Skip navigation

Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

FEMA says it’ll pay all of the costs associated with the debris removal and emergency protective measures for the LNU Lightning Complex fires. Normally the agency covers 75% related to declared disasters, but Congressman Mike Thompson’s office says for this disaster it’ll be at 100%. The congressman reportedly asked for more federal assistance for the complex of fires which started on Aug. 14th and ended up blackening 363,220 acres in Colusa, Lake, Napa, Solano, Sonoma and Yolo counties. 3 people were also killed by the fire and several civilians and firefighters were injured. The fires destroyed almost 1,500 structures. Thompson says it’s much needed relief for communities that have been struggling already because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A man from Willits who had been missing has apparently been killed and the Sheriff’s Dept. has arrested his son. As we reported earlier this week the family of 69 year old James Whetstone had been searching for him after he disappeared while the rest of the family slept in Willits. His daughter had said it was out of character for him to walk off without personal items, like his phone and wallet. Now the Sheriff’s office reports 29 year old James Whetstone was arrested for the death of his father whose body was found on his property. Deputies visited the family property yesterday and say they found a fresh grave concealed with debris, so they got a search warrant and excavated the area, finding James Whetstone’s body. They connected the death to the younger James who was booked into jail for suspicion of murder. An autopsy is pending.

Sonoma County is reportedly developing a plan to help get the economy stimulated and help more disadvantaged communities to slow the spread of COVID-19. The Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says they’ve come up with ideas, like intervention in certain demographics and preventing the spread in communities where there have been disproportionately higher case rates. The county one of ten in California’s 58 counties remaining in the most restrictive reopening tier. Mendocino County is another in the purple tier, like the old watch list. The former health officer in Mendo had said they keep a close eye on Sonoma County. The board of supervisors there along with county health officials and others are working on more outreach and testing, financial incentives to get people to stay home from work if they’re sick and vouchers to stay in hotels to isolate while they’re contagious.

The state dept. of health has new guidelines out for Halloween and Dia de los Muertos celebrations in the midst of the pandemic. The acting state Public Health Officer, Dr. Erica Pan says it’s still a “severe risk” so there are necessary precautions to keep communities safe. The state discouraging traditional trick-or-treating and encouraging families plan safer alternatives like a candy scavenger hunt at home, online activities such as pumpkin carving and costume contests, and car-based tours of Halloween displays. Same for Día de los Muertos, with indoor alters outside instead for safe distancing, virtual altars online and short cemetery visits limited to people within the same household.

PG&E has done it again… Public Safety Power Shutoffs during fire weather. This time it’s affecting almost 53,000 customers in 24 counties, including Lake, but not in Mendocino. There are 82 customers in Lake County, five are medical baseline customers. The power down includes customers in Cobb, Lower Lake and Middletown. The company says they sent notifications to customers that there could be a PSPS on Monday afternoon. Then by late yesterday afternoon, they decided to go ahead with the power downs. 33,000 customers in Butte, Lake, Napa, Nevada, Plumas, Shasta, Solano, Sonoma, Tehama, Yolo and Yuba counties were without power and 19,000 more across 12 more counties went off later last night. Today by 4 pm, another 700 customers in Amador, Calaveras, Humboldt and Trinity counties. But they expect to announce an all clear once the weather clears out tomorrow, and after PG&E patrol and inspects its de-energized lines.

A man from Northern Calif. has been arrested for arson for fires in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The US Attorney’s office reports arresting Eric Smith of Redding for fires set in June and July in Shasta County. They say he used a “virtually untraceable cigarette lighter or pen torch”. The fires were all quickly surrounded and didn’t cause major damage or injuries but did shut down a highway. The man arrested after the U.S. Forest Service and state fire investigators used hidden motion-detection cameras and identified a car in the area, planting a tracking device on it.

The latest report from the Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) team on areas safe to get to for scientists on the August Complex Wildfire. The team in the Shasta-Trinity, Six Rivers and Mendocino national forests with others from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Weather Service, US Geological Survey, Trinity, Tehama and Mendocino Counties along with other federal, tribal, state and local agencies. They were examining soil for any possible impacts to the burned watersheds for possible post-fire flooding, sediment flows, falling trees, and rockslides. It’s the first step in the post-fire work. A report will be drawn up with recommendations for stabilization measures and actions.

The number of people dying from COVID-19 in Calif continues to drop. There were almost 400 deaths in the last week of data, the least amount in one week since the end of May. Calif. is one of a few states holding steady, with fewer new cases now than two weeks before. But the state is recording between 3,000 and 3,600 new confirmed cases a day and has been for about a month. But we had a bit of a spike Tuesday with 4,345 new cases, it was down to 2,666 yesterday. The state is nearing 856,000 total cases, and almost 17,000 deaths. There have been 14 deaths and 641 cases in Lake County and 21 deaths and 1,063 cases in Mendocino County.

A project to put in some trees and new sidewalks in Willits has been tabled for now. The City Council voted last week to hold off due a few factors, one wildfires, two the pavers the city wanted for the sidewalks were on backorder, and finally the construction work would overlap with downtown holiday shopping. The contractor on the project couldn’t get on the project right away because of staff and equipment being used to help fight the August Complex so they needed to postpone. City Staff say they still could have completed the work before Thanksgiving, as projected though, but the pavers would still be 10-12 weeks backordered.

The Gov. has announced new recommendations for protests and how police in the state should respond. On Tuesday a list with more than 30 recommendations, or ideas was put out but the largest police unions in the state said they were unrealistic. The governor convened a police training panel so standards would be updated so they prioritize protecting free speech rights and look directly into finding, and detaining instigators and hate groups who turn peaceful protests into violence.

Volunteers are needed by the American Red Cross to help victims of recent wildfires. The organization says they need shelter workers, people to deliver meals, deliver supplies, and work in health services. They’ve had more than 1,000 volunteers this fire season already who have worked in person and remotely due to the ongoing pandemic. The Red Cross says they need support as evacuations are lifted. You can register online at redcross.org/volunteer or donate too at redcross.org/donate.

Progress on the August Complex as the West Zone is 100% contained. The zone  burned nearly 141,000 acres. CAL FIRE’s Mendocino Unit is doing the mop up on this section and will stay in the area to make sure there are no ongoing hazards, checking for heat pockets and removing dead or fallen trees. Firefighters on the complex working to widen containment lines in the Middle Fork of the Eel River as the weather conditions change. Yesterday there were water drops from a helicopter on hot spots. There’s still a red flag warning in effect until tomorrow morning for the entire complex.  It has burned 1,029,110 acres and is 77% contained. 

The Fort Bragg City Council considering allowing commercial cannabis cultivation on inland industrial land like Pudding Creek. A discussion on the matter Tuesday night with the council agreeing to hire a consultant to prepare an ordinance on the issue. Suggestions including a one percent tax on revenues were discussed, but they ultimately decided there should be no special fees on growers. Growers would pay regular city fees including for building permits with no extra fees. Apparently some cannabis cultivators had asked for new places to grow and they’d set up business immediately. A call for proposals for consultants would come next, but there was no final decision on when to move forward with that.

The Lake County Continuum of Care is having a public hearing on what to do with federal coronavirus CARES ACT money. The CoC and public input for the Emergency Solutions Grant for COVID response will look at what the CoC does, to begiun with, and how citizens can participate.  The program is for community members to take part in helping to end homelessness, using grant money from nonprofits and local governments, and now the federal government so homeless inviduals and families, and those at risk of becoming homeless get shelter.  The CARES Act money to be used so the homeless are sheltered to slow the spread of the virus. A Town Hall on the matter is Monday night at 6 pm online.

Join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, or Android device.  Please use this web link: https://zoom.us/j/2814902260; Meeting ID: 281 490 2260

Also streaming live on Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/lakecountycoc

Today is free food distribution day for kids 18 and under in Ukiah, thanks to the school district. From 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. food will be given out no matter the weather. They have different food items each week. They just ask you remember the Covid-19 guidelines, to wear a mask and practice physical distancing when receiving food.  

The county’s looking for the public’s opinion on the Mendocino Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan. The county wants the public to weigh in on natural hazards in the area and look at the county’s plan to ease the problems in participating jurisdictions. They’re looking at actions to protect lives and property. The county says public input will ensure the priorities of the Hazard Mitigation Plan match those of Mendocino County residents. It has a formal explanation of the main hazards and how they might affect communities differently, and the Plan responds to known vulnerabilities in each community and has ideas and actions for the greatest reduction of natural hazard risk. Each city within the county has the plan for review. It’s also online, at http://mitigatehazards.com/mendocino-county/.

