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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

If you haven’t heard, the Mendocino County Public Health Office is reminding you can get four free at home COVID-19 tests. The federal government has made the tests available that will be sent to your home for free. Orders usually ship in 7-12 days. They are rapid antigen at-home tests, not PCR, are also referred to as self-tests or over-the-counter (OTC) test. You will get the results within a half hour at home, you don’t need to take it anyway. To order the tests, please visit: https://www.covidtests.gov/ If you test positive, it is important to isolate for 10 days from the day of the test or the day of your first symptom. You may end isolation after 5 days if you test negative and have no symptoms on the 5th day of isolation.

The property swap agreement that’s been the subject of ongoing discussions in Clearlake for a new Sheriff’s headquarters and affordable housing project is done. Sen. Mike McGuire made the announcement yesterday, the same day he was announced as the new State Senate majority leader. He and others, from the city, county and state gathered to discuss the land swap. The board of supervisors approved the agreement last year. It’s for 15.5-acres of county owned property in Clearlake and for 7 acres of the Lakeport Armory property, owned by the state next to the Lake County Jail. The Governor signed an Executive Order so the state would identify and prioritize any extra state-owned property because of the affordable housing crisis.

State Senator Mike McGuire is the new Majority Leader of the Senate. He was appointed by Senate President Pro Tem Toni Atkins. So McGuire’s now in a power position, the second highest ranking member of the State Senate. McGuire said he was grateful for the position, after serving the last three years as the Assistant Majority Leader. He says his top priority has always been the North Coast which has been challenged over the last several years with “multiple wildfires, floods, extreme drought and this pandemic”.

Congressman Jared Huffman has announced nearly $7 million dollars from the Infrastructure deal for long needed operations and maintenance work. Huffman says waterways, dams, and jetties are vital parts of communities and the economy on the North Coast, but many are in disrepair. He says the $7 million will be for three projects: $20,000 for Jetty Monitoring in Bodega Bay, nearly $3 million for new emergency and service gates in Lake and Channel, and about $4 million for the Coyote Valley Dam for bridge repainting, replacing bathrooms or repairing them, and cleaning, demolishing and rebuilding areas destroyed by the Hopkins Fire. The money will come from the Infrastructure Act and from stimulus money associated with the pandemic.

Rumors have been circulating on social media platforms that there’s a serial killer after women in Mendocino, Sonoma, and Napa Counties. Mendo Fever reports speaking to the Sheriff who says it’s unfounded hearsay. Posts on Facebook Northern Calif. groups that the two first deaths were serial killer victims, both women from Mendocino County, then the alleged suspect added two other women, one from Sonoma County, and another from Napa County. The news site reports law enforcement from each county said there was no indication any of the deaths were related.

A company from Mendocino County is going to be the interim operator of a new North Bay passenger rail agency. Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit officials say they need more time to form their own in house operation as they take over the Northwestern Pacific Railroad Co. So, in the meantime, they’ve hired Summit Signal at nearly $400,000/month. The company will start to run freight cars March 1st with a three month contract. Right now Northwestern has four freight customers, carrying mostly grain and feed in Petaluma. They also store tanker cars for oil refineries and others.

Some safety complaints have prompted the Lakeport City Council to review again. After the Traffic Safety Advisory Committee was formed in 2015, they started to go over traffic trends at that time. The City Manager, Kevin Ingram told the City Council they were working on a Local Road Safety Plan after traffic complaints were expressed at a council meeting about a year ago. Ingram says there have not been more complaints that were worthy of spending time on, that they had not already heard about. At the same meeting, the council has approved an application for the Small Community Drought Relief Program.

The federal government has a new internet affordability program coming to certain households. And Mediacom Communications has announced they’re taking part in it: the Affordable Connectivity Program. It’s so more Americans get access to lower costs associated with home internet service. The FCC manages the program giving certain households up to $30 off their monthly internet service. It’s for households with income less than 200% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or who participate in government programs like SNAP, Medicaid, WIC, and Lifeline. It will replace a temporary Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program which Mediacom says they enrolled over 13,000 households in last year. For more information, call: 855-330-6918 or visit www.fcc.gov/acp https://www.mediacomcable. com/acp

An ER Doc is reporting Ukiah hospital rooms are filled, and that’s not all. The Daily Journal reports Adventist Health Ukiah Valley ER physician Dr. Drew Colfax said he was challenged to find a bed in the entire state for one of his patients. He says he believes the state is at the peak of omicron COVID cases, but maybe not so much in Mendocino County. He says it does seem that there is an improvement though.  There were over 500 new cases in the county over the last week for a total of over 10,000 cases since the pandemic surfaced.

Schools are still being challenged to staff up as the spike of COVID cases is still an issue. Public health experts statewide say they think the omicron surge should be behind up by March, but it’s caused quite the school staffing crisis which could go past that. The state shows students and staff members in various school districts are getting infected at all-time highs. Apparently waste water testing is showing less case numbers, but schools have been dealing with this nearly two years. Last year K-12 schools had nearly 20% of all workplace outbreaks in the state, and more than health care facilities last fall.

If you’ve been impacted by the Hopkins Fire that burned at the end of last summer, Phase II has begun of consolidated debris removal. On Monday, the second phase started for those who filled out the Right of Entry forms to allow state workers to take out household toxins and fire debris. The work will continue on Eastside Calpella Road along with a second crew on Lake Ridge Drive. They warn to be careful as you travel in the area because there will be heavy equipment and workers actively removing debris. They say to look out for other crews assessing hazardous trees.

Intro: The State of California has a new program to pay college students 10-thousand dollars to do public service work for a year. The state expects up to 65-hundred students can join the new “Californians for All College Corps”. Students have to donate 450 service hours, working on issues like COVID-19 recovery, climate change and education. Josh Fryday, chief service officer for the state, says it’s a way to help low-income students afford college, earn credits and gain valuable work experience.

 :07  “Like the G.I. bill, if you are willing to serve your community and give back in meaningful way, we are going to help you pay for college.”

Tag:  45 Calif. campuses will take part – including schools from the University of California and California State University systems, plus community colleges and some private schools. For more info, visit the ‘Californians for All College Corps’ website for a list of schools and details on how to apply.

***

Second Cut: Governor Gavin Newsom says the shared experience of giving back is intended to foster a new generation of civic-minded leaders.

 :08  “And if this thing works, we can go back to the Legislature and take it to a whole another level. We can take it to the rest of the country, because nobody else is doing this. Nobody!”

Tag:  And unlike AmeriCorps, this program will be open to so-called “Dreamers” – undocumented students who were brought to the U-S as children. Students who receive Pell Grants will also be able to count the 10-thousand-dollar grant toward their required personal contribution to their education expenses.

