shelter would continue only until Sept. 30th.

A couple of passersby help a Ukiah police officer who was trying to arrest someone in Talmage. Apparently the suspect grabbed the cop’s baton July 16th. A report came in that someone saw the guy actively injecting himself with drugs, and cars were swerving to avoid him as he walked in the street. He’s since been identified as 30 year old Michael Langley. He was lured to a safer location where the officer tried to talk to him on the sidewalk. The officer saw a needle sticking out of his pocket, but he wouldn’t allow the officer to take it away and a struggle started. That’s when the two citizens came over to help. The police department said they were grateful for the help. Langley’s charged with threatening an officer, possession of a controlled substance, violating his probation and for two warrants, and was booked into Mendocino County Jail under $15,000 bail.

Another death and 8 more cases of coronavirus. The death reported Sunday along with the new cases. There are have now been 265 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mendocino County. The 6th death was from the outbreak at the Sherwood Oaks skilled nursing facility in Fort Bragg where two others also died. There are 4 people in the hospital, and one in an ICU. It also comes as the county was placed on the state’s watch list. That means several businesses have to close unless they can operate outside. That includes public worship, barbers, hair and nail salons, and gyms. Plus there were already requirements on indoor dining and on wineries and breweries. Also there can be no gatherings for weddings and funerals; offices for non-essential workers have to close again and indoor shopping malls.

The Lakeport Senior Center has new management. Lake Family Resource Center will start to oversee operations. The Executive Director says the county’s population is made up of nearly 25% seniors and while expanding services in the middle of a pandemic is challenging, still, they’re excited to help serve the community, especially during these challenging times. They’re offering the Meals on Wheels program to the Northshore and say they’re expanding for others who had joined for onsite dining. They also have offerings on Zoom, like wellness classes. Their Thrift Store in Lakeport is currently open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Mendocino Land Trust working in partnership with the Conservation Fund and others had opened the Old Smith Ranch Trail. Working also with the Nature Conservancy and the Smith/Perry family the two mile trail along the South Bank of the Ten Mile River took ten years to come to fruition. There’s a picnic and parking area for those to enjoy the path along the river, north of Fort Bragg. The 49-acre property is part of a larger project to permanently protect the 1,309-acre Smith Ranch, east of Highway One and the Ten Mile Dunes.  

Congressman Jared Huffman is asking for participation in a survey for Coronavirus Relief and Recovery. The online survey so his constituents can answer questions about how they’ve been affected by the pandemic and what the federal government can do to help support his district’s health and economy. The questionnaire is on the congressman’s website. It comes as the CARES Act pretty much ends. This Friday ends the extra $600 a week for those on unemployment. But Huffman says we’re still dealing with historic levels of unemployment with more than one in every 10 people in the country without a job.

The governor had some visitors to his home. Demonstrators chaining themselves to a fence outside his house earlier today because they want inmates released from San Quentin where there’s been a massive coronavirus outbreak. The demonstrators also want an end to immigration transfers. The California Highway Patrol cut the chains off those at the governor’s home in Sacramento. They were there a couple hours before being cut free. The protest organized by the California Liberation Collective had just over a dozen people there, but many others, not chained to each other were also there. So far 19 inmates at San Quentin have died, including another just over the weekend, who had been on death row. The protestors asking the governor to grant mass clemency.

It’s happening more and more, tourist spots having positive testing visitors. A resident from the area tested positive, the first known case at Yosemite National Park. In an email to employees, and on a conference call park managers said the resident works in the town and was in close contact with visitors to the park and others before they got sick. Adminsitrators were not releasing info to the public, someone released it to the Sacramento Bee newspaper anonymously. Sewage tests recently confirmed coronavirus had infected people, but the Mariposa County Department of Public Health didn’t say if anyone inside the park tested positive. The positive test was July 17th. The health dept. says they followed all isolation and reporting protocols appropriately.

The Gov. has announced more than $50 million is going to eight central California counties as cases of coronavirus continue surging out of control. The governor had a press conference earlier today stressing the importance of protecting essential workers as the state depends disproportionately on these workers. He also says certain regions and sectors of business in the state has also been hit hard, such as the Central Valley counties where money will be used for isolation, testing and enhancing healthcare with a nearly $500 million CDC grant the state received.