A man from Stockton has been arrested in Mendocino County for driving with a bunch of marijuana in his possession. Marco Antonio Ochoa Sanchez pulled over yesterday morning at the CHP scales at Mendocino County’s Ridgewood Summit off the 101. The CHP reports he didn’t enter the scales and was pulled over and the officer apparently explained to the man that commercial trucks must pull into the scales, even U-Hauls. The U-Haul was reportedly loaded with marijuana in the cargo area and the man didn’t have the right paperwork to show that it was for the legal cannabis market.  He faces charges of possession and transportation of marijuana and conspiracy.

A man from Florida’s been arrested in Kelseyville, one of four men, police say may have been connected to a marijuana rip off with shots fired. The Lake County Sheriff’s reports a woman telling them early Monday morning four men broke into her house, fired shots, took the weed and took off in a van and U-Haul. The U-Haul crashed, but before that two men were seen jumping out and running in the area of the World Mark Resort.  It ended up crashing and officers ran after the men, but lost all but one who they say was hiding under a staircase. Rodney Lydell Hutchinson told them he was not one of the men and ran because he was homeless and had a warrant for his arrest in Florida.  He’s charged with Robbery, Assault with a Firearm, and much more and held on $150,000 bail.

The chair of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors speaking out that more has to be done to slow the spread of coronavirus spread, which continues to hold the county in the purple, most restrictive reopening tier in Calif. Susan Gorin in a virtual supervisors’ meeting says she keeps getting asked by residents and business leaders about the county’s plan to reduce the number of daily infections to enter the red tier. Sonoma County has been one of the hardest hit by the virus and state restrictions. The county is reportedly trying to form a strategic plan to ease the strict public health restrictions and ensuing economic effects of the pandemic.

We’ve still got a red flag warning in the North Bay and much of Northern Calif because of persistent hot, dry, windy weather. The National Weather Service has upgraded a fire weather watch for North Bay valleys to last until 11 a.m. Friday which had triggered Pacific Gas and Electric Co. to warn they would be turning off the power for customers today. But we may not know for sure until this afternoon where exactly the company will power down. An incident commander for a power down says it’s a last resort after a dangerous fire weather warning yesterday. So called Diablo winds are forecast that could bring gusts of 55 mph to the highest North Bay peaks and 30 mph to lower valleys, including where the Glass fire gasps its last breath. The fire has burned nearly 67,500 acres and is 97% contained.

A man from Clearlake Oaks is going to jail for setting a fire a few months ago. The Lake County DA’s office reports Joseph Calia Jr. was found guilty of felony arson early the morning of June 23rd south of Pomo Trail near Clearlake Oaks. Deputies contacted him and he admitted he started the fire. He says he was walking alone and thought he saw something moving in the bushes. Thinking it was a mountain lion about to pounce, he used some matches he had on him and lit a fire to scare it away. The fire burned around a quarter acre. Upon further investigation it was found the man had mental health issues and no prior trouble with police and would get treatment. He was put on felony probation for arson of forest land and got nearly a year in jail.

A small amount of growth reported on the August Complex. Only 81 more acres last night for a total now of 1,029,110 acres and 76 percent containment. The South Zone of the fire is being managed with control lines down in the Middle Fork of the Eel River, northeast of Covelo. Firefighters continue to patrol the west side, along with the south zone for flames and heat and mopping up as needed. They’re using sensors to detect heat and sometimes flying over to view from above. They’re also clearing fallen trees off roads so more equipment can get thru as critical fire weather is expected today thru the end of the week with above-normal temperatures and very dry, windy conditions.

Ahead of severe fire weather the Glass Fire that’s burning in Sonoma and Napa counties is nearly contained. The fire has blackened nearly 67,500 acres and is 97 percent contained. It was expected to be contained tomorrow, now it’s projected at Oct. 20th after destroying 1,555 structures and damaging 282 others. CAL FIRE reports there are still more than 1,200 structures threatened.

The state Republican Party called out for having ballot boxes placed in 3 counties to collect ballots. The party said it wouldn’t remove them even though it was illegal, and now doubles down, saying they’ll add more. But the party says they’ll take off the word “official” on the box drop off sites to avoid confusion with official ballot drop offs used by county registrars. The state GOP spokesman says it’s just so voters can drop their ballots off so they have another option. But the state’s top elections and law enforcement officials say it’s illegal and whoever’s behind the box placements could face criminal prosecution.

A small fire in Lake County quickly put out. CAL FIRE reports the 24 acre fire sparked in vegetation near Hwy 29 and the Nice-Lucerne cutoff. The Lyons fire was reported yesterday before 3 p.m. and quickly grew to 5 acres, so there were evacuation orders for North Lakeport. Also staff and patients at Sutter Lakeside Hospital were told to shelter in place by the Sheriff’s Dept. There was no damage from the fire which was contained a couple hours later. The fire is being investigated.

CAL FIRE and the Forest Service creeping up the containment numbers on the behemoth August Complex. The largest fire ever in the state. The four zones have burned over one million acres. The West Zone is nearly 100% contained. At one point it had an active fire line of 266 miles in length. They’re continuing to mop up ahead of fire weather that’s supposed to last thru Friday. Firefighters continue to mitigate any hazards, dig out any stump holes that could snag heat and hold it and any smoldering islands and pockets of heat. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for many parts of Northern California with wind forecasted to reach up to 55 mph in higher elevations and wind prone areas up to 70 mph.  There have been more than 8,500 wildfires this year so far in Calif and more than 4 million acres have burned. The work on the Southwest area of the fire just finishing a dozer line in the Middle Fork of the Eel River area. They’re mopping up near Bloody Rock as some heat was detected and they continue to clear road hazards, debris and downed trees.

A new law in favor of legal marijuana growers that gives the drug some prestige like wine. Marijuana grown in the “sun and soil” of a city or county can get the regional designation or labeling. The appellation of origin after the governor signed a new law similar to one in the wine industry. People will pay higher premiums for product that’s grown in the Emerald Triangle, like the Napa region for wine. Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties are responsible for much of the cannabis in the United States. Senator Mike McGuire says it’s world class cannabis. He authored the new law, saying small cannabis farms needed an edge.

More calls came into the Ukiah Police Dept. at the local homeless shelter over a six month period, then the six months before. The Daily Journal says from February to August, the last data they collected, Ukiah Police had 189 calls for service at the Building Bridges Community Center on South State Street. They plan to bring up the matter to the Ukiah Planning Commission tonight. But that’s standard, as part of a required review each six months. But city staff say it’s a 40% increase in calls. There were 131 calls to police the six months before. City staff reportedly coming up with ways to curb the calls which will be presented at their meeting which starts at 6 tonight.

New guidance has been released from the state for gatherings in Calif. The guidance if you want to gather with those outside your own household but keeps the limit on the number in gatherings at where it was at. But there can be no more than three households together and the same three households over time. But you will have to have contact information on everyone in attendance for contact tracing if needed. Outdoors is the safest, the state says, but the three households cannot add on additional households to have a joint gathering, even outdoors. As before, don’t attend gatherings if you’re sick or if at higher risk of severe illness, maintain physical distancing of six feet between households at all times and practice good hygiene, including the regular use of handwashing or hand sanitizer and avoid sharing items like food, beverages, serving utensils and containers. Continue to wear facial coverings in accordance with state orders.

A man from Ukiah has been arrested after a fight between neighbors ends in someone being doused with some sort of chemical agent. Police say they got a call about James Lee dousing two neighbors with Muriatic Acid, on their faces and necks. Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and medical personnel came out and treated the victims and they used hazmat procedures to contain the acid on the sidewalk and concrete. One of the victim’s had such severe injuries she ended up at an out of county hospital for specialized medical treatment. Lee’s charged with using caustic chemical on another and assault causing great bodily injury. He was jailed on $125,000.

The Willits Chief of Police has resigned, no word from the city manager as to why. Yesterday the City Manager Stephanie Garrabrant put out a brief statement saying Chief Alexis Blaylock quit for personal reasons and that the city would not release any more information on the matter. The Asst. Chief, Lt. Derek Hendry will be the Acting Chief of Police until they hire an interim chief.

The Sonoma County Public Health Office is considering stricter measures beyond what the state’s doing to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Press Democrat reports the news ahead of another set of data’s released by the state today. It’s expected to show the county has once again not met the state metrics to reopen more businesses, staying in the purple, most restrictive tier. The newspaper reports the county is the only one in all of the Bay Area that has not moved out of the purple tier. Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s health officer says they’re looking at various options, including partnering with businesses and others for more employee testing; aggressive outreach in disproportionately impacted Latino communities; and financial assistance for lower income residents to help them self-isolate when they become infected.