Intro: A coalition of more than a hundred local elected officials is pleading for action on the PUBLIC Lands Act, a bill to add protections for more than a million acres of land and 500 miles of rivers. The group sent a letter today thanking California Senators Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla for their support. Ventura County Supervisor Carmen Ramirez says more needs to be done to safeguard the state’s pristine wilderness areas before it’s too late.

 :16  “These are places with abundant diversity. That’s where a lot of our clean water comes from. We have tribal cultural sites. And oil drilling and other harmful industries should not be permitted where we have our natural resources.”

Tag:  The letter emphasizes the importance of public lands in the fight against climate change, and promoting access to the outdoors for public health and economic recovery.

Second Cut: Susan Seaman, the mayor of Eureka, says local economies thrive when the ocean, rivers and old-growth forests are protected.

 :17  “I think it’s pro-economic development to create a community that encourages visitors, encourages people to want to come and live here. The thing that makes us special is the lands that we have around it. And the more we can protect them, the more we can protect the culture that we love here.”

Tag:  The Senate bill was introduced in May but has yet to receive a vote. The House version passed last February which includes three bills covering northwest California, the Central Coast, and the San Gabriel Mountains.

Sonoma County is dealing with a spectacular surge of active COVID. There have been 18,415 since late last month. The Press Democrat reports that’s a tenfold increase since Christmas and four times more than last winter’s surge. The paper reports an infectious disease expert from UC Berkeley says positive cases could actually be two to three times higher than conservatively speaking because many people don’t even know they’re infected or never got a test. Dr. John Swartzberg says a more “aggressive” estimate would be “five or more times”.

It was a swift no at the Kelseyville Unified School District Board meeting to send a note to the state against a vaccination mandate. The board deadlocked as one board member was out, so the resolution died. And the board chair says it won’t see the light of day again. It comes after the State Department of Public Health issued a health order mandating school staff show proof of full vaccination or get tested at least once/week. Then the Gov. said he wanted the COVID-19 vaccine to be on the list of vaccinations for in-person school starting this summer. Konocti Unified, Lakeport Unified and Lucerne Elementary approved resolutions against the mandates and just last night Middletown joined.

Three separate car crashes in Lake County have killed three people. Lake Co News reports they happened Saturday through Sunday night. The first, a pedestrian was killed in Nice, then a wrong-way driver on Highway 29 near the Lake County Jail died after crashing and rolling his car, and a passenger died after a car they were in hit a parked truck in Lucerne. The pedestrian was identified as Kevin Jones, who the CHP says was in the roadway and hit by a driver Saturday night who couldn’t stop in time. Then later the wrong way driver was killed, he’s identified as Benjamin Britton, of Covelo and Lucerne. Witnesses say he entered the wrong side of Highway 29 in Lakeport, then hit a metal bridge abutment and rolled. The final crash killed Justin Dale of Lucerne who was the passenger in a car driven by Patricia Murphy who officers say made an unsafe turn and rammed a pickup truck. She’s suspected of DUI.

A barricade situation along the South Coast of Mendocino County has reportedly ended. Mendo Fever reports hearing a home invasion was happening on the police scanner near the intersection of Old State Road and Seaside School Road.  There was a shelter in place order for nearby residents after two people were reportedly barricaded in their home with twenty others there who were armed and trying to get inside. When cops got there, they say several people outside who ran when they saw them. They put out a Be On the Lookout alert for at least one of them. Several local law enforcement officers responded and are investigating. The home was cleared and secured. No word on motives or arrests.

The Charter School Association of Willits has a hybrid board meeting, held in person and on Zoom. But some technical difficulties were reported for those online, saying they couldn’t hear a lot of what was going on. In any case, they proceeded with the Willits Elementary Charter School (WECS) and Willits Charter School (WCS) giving pandemic updates on mask wearing, quarantining and testing. They are not allowing parents on school grounds to slow the spread, but will revisit next month. They will test students twice/week in order to attend in person. Staff and students will wear masks on campus at all times. Schools have also been checking students’ temperatures.

The state of California is being impacted by the ongoing opioid epidemic, with it being super impacted by fentanyl. The drug reportedly killed as many as 10,000 residents in the year that ended April 2021. CalMatters reports the Governor has earmarked $50 million to educate young people about the risks of opioids and fentanyl through preventative measures, harm-reduction messaging, or both. The news site reports fentanyl is oftentimes mixed with other drugs and the user is in the dark about it. The report says the district attorneys in Riverside, Orange and San Bernardino counties are charging drug dealers with murder in fentanyl-related deaths, something some public defenders say is illegal.

A man from Redwood Valley has been arrested after calls to the Sheriff’s Dept. about a burglary. On Saturday night, on the 8th of January, deputies went to a home where residents said their ATV was missing and that a car in their driveway had some items stolen. Their home was also ripped off and ransacked. The ATV was found crashed on the side of the road nearby. After collecting evidence from the entire area, they found no suspect. The next day Deputies got a call to two homes on the same property nearby. They found Dominic Singelton hiding in one with items from the burglary the day before. He was arrested for several crimes and on active parole for another burglary in the same neighborhood. He’s jailed without bail. 

A man and 2 women have been arrested after a domestic assault on another woman in Redwood Valley. Mendocino Deputies contacted a 21 year-old woman who shares a child with Nathan Feliz. She says as she went to hand over the youngster, he hit her multiple times in the face, and pulled on her leg to try to get her out of her car, then left with the small child. Deputies couldn’t find him nearby but did find him in Willits. They also found Vanessa Sanchez and Kiahna Feliz there who wouldn’t let Deputies inside. They heard a child crying and got a search warrant and eventually found Feliz hiding at an apartment next door where a neighbor didn’t give him permission to enter.  He was arrested and held on $50,000.00 bail. The two women also arrested and held on $15,000.00 bail.

A call in Ukiah about a man with a knife brings out police. On their way police were told the man was trying to break into an apartment. They identified him as Andrew Custer where they say as they approached, he advanced to one officer, mumbling incoherently, carrying what looked like a 4-foot-long broom stick with a knife tied to its end, like a spear. They found out he was threatening neighbors with the spear and commanded him to drop the weapon, but he ignored them. They recognized him from previous contacts, knowing he had mental health challenges. Another officer came and Tased Custer who was taken into custody. He did injure one neighbor so he was arrested for burglary, assault with a deadly weapon on a peace officer and attempted murder.