The state Republican Party has admitted they own a bunch of unofficial ballot drop boxes and were collecting ballots. The report went viral yesterday as it’s not known what the party planned to do with the ballots. The boxes found in three counties, so the secretary of state sent out a memo Sunday to each of the county registrars saying the boxes were illegal and ballots had to be mailed or brought to official voting locations. A spokesperson for the state GOP says they’re not removing them, and that ballot harvesting is allowed. The boxes reported in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties. Democrats say they’re concerned Republicans could gather, then trash the ballots in the highly competitive U.S. House races.

Ahead of fire weather, Pacific Gas and Electric says they’re considering Public Safety Power Shutoffs and have started to notify residents in parts of more than 20 counties. The intentional power downs tomorrow for as many as 50,000 customers, including around 30 medical baseline customers – in Lake County. Lake Co News reports it would be mostly in the south county, near Cobb and Middletown, Wednesday night between 6 and 8 p.m. Mendocino is not noted in the 21 shutoff counties. Windy conditions are expected tomorrow into Thursday morning and possibly until Friday morning in other locations. PG&E says their in-house meteorologists and staff in its Wildfire Safety Operation Center and Emergency Operation Center will monitor conditions closely.

The Glass Fire is nearly fully contained. It’s supposed to get to 100% tomorrow after charring nearly 67,500 acres. Last night CAL FIRE reported the fire that’s torched land in Sonoma and Napa counties was 96 percent contained. The fire started Sept. 27th and triggered evacuations in Lake County as it inched toward the county’s southern border. The fire has destroyed 1,555 structures and damaged almost 300 more.

The August Fire has active pockets, but containment is inching up. The fire’s now burned more than 1,029,000 acres. Firefighters working to contain the Hellhole Canyon area, northeast of Covelo and crews were felling hazard trees on roads on the west and south sides of the South Zone, including sections of the Mendocino National Forest in northern Lake County. But the changes in the weather tomorrow could create more challenges in the long held fight. The fire started two months ago in a dry lightning storm. The fire’s the first gigafire in the state. It’s 76% contained.

A couple of people from Los Angeles have been arrested in Ukiah with almost 70 pounds of marijuana. The Ukiah Police Department reports one of their officers stopped the man and woman after finding the driver, Christopher Mendez had three warrants for his arrest. The arresting officer asked the man to get out of the car, but he would not, the officer reached into the car to try to get him and says he ran, but he couldn’t get away so he started punching the cop, then ran into the middle of South State Street. The officer used a Taser which did nothing, backup officers finally took him down. He was taken into custody and his passenger, Brooke Kahaner also resisted but was arrested. 69 pounds of pot were found and items police say are generally used to sell weed. They were charged with several crimes including suspicion of transporting marijuana, marijuana sales, resisting arrest, providing a false name.

It’s finally happening. Mendocino County is getting its own wine growing label. The Mendocino WineGrowers, which is made up of grape growers and vintners throughout the county, worked with state Sen. Mike McGuire for the “Mendocino County” wine label designation. The bill was signed by Governor Newsom, for which McGuire thanked him for his collaboration. McGuire says Mendocino wine is some of North America’s best, and the law will be a big boost for the region. Starting in January 2023 the designation will be on the front and back of wine labels for wine entirely produced or within a vineyard designated within Mendocino County.

PG&E is being investigated for another fire. This one in Shasta County. The Zogg Fire has killed four people and destroyed more than 200 structures. CAL FIRE has apparently taken some of PG&E’s equipment as evidence and are investigating to see if it caused the fire. The company announced the accusations against their own equipment last Friday. It comes after they had to file for bankruptcy after the Camp fire in Butte County killed 84 people. That ended up being the deadliest corporate crime in U.S. history. The company also just announced it may intentionally power homes down in 21 counties due to coming fire watch weather.

An open letter warning about fire dangers in the Historic Preservation District of Mendocino has been released by the Mendocino Fire Suppression Coalition. The letter also outlines what should be done to avoid fires in the area as it’s surrounded by State Park property. That means any mitigation efforts have to go through the state of Calif. Parks Dept. The Advocate Newspaper reports the landscape is riddled with brush and grass that has already fueled catastrophic wildfires. The coalition writes that the hazard needs to be eliminated by putting crews from State Parks and Parlin Forks to work clearing away the hazard this winter.

Prop. 15 on the ballot to change how commercial property is taxed based not on old, but current land value. Currently property taxes are based on the value of the land purchased by businesses, but the initiative would change it to current parcel value. So land owners like Intel, who reportedly bought a lot of the property it owns for a pittance would see huge increases in property taxes. It would pre-date 1978’s Prop 13. Supporters say it’ll help close corporate loopholes, and opponents say it could be devastating to Calif.’s economy, because the state is already too expensive for businesses to operate in.

The Glass Fire is getting very close to total containment. As of yesterday, two weeks after the fire started, it’s now 95% contained. The expectation for 100% containment is this Wednesday, just before another heatwave hits the state. Light rain and much higher humidity helped firefighters over the weekend, but officials say they continue to monitor the weather which could change to extreme fire weather later in the week. And PG&E is warning there could be Public Safety Power Shut-Offs so their equipment doesn’t start any wildfires. Winds expected to gust up to 50 mph in the North Bay mountains and the Northern Sierra Nevada starting Wednesday night. The Glass fire has burned 67,484-acres and destroyed 338 homes in Sonoma County and 308 homes in Napa County. More than 160 other homes have been damaged.  

The August Complex Fire continues to burn, but firefighters are slowly getting a foothold on the monster fire that has burned well over one million acres. The fire being fought in four zones, with firefighters from other states joining the fight and as many as 1,800 firefighters engaged in the fight, just on the West Zone. That Zone has burned over 140,420 acres and is 75% contained, the August itself has burned nearly 1,030,000 acres and is 74% contained. The fire will spew smoke that can be seen from Covelo where there are active firing operations. There are still evacuation warnings and orders for the West Zone for both Lake and Mendocino counties.

The North Zone of the fire has left a scar covering 318,380 acres. It’s 92 percent contained. Firefighters report weather in their favor over the weekend with increased humidity and a slight mist. We don’t have numbers for yesterday’s activity yet, but there were reports of 20-25 mph winds ahead of more fire weather expected by mid-week. The National Weather Service reports warmer temperatures are expected through Saturday. Fire officials also say their daily briefings will stop and instead they’ll update us every other day instead.

Another death from coronavirus has been reported in Lake County. The Public Health Officer made the announcement over the weekend, that a 13th person had died. Dr. Gary Pace reports the individual was over 65 years old and had longstanding health issues.  It was within a 2nd facility-based outbreak, where 27 residents were infected and 9 staff members. Another outbreak, at a different facility, is now under control, Pace says, with no new cases in 10 days.  The public health office reported a surge of new cases in mid-September from nursing facilities, evacuations from the LNU Complex fire and Labor Day weekend activities.

A man from Willits reported missing, and his family says it’s “totally out of character for him”. 69 year old Jim Whetstone’s daughter reports dad vanished on Friday morning while everyone else in their house slept. Sophia Martinez says her dad’s phone, wallet, and house key were left behind and his phone has not received any unknown phone calls or messages. She also notes that Whetstone was seen by another family member looking out a window like he was waiting for someone, and he not had any sort of depression and a birthday party to go to over the weekend. She also says he has a registered firearm but it was still locked in a safe. He’s described as 5’10”, 200 lbs, White/Gray hair, and blue eyes.  

A man on a motorcycle’s been arrested after a traffic stop yielded loads of meth. Ukiah police report an officer was in the Safeway Parking lot in the 650 block of S. State Street and saw the Honda motorcycle speed by so he took chase. The driver, Michael Gray was spotted doing a “wheelie.” He was caught soon after a brief high speed chase in a field. Gray hit a hole and was tossed from his bike. He was taken to a hospital for treatment then arrested. The officer found about 46 grams of meth packaged for sale. He was to be released without bail though due to the pandemic, but the DA was requesting a $75,000.00 bail, which was granted.

A woman reported missing last week has been found. The Sheriff’s office reports getting a call Thursday afternoon that 72 year old Sharon Bear was missing about 8-miles east of Fort Bragg. Deputies say the person who reported her missing called from the Jackson State Forest where firewood cutting is currently permitted. The person was apparently friends with Bear and they made plans to meet to cut firewood, but Bear called the friend to say she had gotten stuck and was lost. They reported her as at risk due to medical related issues. So rescuers went to the area, but couldn’t access the area where she was lost, but did find her car stuck in heavy brush. They sent a police dog out to track her with no luck. Finally on Saturday she was found alive. No word on her condition as of this morning.

A man and woman in Fort Bragg have been arrested for burglary and conspiracy. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office reports seeing a car in front of an empty house so they went to check it out.  Sean Hilliard and Frankie Lemus-Cortez found in the vehicle which was “unusually overloaded with property”. The investigating Deputy found that the female Lemus-Cortez went into one of two homes on the property to use the bathroom, another home had a door forced open. Deputies found the car was stolen from one of the two residences as was the contents inside. Hilliard and Lemus-Cortez were arrested for second degree burglary and conspiracy to commit a crime.  Hilliard was also arrested for violating his probation.  They were both held in jail on $50,000.00 bail. 

A man from Covelo has been arrested on drug and weapons charges after a tip to deputies. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports getting a call Saturday after two people say they saw Tiny Whipple showing a firearm. He was seen in a silver 4 door sedan traveling towards downtown Covelo then found sitting in a silver Nissan Altima. When deputies confronted him they saw an AK type firearm with a large capacity magazine next to him, but he was sleeping. Deputies tried to get the firearm away from him but say he resisted and tried to fight with them. They managed to cuff him as he continued resisting. The two deputies had some minor injuries trying to wrestle with him, one needed medical attention. Whipple already had warrants for his arrest, so he was held in jail on various charges including felon possessing a firearm, resist law enforcement with violence and for violating probation. His bail was set at $250,000.00 bail.

The August Complex fire has had more work done by scientists on the burn on the south side of the burn. The Burned Area Emergency Response specialists finished their work and have put together their Soil Burn Severity map showing Unburned/Very Low, Low, Moderate, and High. The work on the 521,256 acres were analyzed by the team. The team looking for expected soil erosion, accelerated surface water run-off, and debris flows that could harm human life and the environment. Forest Service scientists and specialists consider emergency stabilization options for the burn area on National Forest Service lands.

A man from Ukiah has been arrested after a woman ends up in the hospital injured after a domestic dispute. Mendocino deputies got a call to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley October 3rd before midnight and found a 42 year-old female who says her boyfriend Leonel Valenzuela assaulted her. They say she had visible injuries, plus she was pregnant at the time, and says Valenzuela held her against her will. Deputies went to his home and since he was on probation he was immediately arrested. While there, deputies found a short-barreled assault weapon which he was not allowed to have due to his criminal history. He was arrested on multiple charges including domestic violence battery, possession of short barrel rifle and false imprisonment and held on $25,000.00 bail.

The Mendocino County Public Health Office is hosting more testing days after reports of an outbreak on the South Coast. Public Health alerted by Redwood Coast Medical Services there were multiple positive COVID-19 cases. Public Health has confirmed 9 positives. Public Health reports the cases have all been contacted and participated in contact tracing and have been released from isolation. The health dept. reports working with the Manchester Band of Pomo Indians of the Manchester Rancheria, Redwood Coast, California Rural Indian Health Board and AB Med Healthcare Solutions for free testing this weekend. Tomorrow, no appointment necessary at the Manchester Point Arena Clinic at 9:30, the Redwood Coast Clinic in Gualala on Ocean Drive at noon, and the Point Arena Veterans Hall at 9:30 Sunday. 

As the desire to install superfast 5-G wireless service continues across the country, there are many with electro-sensitivity who question if the technology’s safe. Noah Davidson of Sacramento says his two young nieces got sick after Verizon installed a 5-G box on a light pole next to their home so they hired an expert to measure the radio-frequency levels.

 :13  “He conducted some measurements and told us it was the highest indoor measurements that he’d ever recorded. So, we ended up installing some shielding in the home, moving the kids into a back room – and within a few days, their symptoms went away.”

Tag:  The Verizon website says there’s no scientific evidence linking radiation from cell phones to health problems in humans, per the FCC, going on to say 5-G boxes meet all legal standards. But Davidson says decades-old standards need to be updated, saying the technology hasn’t been proven safe.  

Second Cut: Dr. David Carpenter, a public health research physician at the University of Albany and an expert on R-F radiation, says some people get sick if exposed to non-ionizing radiation from cell phones, smart meters, and parts of the 5-G cell sites.

 :13  “There are a lot of people that get ringing in their ears or get headaches, and feel fatigued and their brain isn’t working quite right, that never think about the fact that it may be coming from the Wi-Fi in their house, or the smart meter on the outside door.”

Tag:  A recent study from U-C Irvine in the medical journal Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders finds extreme R-F exposure can produce severe illness that mimics M-S.  

There have been four more deaths due to coronavirus in Sonoma County. The Press Democrat reports the county health dept. announced the deaths late Wednesday, bringing the total to 126 deaths since late March. The dept. reports the deaths were all in people who were 65 or older, and three had lived in one the county’s senior care facilities. The newspaper reports nearly 80% of the deaths in the county have been people who have lived in these sort of facilities. The deaths in a woman Tuesday who’d been in the hospital, another on Monday, a man who lived at home, but died in the hospital last Thursday, and a man who died Sept. 20th, who had also lived in one of the facilities.

The Glass Fire only added about 60 more acres. It’s burned nearly 67,500 acres and now 70% contained. The fire’s been burning just about two weeks and should be fully contained by Oct. 20. More evacuation orders have been reduced to warnings and officials have also said there are 3,500 structures now threatened, not 10,000. The fire is reportedly less active and mostly just smoldering and creeping.

But the August Fire has grown again. The massive fire is 65% contained after burning nearly 1,020,600. This fire started nearly two months ago in a dry lightning storm and has torched land on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. Crews continued to work around Lake Pillsbury.

The Gov. has tested negative, so far, for coronavirus after a staffer became infected. Gov. Newsom had a test after someone in his office tested positive and another employee, not in direct contact with him or his staff, also tested positive for COVID-19. The Gov. was tested Wednesday even though the two staffers had not been in contact with Newsom or anyone else who closely interact with Newsom. Newsom’s test before this was back on Sept. 14th before he met with President Trump. There have been nearly 835,000 coronavirus cases and more than 16,300 deaths.

The Governor has signed a bunch of new bills into law. One of those by Assemblymember Jim Wood to allow nurse practitioners to fully practice without needing to work under a medical doctor. It’s through something called a transition-to-practice process, something more than 20 other states, Washington, DC, and the Veterans Administration already do. Wood says they’ve tried in the Legislature in years past to pass similar legislation because there’s been a serious shortage of primary care physicians. He says many doctors are over retirement age and new physicians had not been keeping up with the need.

For the first time the Calif. Coastal Cleanup was done, not in large groups, but in smaller groups, some folks alone and others in pairs bringing in unprecedented results. The cleanup is usually done over one day in Sept. The event organized each year by the California Coastal Commission, which this year had it spread out over the entire month of September. They report volunteers fanned out bringing in more than 70,000 pounds of trash at more than 3,000 cleanups in neighborhoods, at local parks, creeks, and spaces where there was access. Lake Co News reports some unusual items found included a bowling pin and a nametag that had “I had a pet cow” written on it.

PM UPDATE

More growth on the August Complex, as the containment holds at 65%. The fire’s now burned almost 1,021,500, reviewing each of the now 4 management zones, the South Zone 546,365 acres, North East 267,115 acres, North West 68,200 acres and the West Zone, almost 136,000 acres. There were helicopter water drops working in conjunction with dozer crews yesterday to secure the edges of the fire and mop up about 300 acres northeast of Lake Pillsbury, near Bloody Rock. CAL FIRE reports cooler temperatures and increased humidity are helping reduce fire activity, but there are still many pockets of heat around the fire’s perimeter which they expected will continue to smolder. Some new fire evacuation orders reduced to warnings – in Mendocino County, Zone B, south of Green Lambert Canyon, east of the Middle Fork of the Eel River, north and east of Hayshed Creek. And Zone B1, south and east of Hayshed Creek, north of Thatcher Creek and Jack Hollow Creek, and west of Chimney Rock.

A woman from Ukiah’s been convicted of hurting a 10 year old child. The District Attorney reports after a two-day bench trial, 76 year old Audrey Hernandez was found guilty of willfully and unlawfully inflicting traumatic injury on the child over two days, and unlawful child endangerment, and a misdemeanor count for each of three additional children, the other charges, all felonies. Her case was sent to the Probation Department for a sentencing recommendation. Hernandez accused in May of 2019 of abusing five kids. One of them seen with visible injuries was reported to authorities and all of the children were taken from Hernandez who had been their legal guardian. She’ll be sentenced November 4th.

The fire restrictions on the Mendocino National Forest have been extended through next week. So you may not build, maintain, attend or use a fire, campfire or stove fire and smoking is also prohibited on National Forest System lands. But it’s ok to use portable lanterns or stoves using gas, jellied petroleum or pressurized liquid fuel in certain recreation sites. It comes during a time when fires still burn in the state and Calif. fire season generally starts. Hot and dry conditions persist in the state, even though some precipitation is forecast, conditions have not improved to alleviate the fire threat.