Congressman Jared Huffman along with a colleague from Missouri has introduced legislation to help rural hospitals. Huffman and Congressman Sam Graves came up with a bipartisan bill, Save America’s Rural Hospitals Act which they say will infuse money into rural hospitals on the brink of bankruptcy and get critical care providers the help they need.  Huffman says the hospitals stepped up in our time of need, and his bill with Rep. Graves will take the necessary steps to keep these facilities stay afloat and protect access to high-quality care with greater Medicare reimbursement. The bill would eliminate Medicare sequestration for rural hospitals, make Medicare telehealth service enhancements permanent and extend increased Medicare payments for rural ground ambulance services currently set to expire December 31st.

The “Biggest Catfish Tournament West of the Mississippi” is accepting application to enter. The Clearlake Oaks-Glenhaven Business Association is sponsoring the event which brings folks from across the state and country. It was canceled in 2020 and last year was scaled back, but got even more entries than in 2019, before the pandemic. The Committee Chair says they’re expecting another good year for “catfishing, our local community and the overall Lake County economy.” Prizes this year are worth $10,000 — in the adult and kid categories. The derby is from May 13 to 15. Entries are available online at www.clearlakeoaks.org/derby.

A hearing is continued this week by the Clearlake City Council regarding an appeal of a cannabis operation the Clearlake Planning Commission approved last year. The council’s meeting in closed session first, then at 6pm tonight will hear about the appeal of the Planning Commission’s approval of conditional use permit and mitigated negative declaration for the 15 acre cannabis operation on Ogulin Canyon Road. Staff have recommended the council deny the appeal filed by Dave Hughes. The council has other business too including meeting this month’s adoptable dog.

The Fort Bragg City Council has given their approval to enter into an employment agreement for an Interim City Manager. Starting January 3rd, Dave Spaur took the wheel at a rate of $76.30/hr. Also at the first meeting of the new year, the police department reported to the council on the winter weather shelter which they’re managing for the first time. It’s an overflow service from the Hospitality House when it’s too dangerous for sleeping outdoors. They use the Motel 6 and do not allow alcohol, drugs, or guests and risk being kicked out if they partake.

For the first time ever, Lake County has a woman leading the Agriculture Dept. Katherine Vanderwall has been appointed Agricultural Commissioner/Sealer of Weights and Measures. Vanderwall is a native, born and raised in Lake County. The chairman of the Lake County Board of Supervisors noted there wouldn’t be anyone else as well positioned for the role, and they’re excited she has stepped up to serve. She’s been the Deputy Agricultural Commissioner and Sealer of Weights and Measures for the last five years.

Congressmen Jared Huffman and Mike Thompson have honored a local winery owner on the floor of the US House. Last month a resolution in honor of Martha Barra for her 80th birthday and in recognition of her four decades of organic grape growing was read into the record. Huffman’s resolution said Barra has been a trailblazer in Mendocino County’s early wine industry, learning the business inside and out, looking for ecologically conscious agriculture and production methods early on. She currently oversees vineyard operations, does local tastings and hosts events at their property in Redwood Valley.

A slump in the economy in the North Bay like so many other places in 2020. Recently released data from the federal government shows the region was hard hit but rebounded in 2021 as travel and hospitality sectors recovered. The hardest hit, Napa, with Solano and Lake counties GDP pretty much unchanged. Sonoma and Mendocino counties were down around 3-3.5% and Marin only 1%.

A barricade situation in Laytonville has ended. A man reportedly locked in a car with a SWAT Hostage Negotiation Team, and Behavioral Health staff there to help de-escalate the situation. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office reports Christopher Brockway had recently been jailed on felon in possession of a firearm, forgery, possession of stolen property, conspiracy and identity theft charges and was granted short term release. He did not turn himself in so when cops tried to get him to surrender he wouldn’t and the barricade situation started. He reportedly threatened he would kill himself as a CHP helicopter hovered over the situation. The Sheriff’s office reports the man became hostile and wouldn’t surrender so they used rubber bullets, a taser and finally a police dog took Brockway down. Neighbors were also told to stay inside. After the suspect was detained, medical personnel were called to the scene.

Private well owners in Sonoma County are getting help to make sure their drinking water stays safe as changes occur due to the drought. Groundwater tables are lower so some wells could have matter in them that make the water unsafe to drink. The county warns you should test your water to make sure it’s safe, to look for naturally occurring contaminants and if there are unhealthy substances, get help from a private water treatment expert. Also Environmental Health is working with the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board, the Sonoma County Water Agency and Permit Sonoma to put up a digital resource hub to help Sonoma County well owners.

The resource hub can be viewed at: https://socoemergency.org/emergency/drought

A car crash on Hwy 20 in Nice has killed a pedestrian. Apparently an elderly white man had been jumping in and out of traffic over the weekend and was hit by a car and the man’s body was laying in the middle of the road. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office was on the scene, but not a lot more info has been released so far.

The Kelseyville Unified School District is deciding if they should send a formal letter of opposition to the state regarding COVID vaccine mandates for students and staff. The board’s meeting tomorrow night to discuss the matter due to a staffing shortage. Those who attend the discussion have to wear masks. The resolution mirrors one accepted last month by the Lakeport Unified, Lucerne Elementary and Konocti Unified School District boards. Lake County News reports though that the Kelseyville resolution has some differences including continuing to partner with public health agencies to educate and offer vaccination info for school-age children and employees, but they don’t want mandates.

A tree that could not be reached by Pacific Gas and Electric because of nesting Bald Eagles is apparently a hazard that needs to be removed. A spokesperson for the energy company says an in house expert said the massive pine tree on Ridgeway Highway in Potter Valley is “dying” and could possibly fall into nearby power lines. So they say to continue to fulfill their mandate to protect public safety, they need to take the tree down. The spokesperson also confirmed there is a Bald Eagle nest in the tree, but that it’s been called “inactive” and the U.S. Department of Fish and Wildlife gave them the greenlight to fell the tree. They were trying to do it by Friday or Saturday but there were people gathered there and they couldn’t gain access.

First 5 Lake County has a new executive director. Samantha Bond was hired locally after spending the last five years as the First 5 Mendocino County public relations manager. She says she believes the work of the organization has had an “immense positive impact for families with young children”. She says she’s “humbled to be able to continue this great work” in Lake County. She has previously worked in group homes with kids with severe mental and behavioral health challenges. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of California, Davis.  

A group of cannabis industry advocates and business owners in the Emerald Triangle along with farmers and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) at the Capitol calling on lawmakers to get rid of the cannabis cultivation tax once and for all. Last week the Governor signaled he might be willing to bend in some areas. Some attendees said the state was in crisis as prices of cannabis are going down but taxes were increasing and that it was disproportionately impacting small cannabis farmers and BIPOC, calling it unsustainable.

New cases of the omicron strain of COVID19 are overwhelming hospital emergency rooms in the state. The Los Angeles Times is reporting the virus is spreading at the fastest pace it has since the pandemic first arose in California. The report says health officials are expecting a potential hospitalization disaster, even though the symptoms are supposedly minor compared to delta. The report also says the omicron mutation could peak soon as hospitals consider whether or not to cancel scheduled surgeries and ambulances face long delays dropping off patients.

If you were wondering why there was a widespread tsunami warning Saturday, an undersea volcano erupted near the Pacific nation of Tonga. Tsunami waves came crashing down across the shore with people being warned from the Mexico/San Diego to the Oregon border to get to higher ground. Tsunami advisories were issued for Hawaii, Alaska and the U.S. Pacific coast. There haven’t been reports of injuries, but we heard Point Arena harbor had experienced  3.5 foot surges, Santa Cruz reported some flooding and damage. And two fishermen had to be rescued in San Mateo County too. Satellite images on Tonga showed a massive eruption, with a plume of ash out of the ocean with steam and gas rising above, in the shape of a mushroom.

It is back to remote learning next week in the Lakeport Unified School District. The district says when classes resume after the MLK break on Tuesday, students should be ready to log on for their lessons. Superintendent Matt Bullard, posting on the district website, blames a staff shortage tied to more Covid cases. Distance learning will be the rule until Tuesday the 25th. Before that the district will offer a free rapid testing clinic on Monday, January 24. Bullard hopes that all students and staff who plan to return to campus for in-person learning the next day will participate. According to the district, there were 16 positive COVID-19 cases among staff members and 62 among students, compared with 23 cases among staff members and 55 among students in the first two weeks of the new year. The Lakeport district website has additional information about the return to remote instruction.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Department is investigating a suspicious death. Deputies say a passing motorist called 9-1-1 after seeing a person unresponsive near the intersection of Parducci Road and Christy Lane in Ukiah on Tuesday morning. Responding officers found a woman, identified as 22-year-old Allyssa Sawdey of Ukiah, dead at that scene. Detectives are waiting for autopsy results to determine just how she died. If you have any information about the case you can call the Sherriff’s office anonymous tip line.

Some encouraging signs about the latest wave of Covid-19 cases in Northern California. Reports say tests done on sewage in the Bay Area show the amount of coronavirus in the wastewater is dropping. Those tests have been a marker of past spikes and dips in the number of cases. Among those expressing optimism based on those tests and other measurements, California Human Service Secretary Mark Ghaly. He says it is too soon to let our guard down but hopes we may have turned the corner on the latest surge of the Omicron variant

The state Employment Development Department is dealing with a new scam targeting disability insurance. That scam involves suspected organized groups filing fake unemployment claims using stolen information from workers and medical providers. More than 345,000 claims have been red-flagged for potential abuse. The department says it is reviewing all of them to be sure no legitimate claims are being denied. Officials say it is more important than ever for Californians to guard against ID theft, especially when filing unemployment or other claims with the state. If you think your personal information has been compromised, you can report it through a link on the E D D website

A woman from Clearlake accused of lighting fires in Lower Lake didn’t make it to a recent court hearing, jailers say, because of behavior issues. It was agreed in court last November that Kayla Renee Main was going to be sent to a hospital for mental health treatment as she was unable to make decisions on her own. The court said if she was not treated with certain medications, she could potentially hurt herself. Then she was ordered back to jail after she went on the meds. There’s another review hearing in her case coming up. Main is charged with arson of property, possessing material/device for arson and unlawful fire and violating probation, resisting and vandalism.

A new pedestrian bridge has been finished in Lakeport. The bridge links the Library Park parklands to where they’re building a new Lakefront Park along the Clear Lake shoreline. It’s on the north side of the Fifth Street public parking lot and goes all the way across a seasonal stormwater drainage course. The city’s own Public Works Department built the concrete and steel bridge footings, installed the bridge after it was delivered, then finished up with more concrete work. The new park, which is being funded by a state Parks & Water Bond will start construction later this year.

The Rotary Club of Willits Student Debt Assistance Program is accepting applications. Those who live in the city of Willits who need help paying down student loan debt can apply. The program is to encourage local area college or career tech school graduates, active in the community, to stay. The Rotary Club’s program came about in August of 2020. The following Spring, of 2021, the Willits Rotary awarded ten area residents grants of $300/month for one year.  Applications are available starting tomorrow, with a deadline of Feb. 19, 2022.

If you were impacted by last summer’s Hopkins Fire, you still have time to enroll in the debris removal program from the state. The California Dept. of Emergency Services program cleans up fire debris out of properties for free. The fire in Calpella started last September and burned nearly 260 acres and destroyed 67 structures, over half of them, homes. The beginning of the cleanup work started about a month later because of weather related issues. If you meet the requirements from the state, including submitting soil samples, then and only then, can you start your rebuild.  You can certainly hire private contractors for cleanup, but you’ll have to follow the same requirements before your rebuild.

An online workshop is being held by the BLM Ukiah Field Office regarding the South Cow Mountain OHV Management Area. They’re looking for public input next Thursday on the area to make it more family-friendly, increase safety and improve the trail system. The workshop will show proposed routes, facilities and other improvements at the off-highway vehicle recreation site. They want public feedback to help identify new trails and redesign routes for better connectivity, find safer solutions for shared trails, provide greater public access, and offer a more enjoyable experience.

To participate in the workshop, please register at least 30 minutes prior to the event at https://tinyurl.com/2p8p3wmc. Please contact us for reasonable accommodations to participate. For specific questions, please contact Ashley Poggio at BLM_CA_UK_SOUTHCOWPLAN@BLM.gov.

One person is dead after a fire broke out at a home in Fort Bragg. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says they’re not sure who died, due to the condition of the body, but they say they think they know who it is. They say they will use medical records and DNA analysis to confirm. Mendo Fever says they heard on the police scanner the fire broke out yesterday morning after 7. The dispatcher reported to responders that explosions were heard coming from the structure. They reported the fire out in under a half hour.

The tax sharing agreement between the City of Lakeport and the Board of Supervisors has been approved for a proposed annexation of the South Lakeport area. Lake Co News reports the City Council and the board had a joint meeting Tuesday night and they all voted unanimously to move forward. The news site reported both sides called the deal a “win-win”. The 135-acre South Lakeport Annexation Project area has 50 parcels running along South Main Street and onto part of Soda Bay Road. The city has eyeballed the property as part of its sphere of influence since at least the 1980s. It’s supposedly the most lucrative commercial area in the county’s jurisdiction.