Someone in Laytonville with a weapon’s allegedly scoping out marijuana farms and ripping them off using a drone as a lookout of sorts. Kym Kemp reports the grow site was west of the 101 where a resident reportedly saw someone take the plants and says it’s the fourth robbery this season where thieves use drones to visualize the area, then later come in on foot. The resident says there are up to 3 people who’ve been frequenting that grow and others since July, fill up bags, then hike out again. The resident was surveilling whoever it was a took a picture of trash left by the would be robbers including empty boxes of ammo. The Sheriff’s Office says they’ve heard nothing about it.

The Forest Service reports their Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) specialists have done data gathering and field work on the August Complex fire burn area.  They report focusing on verifying, then finalizing how severe the burn was and putting that onto a map. Soil burn severity is classified into levels between unburned and high. They say because the fire is so large, and due to current activity, they couldn’t get to the northern section of the fire, only the southern zone, about 521,000 acres. They will head back to the northern portion when fire activity slows. They look for possible soil erosion areas, accelerated surface water run-off, and debris flows which could impact human life and safety, property, and critical natural and cultural resources from rain events. 

The latest from the state is Sonoma County is not meeting new requirements to slow the spread of coronavirus in minority or disadvantaged communities. The Press Democrat reports the county’s one of four in the Bay Are not meeting new health equity requirements. The county’s being watched by Mendocino County for their own metrics. And the public health officer in Sonoma County, Dr. Sundari Mase says the county’s health equity metric will actually help them move in the right direction. Reports across the country about the LatinX community being hit hard, and here in Mendocino County too. This new health equity metric started Tuesday, is part of the state’s four-tier, color-coded reopening plan

A man from Clearlake is going to prison for setting a fire last fall. Matthew Miravalle was convicted of felony arson got six years in state prison for the Sept. 2019 fire in Clearlake Oaks. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office and Cal Fire reported to the fire on Highway 20 at a bus stop while Lake County was under red flag conditions. The fire burned a small area of vegetations and part of a wooden fence. Two witnesses also saw the fire and there was video that proved Miravalle was at the scene when the fire started. He was arrested after he was found to be lying about being in Ukiah that day. He had also previously been caught lighting a fire in a laundromat.

The Glass Fire holding steady only growing 400 acres. It’s burned 67,420 acres and is now 62 percent contained, up 8% from a day before. The fire has burned over 1,500 structures, including 914 in Napa and 622 in Sonoma county. 280 others were damaged and another 13,000 remain threatened. There are still evacuation warnings for two areas of Lake County, south of Middletown, and Highway 29 south of Middletown to Tubbs Lane is closed to traffic. The fire is expected to be fully contained in the next couple of weeks.

The state’s first gigafire, the August Complex, which has burned well over one million acres continues its growth. The fire headed north, continues blackening Forest land in the Mendocino National Forest, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. The fire grew again to reach over 1,014,000 acres with 60 percent containment. The firefighting team has added some Marines from Camp Pendleton to the fight. The fire is expected to be contained just before Thanksgiving.

The City of Fort Bragg is taking applications for anyone interested in being on the Noyo Harbor Commission. There are two openings for four year appointments that start Oct. 31st and go until Oct. 31, 2024. One is a city-appointed position, the other for a joint city/county-appointed position who will be the Chair of the Noyo Harbor Commission. The city council generally appoints two of the five members, Mendocino County picks two more and the county and city council jointly appoint the Chair. You have to live in the boundaries of the Noyo Harbor District. Contact the City Clerk with interest. The application deadline is Friday, Oct. 16th by 5 p.m.

A man whose former girlfriend has been missing and he was in jail in the past has been arrested at the courthouse. The Mendocino County DA reports Negie Fallis, generally of Covelo, was arrested by Sheriff deputies and taken to jail. He was then taken by federal agents to the Bay Area in connection to federal charges. The DA says it may be that all or the local charges against Fallis will be dismissed so his federal case can move forward. He’s been accused by family members of Khadijah Britton of being involved in her disappearance. They say he was the last to have been with her in February if 2018. He was arrested on firearms charges soon after.

Measure K on the ballot in Willits to bring cash to the cash strapped town. The Mayor Gerry Gonzalez says if it doesn’t pass the city will have to close essential operations including local police services; road, street, park and sports field maintenance; community facilities and fields; and more including code enforcement, planning and building. The mayor says the pandemic has bitten a large chunk out of the budget and expenses were already going up before the virus hit. Measure K is an emergency funding ordinance for a ¾ cent sales tax to pump $1,000,000 into the city every year for 10 years.

North Coast Opportunities has announced support for the community in the time of Covid-19 and devastating wildfires. You can go to their website and apply for support for Lake County Disaster Assistance at the top of their page. They say they have limited funds which will be distributed on a first come, first served basis. If you had a loss due to the wildfires from all the way back to 2015 when the Valley fire hit, you may be eligible for up to $2,500 in financial support. If you didn’t get money from the federal CARES Act, or stimulus related to the pandemic, you may also get a grant from North Coast.

For more information about any of the resources mentioned in this article, visit www.ncoinc.org or call an NCO Disaster Case Manager at 707-277-1058.

CalFresh has disaster relief for people in six counties. The state Department of Social Services has announced anyone in a family of four who gets less than $2,893 a month, and taking disaster-related expenses into consideration, could get as much as $646 in food benefits. It’s for those working or residing in eligible counties on at least August 14th-September 12th and had losses due to the wildfires.

For answers to any questions, call your local county social services office at (707) 995-4200.

PM UPDATE

The August Complex has added acreage, now at nearly 1,017,550 acres, it’s 62% contained. The Sheriff in Mendocino County has reduced Evacuation Orders to Warnings in Zone I: West of Elk Creek, south of Deep Hole Creek, north of the National Forest Boundary. Zone J: East of Elk Creek, north and West of the National Forest Boundary, south of Thatcher Creek.

The Lake County Sheriff reduced the Evacuation Orders to Warnings in the Lake Pillsbury Basin for all areas north of the fires edge, south and west of the Lake / Glenn County line, and east of the Lake / Mendocino County line. There is however warnings still in effect for areas south of fire’s edge, north of North Ridge and West Crockett Camp, east of the Lake / Mendocino County line and west of the Lake / Glenn County line.

Firefighters report steady progress on the Glass Fire with no forward movement overnight and 66% containment. The fire has torched 67,420 acres. Several homes have been destroyed and many others are still threatened by flames. But fire officials say they believe they have a foot hold on the fire after almost two weeks. The area most active they say, is on the northern front in Napa County, along Highway 29 near Mount St. Helena in rural, steep, terrain.

The Lake County Public Health Officer has put out a new health order to remind it’s mandatory to wear a mask. Dr. Gary Pace’s order this afternoon says California continues in a State of Emergency because of the COVID-19 pandemic and all residents must continue to wear masks when entering a business. The order again clarifies they’re following state guidelines which make facial coverings a mandate for anybody over the age of 2.  

Unemployment claims are finally getting caught up in Calif. There had been a backlog of claims and people were told they couldn’t file new claims for two weeks due to hundreds of thousands of claims that still had to be processed. The state reports clearing about a quarter million of more than 1.6 million backlogged claims after improving its technology. Now they say it will take until January to get thru them all.

The California Attorney General has announced a massive campaign to eradicate illegal marijuana. The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting pulled over 1.1 million marijuana plants across 455 grow sites, the country’s most ever. It included 29 Calif. counties, 140 arrests and finding 174 weapons. Counties included Mendocino, Lake, Colusa, Humboldt, Los Angeles, Napa, Trinity and Tulare and more.

There will be a drop off mailbox in Point Arena for the election. The Mendocino County Elections Office sent all mail ballots out Monday. That should take about five to seven business days. You can still vote in person if you want, but look out for the latest drop off point at the Point Arena Veteran’s Hall.

A COVID testing site in Point Arena due to a recent outbreak has brought back no positive results. The Public Health Office reports they will have another surveillance testing this Sunday October 11th from 9:30am to Noon at the Veteran’s Building City Hall in Point Arena.  

The Lake County Registrar of Voters speaking to the Board of Supervisors saying her office is ready for the Nov. 3rd presidential election. Maria Valadez spoke in front of the Board at their meeting yesterday saying she’s prepared to open her office on weekends too. Valadez appeared with her new deputy registrar, Lourdes Pantaleon. Valadez says they’ve been preparing for the election since the primary election in March. She says sample ballot booklets and official ballot booklets have been mailed out via a San Francisco mail distribution center. The Registrar of Voters Office is also open daily thru the election and on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 31st and Sunday, Nov. 1st for residents to vote in person if they want.