Members are still needed by the Governing Board of Lake and Mendocino County’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA). They need one member who lives in Lake County and two living in Mendocino County for the AAA Advisory Council. They’re also looking for applicants for a member “at large” from both Lake and Mendocino Counties. Their job as part of the Governing Board is to work on issues like planning and development of community services for older adults and those of different abilities in both counties. The positions are for two years. They’re currently meeting on Zoom. For more info, you can contact the Area Agency on Aging: 707-995-3744 or email aaa@dss.co.lake.ca.us.

A man from Clearlake Oaks who police say was shooting at homes, then tried to assault a deputy has been arrested. The Sheriff’s office reports Benjamin Wilkinson was the guy shooting at homes. When a deputy approached, after they set up a perimeter, they say the guy tried spraying the Deputy with bear spray. The Sheriff’s office says there was a brief struggle with Wilkinson, but there were no injuries reported. And there were no injuries related to the shots fired. Wilkinson has been jailed for shooting at inhabited dwellings, resisting arrest and misdemeanor illegal use of tear gas.

A man in Lake County’s busted after police say he was trying to sell meth in Santa Rosa. Santa Rosa Police arrested Eulises Moya Gomez at his home in Lower Lake Tuesday and charged with suspicion of possessing meth for sale. He was singled out in November for selling methamphetamine across Sonoma County. They took a search warrant to his home, then he was detained. During the search, officers located over 2 pounds of meth and other evidence of drug trafficking, including packaging materials, digital scales, cell phones and about $2,100 in cash.

Hospitals continue to be inundated with patients due to the overwhelming surge of omicron, so the state has come up with a plan. The coronavirus mutation has been causing shortages of healthcare staff, but they say illnesses are less severe than a year ago. But it’s still wreaking havoc on hospital workers, so state health officials say they’ll allow asymptomatic healthcare workers who tested positive to work. The policy is a stopgap though and ends February 1st. It’s so many healthcare workers can remain on the job. The Press Democrat reports some healthcare workers and community members aren’t really keen on the policy.

The state Attorney General says they’re suing a phony health insurance company, calling itself a health care sharing ministry. The lawsuit against The Aliera Companies and the Moses family. They founded the Sharity Ministries Inc., which was also a nonprofit at one time, called Trinity Healthshare. The state says they’re actually a for profit company that is collecting hundreds of millions from thousands of Californians. They’re supposedly selling unauthorized health plans and insurance and it’s alleged they illegally denied members benefits but kept up to 84% of their payments. The state also says they denied claims on the regular, and spent only around 16 cents for every dollar they received for health care expenses. The Atty. General, Rob Bonta says it’s essentially worthless coverage.

Two new members have been appointed to the Point Arena City Council. At a special meeting Tuesday, Jim Koogle and Richey Wasserman were added to take over for two councilmembers who resigned. The two have lived in the area a while and have served on the City Council and other boards and commissions in the past. There was a decision last fall to hold a Special Election for February, but only one candidate emerged. And since there was nothing else on the ballot, they decided to appoint members instead. The two will serve until 2024. The Mayor and Vice Mayor were also chosen, Scott Ignacio and Barbara Burkey respectively. 

Like Sonoma County before it, the Mendocino County Public Health office says county residents should stay away from large gatherings and limit other gatherings and parties to 12 people if there are people who are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 as the county is dealing with increasing cases due to the omicron variant. The mutation is much more contagious than other strains and can evade vaccinations. The Public Health Dept. reports cases in Mendocino County have more than quadrupled since Christmas and hospitals are nearing full capacity. 

The town of Mendocino is now in a Stage 2 Drought Emergency. The Mendocino City Community Services District Board of Directors gathered for a special meeting last week to go over the rainfall numbers they use to determine the current drought level. There was about 20.40 inches of rain measured so far as of January 7th. Just under the cut to enter Stage 2 where twenty inches is required. Twenty-two are needed for Stage 1. So residents have to voluntarily cut back by 15%. There are also other requirements, including designated irrigation times, no car washing with a hose unless it has a shutoff valve and no filling of hot tubs or swimming pools.

A quarter million dollars has been awarded to recipients in Lake County after the annual wine auction. The Lake County Wine Alliance had their check presentation ceremony for the 2021 Lake County Wine Auction, which they put on each year to support the neediest in the community. Volunteers, the board of directors, donors, sponsors, and auction attendees helped dole out the cash. Some of the recipients included the Lake County Symphony Association, Adventist Shower/Trailer Project, Yuba Community College District, Lake County Senior Centers, Lake County Youth Services and Operation Tango Mike.

A man from Ukiah has been killed in a car crash with a motorcycle. Police say the crash was at S. State St. and Beacon Ln. between an SUV and a motorcycle. They found Charles Partridge, lying on the ground next to his motorcycle in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant. They say he was unresponsive, CPR was administered by first responders, but he didn’t make it. The full sized SUV had major damage, but nobody was injured inside it. The road was closed about five hours during the investigation. The vehicles were both impounded as evidence. Police say preliminary info shows the motorcycle crashed into the SUV as it was coming out of the restaurant parking lot.

The Governor is getting behind some possible revisions to the state’s cannabis tax structure. Gov. Newsom said Monday he might consider changes to the taxes for marijuana cultivators and for buyers.  He says in his latest budget proposal, that he supports tax reform and plans to work with lawmakers so that modifications can be made to help stabilize the market. The budget projects nearly $800 million in cannabis revenue during the 2022-23 tax year.

An expansion of geothermal electricity for the North Bay could be coming in Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. Sonoma Clean Power, already serving nearly a quarter million customers says they’d like to double the output to serve smaller communities in Lake, along with more in Sonoma and Mendocino counties. The company is proposing a so called GeoZone, or geothermal opportunity zone. Last month the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved joining. The CEO of Sonoma Clean Power says they’re hoping to be done with presentations for each county by the end of February then open a request for proposals for new technology, then find the right locations for pilot projects.

The Governor’s new budget puts more money into schools and community colleges. Over $100 billion to be included in Newsom’s budget for next year as a surplus emerges. The Governor spoke about his budget Monday and reiterated what we’ve been dealing with, stress and anxiety for kids during the pandemic. Under the proposal, k-12 schools and community colleges would get $24 billion more, with most of that coming from the state surplus with more from Proposition 98. Teachers and other staff could get raises or cost of living increases. 2 billion in construction projects, money for higher education for high school career pathways, money for transitional kindergarten and preschools, more money for ESL programs and farm to table programs in schools. There would be over 3 billion for schools and community colleges in a rainy day fund.

The Calif. Dept. of Public Health is reportedly considering canceling or postponing elective surgeries due to a spike in COVID-19 infections and ensuing staff shortages. The state is deciding if they should issue an order for hospitals to suspend the surgeries where patients wouldn’t be immediately harmed. Hospitals can of course decide voluntarily to do so. CalMatters reports hospitals are weighing their options as a cataract surgery or knee replacement could possibly be canceled, but not heart surgery or a breast cancer biopsy.

State Sen. Bill Dodd has introduced legislation for refurbished medical equipment to be used by others who can’t afford some of the items. Wheelchairs and walkers can be reconditioned and that could give life-saving access to some which it would otherwise be out of reach to, due to the cost, or other barriers. Dodd says his bill will redirect essential items to people who need it the most so they can live with greater independence and quality of life. His bill would create a pilot program to begin with in Contra Costa, Napa and Solano counties.

The Governor’s got a plan to make it easier to hire on more teachers and other school employees during staffing shortages due to the pandemic. He’s signed an executive order for schools to be allowed to give substitute teachers more hours and rehire folks who recently retired, to fill in. But his order is just during the surge of cases and will expire at the end of March. Omicron has been hitting hard. Many school staff out after infection or being in contact with someone who is infected after winter break.

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office says a body found along the 101 near the Mendocino/Sonoma County line last Friday has been identified. Deputies say a woman from Willits, Amber Dillon was reported missing last week, and the body was confirmed to be her. Officers on the scene of a “a possible deceased body” near Highway 101 and Geysers Road last Friday after someone flagged down a CHP officers after finding the body. Sheriff’s deputies say the body was in a remote field, off the highway and they were trying to figure out how it got there.

A man from Ukiah has been arrested while out on bail for another crime. The Ukiah Police dept. reports seeing a parked black Mitsubishi Outlander with the driver’s door open. The cop recognized the car matched one just reported stolen and a vehicle license plate check confirmed it. So the officer, with his firearm out, due to the car being stolen, commanded the man out of the car. Donavan Parrish got out and was immediately arrested. He was recently in custody for a burglary and now additionally charged for being in a stolen vehicle and committing a felony while out on bail. The registered owner of the car got her car back.

Congressmen Mike Thompson and John Garamendi have introduced legislation to protect the Walker Ridge area in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument. The two Northern CA lawmakers have introduced the “Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument Expansion Act” to expand the area 4,000 acres to include the Walker Ridge tract, which is federally owned land. The original monument designated by President Obama covers Napa, Yolo, Solano, Lake, Colusa, Glenn and Mendocino counties. The entire ridgeline in Lake and Colusa counties will be called “Condor Ridge — which means “Molok Luyuk” in the Patwin language.

They were supposed to discuss an appeal against a new board member at the next Middletown Unified School District Board meeting, but COVID stopped that. The meeting was set for tomorrow night, but it had to be rescheduled. They were going to consider a resolution against COVID-19 vaccine mandates for staff and students, but one of their own is quarantining. Lake Co News reports the meeting will happen instead next Tuesday, the 18th. Then they will discuss the vaccine, and a petition against new board member Annette Lee who said she would like to consider new language regarding the vaccination idea. The Lake County Office of Education is reportedly helping the Registrar of Voters Office verify petition signatures regarding Lee’s appointment, but that won’t be done until the end of the month.

Our neighbor’s Sonoma County have a new health order in place, stopping any large gatherings as the omicron mutation puts a stranglehold on events. Sonoma health officials are also asking residents not to leave their homes unless they have to go to work, school or out for necessities for 30 days. It’s not a mandate, just a recommendation because of a rapid increase in cases. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase took to youtube, putting out a video about the health order, saying “we may be done with COVID, COVID is not done with us”. It comes as hospitalizations are also rising.

Assemblymember Jim Wood says he’s supporting universal healthcare in the state and will vote to move an assembly bill related to it, forward. Wood announced he’s voting in favor of AB 1400 as the chair of the Assembly Health Committee. He says insurance companies are too in charge of what people can and cannot have and pharmaceutical companies are raising prices and pushing expensive brand medications. The bill is being heard in Wood’s committee today. If it passes the policy committee at the end of the week, it must pass the full Assembly by January 31st, the deadline for all Assembly bills introduced in 2021.

Three more people have died from COVID19 in Mendocino County and 223 new cases have been confirmed. The three deaths give us a total now of 109 people who have passed away due to complications from the coronavirus. They were a 47 year-old woman from Ukiah, who was fully vaccinated; a 68 year-old man from the North County area, who was not vaccinated and an 81 year-old man, from the North Coast who was also unvaccinated.

A teen from Yorkville has been arrested for several crimes after being seen speeding against another car. Police in Ukiah reported a patrol officer saw two cars racing at the intersection of S. State St. and Washington Ave and one of the cars was driving recklessly. The other car got away. Four people inside the car they stopped had two male juveniles, one female juvenile and an adult male inside. There was booze in the car so the 17 year old driver was immediately arrested. And the officer noticed what appeared to be a gun with assault weapon characteristics on the passenger side, loaded with a high capacity magazine. So, the 14 year old passenger was arrested too. The female juvenile was released to a legal guardian and the adult male was released too.

A group of folks in the Middletown School District say they’re not happy with the choice of a new school board member. Lake Co News reports the Board of Trustees choice is being challenged with a barely used process in state education code. The superintendent of schools told the news site he got a petition at the end of last year challenging the provisional appointment of Annette Lee to the Middletown Unified board. The code allows for these sorts of challenges if there’s a petition with enough signatures on it sent to the county superintendent of schools within 30 days of the date of the provisional appointment. It comes after a couple of board members in their first terms resigned, so they had to replace them for a year. The board meets again Wednesday.

A new shopping center and hotel are being considered in Lakeport. The Planning Commission will consider the project at their meeting tomorrow. The public is welcome to join, if they follow COVID restrictions, or they can watch online. The “Lakeport Hub Project” will be presented. It’s a shopping center and hotel development for 15.5 acres where there’s an old walnut orchard, near the area of “Hamburger Hill”. That’s an area where there are a bunch of fast food restaurants. They want to put in a service station, six to eight restaurants, two retail buildings and a 70 room hotel.

Someone walking along Highway 101 apparently died in Mendocino County. Mendo Fever reports hearing on the police scanner and confirming on the CHP Traffic Incident Information page a pedestrian was killed after being hit by a car south of Willits. As the investigation started, officers closed one of the traffic lanes to gather evidence. Someone apparently called 911 to report hitting someone who was pushing a shopping cart near the Ridgewood Summit. The person who called it in after hitting the pedestrian, was apparently cooperating and had pulled to the side of the highway after the crash.

The state continues to make dark history, with over 6 million coronavirus cases now reported. The report by the Los Angeles Times noting the milestone while the omicron mutation continues its march through California. The state reported nearly 309,000 new infections Monday, which included cases confirmed over the weekend. Daily caseloads have been at their highest levels since last year. Many of the cases coming from Los Angeles County, which reported over 225,000 new coronavirus cases over the last week. The county reported three of its highest single-day totals of the entire pandemic, the latest record was on Sunday, with 45,584.