Distracted driving is reportedly the reason five cars piled up in a crash and 3 people have been seriously injured, including two children. The CHP in Clear Lake reported to the crash Monday night on Highway 20 near Nice. A man in one of the cars says he was eating and noticed traffic ahead and tried to stop but couldn’t avoid the crash. Joshua Murray of Lucerne crashed into a Kia Sol with his Ram pickup. He rear-ended Elizabeth Ambriz of Redwood Valley, who had two girls, 3 and 6 years old with her. Her car slammed into another car which was pushed into the path of yet another. The children and Ambriz all had major injuries and another drive had a hand injury.

The Glass Fire has grown some but so has the containment. CAL FIRE reported last night that the Grass Fire burning in Sonoma and Napa counties at 67,050 acres, adding only 210 acres since Monday night. The fire is now 54-percent contained. The firefighting team says they expect to have the fire totally contained by October 20th, in two weeks. They’ve also reportedly reduced resources on the fire. There are still evacuation orders and warnings in place on the fire.  884 structures have been destroyed in Napa and 146 were damaged. In Sonoma County, 600 structures have been destroyed and 132 were damaged.  More than a dozen firefighters were also being evaluated by medics yesterday for possible carbon monoxide exposure off-site out of the fire area. One was taken to a hospital for further evaluation.

The August Complex Fire again grows another couple thousand acres. The fire continues actively burning on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. The fire’s been scorching land and structures since Aug. 17th and reached 1,008,590 acres last night. It’s now 60% contained. Some evacuation orders in Mendocino County have been reduced to warnings. And the Forest Service reports they should have the entire complex, which is being managed in four zones, contained by November 15th. In about 5 ½ weeks.   The West Zone which has triggered evacuations in both Mendocino and Lake Counties has burned almost 135,000 acres and is 65% contained.  

Willits High School is being used as a command center for the Northern Calif. fires. The Willits News reports the School District Superintendent Mark Westerburg got a call from officials with the National Forest Service and he didn’t hesitate. A day later there were already supplies being hauled in and as many as 300 firefighters moved right in. Westerburg says he’s opened access to the entire space except a few classrooms and the cafeteria, but fire personnel do have access to restrooms and locker rooms.

The Glass Fire has blackened the land in Sugarloaf Ridge State Park. The fire first made its way thru Hood Mountain Regional Park and about 90% of Sugarloaf. The Press Democrat reports those who care for the land say there will be urgent work there now so there’s no massive erosion on the land in rainy weather. The deputy director of Sonoma County Regional Parks told the newspaper “it’s not a tragedy when a park burns”. But the Calif. State Parks superintendent for the area says she hopes to be able to reopen the Sugarloaf in a matter of weeks after the fire is fully contained or only active nowhere near there.  The same parks were impacted by the 2017 Nuns Fire.

The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has agreed to spend several million dollars from the PG&E settlement on the 2017 wildfire storm. The $35 million will go to affordable housing and wildfire protection. The county received $149 million, with 86 mil left over. The board last week decided to use almost $27 million for a budget hole.  $25 million of the $35 million agreed to will go to brush management. The board had wanted to use some of the money on damaged county roads from the 2017 fires too.

Shasta County is getting slapped with tighter restrictions due to an outbreak of Covid-19 at an evangelical college. Health officials say more than 120 students and staff have tested positive in the last two weeks at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. The Health Dept. says that put the entire county into new regulations on restaurants, bars, theaters and businesses. The school is located in Redding. It describes itself as a  “ministry training center”. The county has had more than 500 new coronavirus cases the last two weeks.

11 more cases and one more death from coronavirus have been confirmed in Mendocino County. The public health office confirms there have now been 1021 positive cases and 21 deaths. The health office reports the person who died last was a 79-year-old Caucasian man from Ukiah.

PM UPDATE

State Senator Mike McGuire’s bill to protect journalists covering protests and demonstrations has been veto’d. The senator told the Times-Standard newspaper he would like to speak to the Governor and his staff because he doesn’t understand the reasoning behind the veto. The bill passed the Legislature a couple of months ago. It would have meant that journalists could enter areas closed to the public by law enforcement, same as in a natural disaster. But the Governor says the bill, as written, would allow anyone who appeared to be a reporter or journalist access, including those who could be a security risk, like white nationalists, extreme anarchists or other fringe groups with an online presence.

The air in Mendocino County is getting better per the Air Quality Management District. They sent out a report last night that the smoke from nearby wildfires, the Glass and August Complex Fires, have declined. The fires are still active and degrading the air quality through for most of the county. They say there can be widespread haze at times and smoke for the next few days and that due to fluctuating wind directions, the smoke is hanging around, bringing “Unhealthy” air to the area. Air monitors show particulate matter concentrations in the “Moderate” to “Unhealthy” range for most parts of the county. Inland communities are more likely to experience “Unhealthy” air quality. Covelo and the surrounding area may experience “Very Unhealthy” because of strategic firing operations on the August fire. The coast may experience episodes of “Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups” air quality too, but it should be at “Good” air quality towards the end of the week.

The August Complex continues it’s massive growth across Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama and Trinity Counties. The fire has now burned several thousand more acres and inches its containment up to 60%. The fire has scorched 1,011,493 acres, the South Zone 545,241 acres, North East Zone 264,775 acres, the North West Zone 65,611 acres, West Zone 135,866 acres. So far 210 structures have been destroyed on the Elkhorn, Hopkins, Willow, Vinegar, and Doe fires. The fire is the first ever in Calif. to be known as a gigafire, one that’s burned over one million acres. There have only been a handful worldwide over the last half century, the 1988 Yellowstone Fire in Montana and Idaho, the 2004 Taylor Complex in Alaska, another one this year, in Australia. Climate scientists say it’s due to higher temperatures and more extreme weather.

A fire burning near Ukiah at about an acre, in the 23000 block of Vichy Springs Road near the Ukiah Gun Club. Mendo Fever reports the fire was headed towards the Vichy Springs Resort but fire personnel were getting a foothold on the blaze and quickly reported they were mopping up.

One of Governor Gavin Newsom’s staffers has reportedly tested positive for coronavirus. The office put out a statement earlier that they’ve begun contact tracing and the staff member had not been in contact with the Governor or any other staff who routinely meet with Newsom. Also, another state employee working in a space shared with some of the governor’s staff also tested positive, but they too had no contact with the governor or his close staff. They say they’re following protocols for when there’s a positive case in a work place, including deep cleaning of shared spaces and having anyone who was in contact with the infected person or a shared work place to isolate and get tested.

Another death has occurred in Lake County due to coronavirus. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace also reports the county will not move to the Purple Tier and will instead remain in the Red Tier. Pace says to stay in the Red Tier there needs to be less than 6 new cases/day. From 9/20-9/26, there were 39 new cases.  This is according to new state framework Pace says, which is supposed to be announced today. The case rate peaked he says a few weeks ago, mostly because of a nursing home outbreak, and also because of some community spread.  The number of new cases has been decreasing since then. The 12th death was reported over the weekend in someone who had been in the hospital for some time, they were over 65, but not connected to the nursing home outbreak.

Firefighters on the Glass fire say they’ve been headway on the fire which has burned almost 67,000 acres. The fire in Sonoma and Napa counties is 41% contained. More than 550 homes have been destroyed, 300 in Sonoma County and 256 in Napa County. CAL FIRE reports there are also nearly 22,000 structures threatened. They also report there are nearly 3,000 under mandatory evacuation orders in Sonoma County and east Santa Rosa and several thousand people are under warnings, including in Lake County. Residents in Kenwood, Oakmont and Calistoga have been allowed to go home.

A new report says the rate of Covid-19 spread in Sonoma County is the fifth highest in the state. The state Dept. of Public Health’s modeling website shows Sonoma County is currently stable, but infections will go up. The county behind Shasta, Lassen, Inyo and Amador counties. The county is also the only one of nine in the Bay Area that remains in the Purple Tier. Dr. Sundari Mase, the county’s Public Health Officer says she sees a trend in the Bay Area and the state of California of slightly increased case numbers, which may be because of Labor Day events. But she says it could also be due to the wildfire evacuations.

While many in the state are still evacuated or have suffered losses again due to wildfires, Pacific Gas and Electric Company is sharing recovery support and resources for those who go home or are rebuilding after wildfires. The utility is offering financial assistance for some customers or lowered rates. They’re also offering those with medical conditions a lowered monthly rate without income qualifications. They also are offering billing support, credit relief and ways to return home safely.

For more information about how PG&E can help with the rebuild and recover phase, please call 800-743-5000, email rebuild@pge.com or visit pge.com/wildfirerecovery and pge.com/consumer-protections.

A woman in Mendocino County could be facing prison time for abusing a dog. The Mendocino County DA’s office reports Katie Rhiannon Smith of Caspar was supposed to be in court today but pleaded no contest yesterday to felony animal abuse in the case of ‘Thunder the Wonder Dog: the Cone Dog from the Woods.’ The DA charged the woman and she’s now admitted she maliciously and intentionally maimed, mutilated, tortured, or wounded a living animal. The maximum sentence she can get is up to 3 years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000. It could have been ten years if it went to jury trial. A gun use allegation was dismissed after the injured and abused dog was found last December. It had been shot and was suffering from dehydration and malnutrition. She’ll be sentenced December 2nd.

The August Complex is not up to almost 1,003,400 acres with 58% containment. The US Forest Service reports the fire has burned since August 17th and CAL FIRE says it’s destroyed 242 structures and damaged six others. The fire is the largest to ever burn in the state and is only about half contained. It’s more than twice the size of the last fire that was in the history books as the largest, the 2018 Mendocino Complex, which burned 459,123 acres. There are still mandatory evacuation orders for the August Complex in both Lake and Mendocino counties.

State Senator Mike McGuire is expected to speak at the next Middletown Area Town Hall. The meeting over Zoom this Thursday night. McGuire expected to talk about fire safety and mitigation, schools and the homeless. The meeting which starts at & pm will also feature other speakers and candidates for certain boards and districts. The Town Hall one of many in Lake County that act as an advisory council for the residents of each town. The Middletown Area also includes Anderson Springs, Cobb, Coyote Valley (including Hidden Valley Lake), Long Valley and Middletown.

The last day to register to vote is nearing. In Lake County, the Registrar of Voters Office has put out a reminder that Monday, Oct. 19th is the final day you can register to vote in the Nov. 3 presidential election. Any new voters, new residents of the county and registered voters who may have moved, changed their mailing address, or changed their name, have to register or reregister to vote no later than Oct. 19th. You can call the office to make sure your info is in order too. If you miss the deadline, you still can vote by conditionally registering, using a provisional ballot at the Registrar of Voters Office.

A bill sponsored by Congressman Jared Huffman has passed the house and heads to the Senate. Huffman says the Clean Economy Jobs and Innovation Act will make sure PacifiCorp energy company is held accountable for negative impacts of four dams on the Klamath River. The Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement Tribal Fairness Amendment will also help Indigenous communities who may have suffered due to the outdated dams. The congressman says the old dams have impacted, not only the river itself, but also the salmon fishing industry and local tribal communities. 

A new plan for how to manage groundwater in several counties, including Mendocino County. The Mendocino Voice reports the Groundwater Sustainability Agency in Ukiah is working on a plan per a state requirement that dates back to 2014. The Groundwater Sustainability Agency asked the public for input. The agency has until 2022 to come up with the plan and then has another 18 years or so to put the plan into action, and prove it. And if the agency cannot come up with a plan to manage groundwater for safe, long term use, the state will take over. The Ukiah groundwater basin encompasses Redwood Valley, Calpella, and Ukiah, and is part of the Russian River watershed.

A big turn out for a giveaway of personal and home goods by the Elijah House of Lakeport, along with Worldwide Healing Hands and Adventist Health Clear Lake. The Record Bee reports the event Saturday at Austin Park drew about 1,000 cars. It was a two day event. But there was another one day event at the Twin Pine Casino in Middletown where another 400 cars came out. Volunteers from the Elijah House Lakeport shelter helped others in need. It was pretty smoky at the event due to area fires. Cars drove right up to tables and volunteers handed over items. Those handing out items adhered to public health guidelines with masks and socially distanced.

The August Complex Wildfire keeps exploding in size. The fire which we reported yesterday had reached over one million acres, then this morning added another 3,400.  Now the latest update from CAL FIRE is that the fire has burned even more acreage, to hit 1,006,140 acres. The fire remains 60% contained. CAL FIRE reports the fire continues to burn in Mendocino, Humboldt and Colusa Counties under their management and other counties with the US Forest Service managing. They had it split into 3 zones, now it’s 4. There was a 6 acre spot fire in the Rattlesnake Creek drainage which firefighters made quick work of. Roads around that area had been closed already.  There was also some spotting over fire lines near Round Mountain in rugged, difficult to reach terrain. Also spot fires were reported around the Ruth Lake area near the Journey’s End Motel and Diner, but the fuel reduction in the area has so far saved that structure.

The nearly 67,000 acre Glass Fire continues to burn but with little growth so far today. The fire burning a week and a half is 50% contained. CAL FIRE reports working containment up 9% since Monday night. The fire’s burned more homes though, 600 total now. 310 in Sonoma County and 290 in Napa County. Firefighters say nearly 22,000 structures are still threatened. Almost 3,000 people are still out of their homes in Sonoma County and east Santa Rosa and 13,000 more are under evacuation warnings. There are more than 4,400 people without power in Napa and Sonoma counties too. It was still supposed to be pretty warm today, but cooler temperatures with more humidity are expected for the rest of the week.

The Mendocino County Elections Office reports mailing all registered voters out their General Election ballots. They say it should take a week at the latest to receive it. They ask to watch your mailbox to make sure you receive it, if you don’t want to vote in person. You can drop your ballot off in front of City Hall in the slot for utility bills in Fort Bragg. The election takes place November 3rd. The elections office also reports having protocol in place that follows a strict chain of custody. The city clerk says they’re going to batch and count ballots several times a day by two city employees, including herself. There aren’t any local measures, just major issues and of course, president.

Two evacuation orders on the August Complex fire have been reduced to warnings. The Sheriff announced areas around Elk Creek, Thomas Creek, Garcia Creek, Lookout Creek and Swallow Rock. 

West of Elk Creek, north of the county line and the National Forest Boundary, east of Thomas Creek, Garcia Creek and the National Forest Boundary, south of the National Forest Boundary. And east of Elk Creek, north of Lookout Creek, west of the M1 Road, south of Long Doe Ridge and Swallow Rock.  

A young woman in Hidden Valley Lake reports being sexually assaulted by a man. The 18 year old victim says Mark Greydon Tolson gave her booze in July at his house. She says other young adults under 21 years old were also there and that later in the night she woke up and found the man was sexually assaulting her. The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Detectives were still investigating the case last week and served a search warrant at Tolson’s home. He was then arrested for Oral Copulation and Sexual Battery. He posted bail and was released.  

The Lake County Public Health Office reports flu season is likely upon us so residents should get flu shots. The statement out from Dr. Gary Pace of concern about the flu season which generally starts in October. Dr. Pace says during the time of COVID, it’s more important to protect the most vulnerable citizens. Dr. Pace says all people are strongly encouraged to get the flu vaccine this year which you can get from your doctor, many pharmacies and at some flu vaccine clinics. There’s a free drive through flu clinic Saturday at the the Lake County Fairgrounds through the “Heroes of Health” event. Dr. Pace and other Public Health Officers in small Northern California counties have been putting out similar statements about getting immunized, especially for healthcare workers.

A new Evacuation Order for the August Complex Wildfire which has now burned acres over 993,000 acres and is still just 54% contained. The order from the Mendocino County Sheriff’s office yesterday for what they’re calling Zone N: North of the Middle Fork of the Eel River including the Eel River Ranger Station and Black Butte Store, west and south of the National Forest Boundary, East of Williams Creek.

Evacuation orders for thousands impacted by the Glass Fire in Napa and Sonoma counties have been allowed to go home. The fire started a week ago in Napa, then spread to Sonoma. In areas previously devastated by massive fires, Oakmont and Kenwood along Highway 12 and neighborhoods along the Porter Creek Road corridor and the Mark West Springs drainage got to go home yesterday. The communities in Santa Rosa and also residents in Calistoga.  The Evacuation Orders were in areas that were outside the burn perimeter of the fire. Containment lines were expanded by firefighters but there were also new evacuation warnings for people near the northern Sonoma County line and southern edge of Lake County. The fire has burned nearly 65,000 acres and is 26% contained.

There are reports of citizens in the path of the Glass Fire lighting their own backfires. CAL FIRE is reportedly looking into the reports of backfires by people who were not firefighters. They have not said whether it was in Sonoma or Napa County. The Press Democrat reports they couldn’t confirm if these were private firefighting crews hired to protect expensive properties in the Napa Valley, where there are vineyards that may be valued at up to $1 million an acre.