Advocates for the Food for All campaign like the Governor’s new budget proposal, which would start an expansion of Cal Fresh for people 55 and older, regardless of their immigration status. Karen Giron, a Cal Fresh specialist with Hunger Action Los Angeles says it had been heartbreaking to turn people away before now.

 :07  “So we’re hoping that everything is already built in the system so we can just remove that requirement and allow people to get access to food, especially during the pandemic.”

Tag:  Some advocates are also calling on the governor to consider spending some budget surplus on another round of stimulus checks to help low-income families pay for basic necessities.

***

Second Cut: Nell Myhand with the National Poor People’s Campaign in California says people who receive state disability, V-A disability, or who participate in Cal Works were unfairly excluded from the last round of stimulus.

 :11  “No price can be assigned to our unnecessary suffering. And even in terms of dollars and cents, it’s much more expensive to deal with the consequences of economic policies that fail us.”

Tag:  The budget proposal also includes 17 billion dollars to fund programs that increase housing or combat homelessness.

Lake County’s seeing a surge of COVID cases like a lot of other places, especially after the holidays. But a local school that had been hit hard by the spike in confirmed cases, Mountain Vista Middle School had to close. The Record Bee newspaper reports the school is trying to adjust its teaching protocol after the three day closure because of a staff shortage. District officials say it was due to COVID exposure. So, kids were instructed to do independent study through today when they could come back for in person learning. The news site reports calling out other schools, and that the Lakeport Unified School District and Lucerne Elementary said their schools were open.

The Gov. has signed an executive order to prevent price gouging on at-home COVID-19 test kits. It means those selling the kits cannot raise the price by more than 10%. It comes as the omicron strain consumes the state leaving some residents without the ability to even get tested or stand in long lines across the state or try to get ahold of rapid test kits as they quickly sell out at many stores and pharmacies. The Governor’s office says it’s to improve access and keep tests affordable. The order will also help law enforcers to take action against price gougers like in wildfire emergencies.   

A dead body has reportedly been found in Hopland. The CHP was apparently flagged down Friday afternoon by someone around the area of Geysers Road and Highway 101 for a possible body. Sheriff’s deputies went to the area finding the corpse in a remote field off the highway. The agency sent over Violent Crime and Crime Scene detectives. No other info was immediately available.

After a routine traffic stop for expired registration in Covelo, a slew of weapons are found at a home. Leonard Whipple III and four juveniles were in the car, one of the kids, a 16 year old had an active warrant and a deputy said he saw smoked marijuana cigarettes, and bud marijuana inside. After a search, the deputy found materials consistent with the sale of marijuana. Whipple III was cited and released for transportation for sale of marijuana. The 16 year-old juvenile male was arrested and taken to Juvenile Hall. After a search warrant was served at Whipple III’s home, a woman was arrested. Deputies found over a dozen guns and ammo, high capacity magazines and drugs. One was an assault weapon. No weapons were secured and a 13 year old lived there. So various charges including child endangerment were filed against Whipple III. There’s a warrant for his arrest and for Leonard Whipple, Jr.

A traffic stop in Covelo ends in the arrest of a couple of men. The small truck was pulled over last Wednesday, and a bunch of open containers of booze were found inside. The driver, Christian Mendoza and his passenger, Jorge Campos-Diaz were inside and a deputy found that Campos-Diaz had four warrants for his arrest, one was a felony, so he was detained and a search of the car turned up an unloaded semiautomatic handgun under the driver’s seat, and a spent .22 caliber cartridge. Mendoza was arrested for carrying a concealed firearm and held on $15,000.00 bail and Campos-Diaz was held on $25,000.00 bail.

The CEO of Mendocino County is out. Carmel Angelo has announced she’s retiring after more than 12 years. She says March 19th will be her last day. She was apparently already planning to leave in October, but a serious illness in her family has her leaving sooner. She says last January she had another family illness, then in the past week, the same. Angelo says the decision to leave sooner came after last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, during which she was getting texts about her family. Before being CEO, Angelo was the county’s Director of Health and Human Services and is a former nurse.

A man the Ukiah Police Department says seemed to be driving drunk has been arrested. Police say early yesterday morning Kody Idica was stopped along with his passengers, Monica Diaz and Dominic Idica. Kody was arrested for DUI after a field sobriety test. During a check of the car, a ghost, semi-auto Glock handgun was found loaded with 9 live rounds of ammunition. So the other two were also arrested on various charges.

Police say a man in Covelo’s been arrested for causing a disturbance, banging on doors and windows of a home. Ambrose Fallis, who was found to be on Post Release Community Supervision was found at the home. He was searched and found with drugs, a violation of his release. He’s arrested and held in Mendocino County Jail on a No Bail status.

The Governor has announced he’s looking to spend hundreds of billions in his new budget. Newsom’s new budget proposal includes a $300 million expenditure, that includes more money on more law enforcement, with a focus on retail theft and another 2.7 bil emergency package for coronavirus testing and hospital staffing. There hasn’t been a lot more reporting on what else Newsom intends to spend on. Last November, the Legislative Analyst’s Office said they saw the state having as much as a $31 billion surplus this year.

A joint meeting is set for the Lakeport City Council and Board of Supervisors for a shared tax proposal regarding the South Main Street area. Lake Co News reports the meeting tomorrow night in person and on Zoom. The board is meeting separately in the morning and may discuss closing Board chambers due to COVID. But tomorrow night, either way, they’ll consider the tax sharing agreement with the city council related to the city’s annexation of a 137-acre area across from South Main Street and Soda Bay Road. The city and county would share property tax and sales tax revenue from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2040.

If you’re planning to take a visit to a nursing facility in the state, plan to show your vaccination card. Under new rules in Calif. you must be fully vaccinated for a visit to a skilled nursing home, and boosted, if you’re eligible And that’s not all, you also have to show a negative test result for COVID-19 for most indoor visits. If you’re unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated, or eligible for a booster, but haven’t gotten it, you might be able to have an outdoor visit, but also have to show proof of a negative test too. You will also need to wear a mask and physically distance from all except the resident you are visiting. The state Dept. of Public Health mandate goes at least until February 7th.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says there’s no proof so far that omicron is in the county, but figures it probably is. At his briefing Friday, Dr. Andy Coren says the variant doesn’t seem to have gotten here yet, but he doubt’s that. He adds the county doesn’t have the data to show it is for sure though. He said the state and county though have entered, what he referred to as the “omicron blizzard.” Dr. Coren says cases are doubling in the county by the day. There were 15/100,000 cases last Thursday, then 30/100,000 the following day. Dr. Coren reported hospitals had not seen a surge yet, but two hospitals were dealing with staffing shortages.

After State Senator Mike McGuire said he would do whatever he could to stop a clandestine plan to ship coal overseas from the Port of Humboldt, the Eureka City Council passed an ordinance that could further get in the way of any secret plan. The city council voted last week to ban handling, storage and transportation of coal on city property. There wasn’t a whole lot of chatter about the ordinance as the council had already discussed the proposal numerous times. At the meeting, members of the No Coal in Humboldt Coalition called during public comment in support of the ban.

A new report shows the amount of Californians who have received a COVID booster shot were pretty low as the omicron variant starts to blanket communities. Reports of some hospitals being at capacity, infections at record highs and impossible to get tests, or testing lines stretching for hours. CalMatters reported only 38% of eligible Californians had received their booster vaccine. And that it varied by county with the far north of the state, and rural areas with the lowest numbers. The Bay Area had the highest rate, 55%. The state’s Public Health Officer said after two years of the pandemic, he thinks there’s some fatigue around it.

The man known as the Red Beaded Burglar is talking about his time on the run. 40-year-old William Evers admits in an interview with the Press Democrat that he committed the 8 burglaries across several Mendocino County communities until he was captured in November. In fact, Evers says he probably committed several more as he hid out for several months. Evers disputes charges that he fired at a deputy who was part of a search team looking for him in May. He tells the paper that he doesn’t mind the notoriety—or the nickname—but that he expects to spend a long time in jail. Evers is locked up on 2.5 million dollars bail. He is due in court for a preliminary hearing next week.

A one-time Lake County supervisor is running for county District Attorney. Anthony Farrington tells LakeCo News he is in the race because of encouragement from county residents and his own concerns about crime He also says he knows what it is like to be a victim because his father was murdered when Farrington was 7 years old. Farrington’s background includes service on the Lake County Board of Supervisors, representing District 4. He will face incumbent DA Susan Krones who is looking for a second term.

No more overdue fees at Mendocino County Libraries. The library says the change eliminates a barrier so all county residents can access library materials. There will still be a charge for replacements for any items that are damaged or not returned. Materials will still have due dates and can be renewed twice unless another patron has requested them. The board of supervisors approved dropping the late fees late last year. No-fee is a nationwide trend. Many libraries are doing away with overdue penalties as suggested by the American Library Association.

The Mendocino Land Trust is looking for public comments as it renews its accreditation from the national Land Trust Alliance. The organization says that accreditation recognizes local programs that meet national standards to protect natural spaces and working land. The Mendocino Land Trust also says that accreditation gives donors and other partners confidence in its work. If you would like to weigh in or find out more, the website landtrustaccredidation.org has the details.

Ukiah’s Demolition Review Committee has approved a request to tear down two buildings on South Main Street downtown. One of the buildings houses a well-known local business called the Dragon’s Lair. There was one “no” vote and some public opposition. The committee decided that the structure does not meet the criteria to remain standing as a historic structure. The city council will make the ultimate decision about whether or not building owners get a demolition permit.

Assemblyman Jim Wood says he’s supporting bills to create a universal healthcare system in Calif. He’s announced he’s voting for AB 1400. He’s the chair of the Assembly Health Committee. He says he continues to feel the “anger that many Californians experience in their efforts to access quality and affordable health care” as prices soar for brand name drugs and insurance premiums. He says he’s worked with plenty in the healthcare field before and feels it’s something that can be accomplished. AB 1400 would establish rules for a universal, single-payer system. It will be heard by Wood’s committee Tuesday.

As confirmed cases of COVID rapidly increase in Lake County, the Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace has put out a statement. Dr. Pace says after classrooms reopened after the holidays, there have been outbreaks in students and staff at local schools. There are recommendations from the state and Cal/OSHA as the omicron variant spreads through communities. Anyone vaccinated or not, asymptomatic or previously infected can end isolation after 5 days if they have no symptoms after first testing positive, or if they’re getting better and have a negative test. Guidelines for staff are a tad different because they’re governed by the state. Dr. Pace says they hope this latest surge only lasts about a month.

Another person has died from COVID19 in Mendocino County. The Public Health Office reports the 106th person to die in the county was a Ukiah resident. The 86 year old woman was vaccinated. They say fully vaccinated people over age 18 should strongly consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine booster to improve immunity.

To find the nearest vaccine clinic in your area, please visit the Public Health website at: www.mendocinocounty.org/covid19

The Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Andrew Coren has put out a new health update in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding isolation and quarantining. Positive cases and exposure by a close contact can end their isolation or quarantine after 5 days with a negative antigen test if they have no symptoms and wear a mask for the other five days. It used to be a ten day quarantine. Also, a person who is current on their vaccine, is only considered to be, if they have a booster too. Dr. Andy Coren says the omicron strain’s increased contagion makes boosters essential for a high level of protection from illness, hospitalization, and death.

Senator Mike McGuire continues pushing legislation against coal shipments through Northern Calif. A proposal for what McGuire says is a secret operation to ship millions of tons of coal overseas has passed with bipartisan support in the Senate Transportation Committee. McGuire says the proposed toxic coal train is an environmental disaster waiting to happen. He says SB 307 will protect the state with the required funding so there are improvements on the now defunct North Coast rail line north of Willits and does not allow state funds to be used for a possible bulk coal terminal facility at the Port of Humboldt. 

Lake County just got schooled by a judge. The judge is ordering the county not to allow the construction of a multi-million dollar, upscale resort in the Guenoc Valley. The ruling cites the county failing to consider how the development would affect community safety and wildfire evacuations in the highly fire-prone area. The ruling after the Center for Biological Diversity sued against the 16,000-acre project where there are oak woodlands, wildlife corridors and habitat for sensitive wildlife species, including golden eagles, foothill yellow-legged frogs and western pond turtles.

The state has reported one of the all time highs of COVID19 cases for the third day in a row. The state Department of Public Health reports a positivity rate of 21.4% with a daily case rate of 107/100,000, up from 89 per 100,000 on Wednesday, and nearly at the all-time high we hit of 112 cases per 100,000 in January 2021. But the state also reported these latest numbers are an under estimate, because of a data processing error so it doesn’t include Los Angeles County due to delayed submission. And the county was reporting over 22,000 cases a day.

The Kelseyville Fire Protection District’s Measure A tax failed. A final canvass of the vote this week on Measure A, showed it did not get enough votes to create a new community services district. The idea was to bring in millions of dollars to pay for more staff, including up to eight more firefighters, build new facilities and buy new equipment.  The chief says the new station they wanted to build would have reduced response time over a 100-square-mile area.