The August Complex fire is at just under 995,000 acres and continues to get closer to 1 million acres. The fire has burned thru several counties and forest land, it grew 9,000 acres yesterday alone. The fire is 54 percent contained after first starting in dry lightning strikes Aug. 17th. The fire on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests in Colusa, Glenn, Humboldt, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama and Trinity counties. 108 structures have been destroyed and another 2,200 are threatened. One person was killed early on in the firefight, a firefighter from Texas.

Due to the Glass Fire that’s been burning in Sonoma and Napa counties, now in Lake County, new evacuation warnings for two areas south of Middletown. The fire creeping into the county. It’s been burning for a week. The evacuation warnings in areas south of Rancheria Road, east of the Lake-Sonoma County Line, north of the Lake-Napa County Line and west of Highway 29, and for South Mirable Road, east of Highway 29, north of the Lake-Napa County line and west of McGuire and the Three Peaks ridgeline.

A man from Ukiah has been sent to prison for more than a year for possession of child pornography. 54 year old David Lloyd Osbourn got 16 months in prison after he was found guilty in July for unlawful possession of child pornography. Police started to investigate the man after getting tipped by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children in April of 2018. The DA’s office worked on the investigation with police and ultimately charged the man.

17 more cases of COVID-19 over the weekend for Mendocino County to go over 1,000 confirmed cases. There were also 17 more cases announced on Friday night for a total of more than 30 cases in 3 days. Another death was also announced over the weekend for 20 deaths so far. 7 people are in the hospital and there are 124 people in isolation. The county remains in the Purple, most restrictive tier in Calif.’s plan for reopening. The Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren says the case rate has doubled over the last week and a half, which may be from Labor Day gatherings, big or small. There was also an outbreak at Ken Fowler Auto Center where more than 20 employees were infected. Dr. Coren also says there are a couple of newer outbreaks in Covelo and Point Arena too.

Clearlake’s looking to get more people to move to town. The City Council has given the greenlight to giving grants of up to $40,000 to pay for various fees to build homes on a city owned lot. The Record Bee reports City staff has recommended  $1 million be used from former redevelopment agency bonds for what they’re calling the Homestead Program. Those interested have to be at the median to moderate income rate per the state Department of Housing and Community Development. That’s $49,500/year for an individual or $84,850 for a four-person household.

Wildfires have burned almost 4 million acres in Calif. this year. A new report says drinking water’s been tainted after at least 3 fires in 3 years, the Tubbs, Camp and CZU Lightning Complex. It could cost hundreds of millions to fix the damaged water systems. Nearly 2 dozen wildfires are still burning and more than 30 people have been killed. Tests of water systems after fires are showing benzene at as much as 40,000 times the state’s limits in some areas. A recent study from Purdue University says long term exposure can cause leukemia, and immediate, high exposure may cause some to become dizzy and hurt their stomach.  Cleaning the water includes removing poisoned pipes, which we’ve seen after the Camp Fire where the benzene was found at 2,200 times the state limit. It’ll cost at least $50 million for just that town to have work done. One neighborhood in Napa is testing their water after the LNU Lightning Complex and now the Glass Fire.

For the first time in modern history Calif. has had one fire that’s reached more than one million acres. The August Complex which is burning in Colusa, Glenn, Lake, Mendocino, Tehama and Trinity Counties hit just under 1,002,100 acres and remains 54% contained. This morning we reported the fire had burned just under 994,000 acres, so the fire jumped a lot from last night. The Forest Service gave an update on four zones of the fire, the South Zone 543,114 acres, North East Zone 260,078 acres, North West Zone 64,069 acres and West Zone 134,836 acres. 159 structures have been destroyed.

Progress has been made on the Glass Fire, the fire started just a week ago and has burned nearly 65,600 acres with 30% containment. The fire grew in hot and dry conditions nearly 700 more acres yesterday but firefighters did add 4% containment. So far they’ve counted nearly 500 homes destroyed, 235 in Sonoma County and 252 in Napa County. CAL FIRE reports nearly 22,000 structures are still threatened. Some residents who had been ordered to evacuate have been allowed to return home. However the fire inched up to Lake County so some other neighborhoods have also been evacuated over the last 24 hours.

The investigation has begun into how the Glass fire started. The fire burning across Napa and Sonoma counties are reportedly zeroing in one rural, gated property where they say the fire started early Sunday morning on Howell Mountain, a hilly area of eastern Napa Valley. The Press Democrat reports CAL FIRE is investigation two possible places the fire might have started on the western side of the valley too. Two more fires started in that area, the Shady and Boysen fires which reportedly started from embers from the Glass fire that blew over the valley. So the east and west side of the Valley had three fires that merged to become the Glass Fire. It burned another 2,100 acres yesterday to be a nearly 60,000 acres by last night. 153 homes have been destroyed in Napa County and 67 more in Sonoma County.

Some of the worst air quality in North America in the Emerald Triangle. Mendo Fever reports a meteorologist at National Weather Service says the record breaking wildfires have brought unhealthy air quality in areas of Humboldt and Mendocino counties. The weather service reports some of Humboldt County was recorded as having Hazardous air quality that came from the August Complex and Red Salmon Complex fires. There wasn’t a lot of wind last week so the smoke was hanging in the air. The Ukiah Valley also recorded Hazardous air quality. Out near the Mendocino coast, for example Fort Bragg had a Moderate measurement.

A man arrested after being seen in the parking lot of Purity Market in Fort Bragg after entering a home. Police say they got a call the man was seen leaving his bike alone, went into a home, then re-emerged after walking thru several area neighborhoods. Police say the man was seen weaving in and out of backyards, emerging through an alley. He’s been identified as Shalom Lewis who was on parole and had a felony warrant. He was taken to jail, no word on his bail or if he’s been released due to the pandemic rules on jailing those arrested.

The Mendocino National Forest is offering free firewood permits through the end of the year. The Forest Service says woodcutters have to have one of the personal-use firewood permits and follow all regulations. Since the National Forest offices are closed to the public due to the pandemic and the fires, the permits will be mailed out. You will receive a permit, a firewood map and firewood tags for the Mendocino National Forest lands only. You’ll have to also be up on the latest, daily firewood-cutting restrictions in effect.

A man arrested in Willits after a call to a possible burglary at Brown’s Corner. Cops say when they arrived, there was a broken glass door and several items were found scattered inside and outside of the store, and there was damage to other store property.  Video surveillance showed a man, who’s been identified as Bryan Elias of Vallejo, drove his car into the front door of the businesses, hit reverse, got out smashed the glass out of the door, went inside and took a bunch of booze and tobacco products, then left. He was found soon after and arrested. Police went to a home with a search warrant where they say they found most of the stolen items. His car was impounded, and Elias was booked into county jail for burglary and felony vandalism.

The Lake County Public Health Officer says there’s been high levels of bacteria found at multiple sites around Clear Lake.  Dr. Gary Pace reports samples were taken two weeks ago at 19 sites to look for cyanobacteria, and that results showed concerning levels of the toxic bacteria. The Big Valley Band of Pomo Indians and Elem Indian Colony do regular monitoring across Clear Lake. Big Valley says on tests done Sept. 15th at 24 sites and found cyanobacteria blooms in most of the locations so they did more testing. Some of the tests showed danger level, so they urge to stay out of the water and not to allow pets in the water either.

It’s supposed to get very hot in the coming days and firefighters only have the latest massive wildfire at 5%. The Glass Fire burned over 2,000 more acres yesterday reaching almost 59,000 acres with only 5 percent containment. Nearly 29,000 structures are threatened and almost 590 have been destroyed. Another 110 structures have been damaged. The fire was reportedly actively burning yesterday with spot fires of as far away as one mile. The red flag warning has been extended through tomorrow. The August Complex has burned several thousand more acres. It’s now up to 956,084 acres and is 47 percent contained. The fire’s burning on the Mendocino, Shasta-Trinity and Six Rivers National Forests. It’s currently threatening 2,200 structures and has destroyed 100. Firefighters continue to monitor the east side of the fire and are monitoring and maintaining containment lines in the Lake Pillsbury region.

It looks like cases of COVID-19 are waning in Calif, after an explosion of cases in July. There were also a record number of deaths in August, but we don’t yet have the final numbers for all of September. But it looks as though less than half the cases than in August and a lower amount of deaths as well. We reported another death in Mendocino County this week, for a total of 19 deaths in the county. There have been many more cases reported in the county and in Lake County. The Lake County Public Health Officer has said he believes the county could enter the Purple, most restrictive tier next Tuesday. Each Tuesday is when the state looks at county numbers and makes decisions about what tier they will be in.  As of yesterday there were 971 positive cases in Mendocino County, 569 in Lake County and 11 deaths. The latest numbers in Calif, 813,687 and 15,888 deaths.

The August Complex fire still burns, about ½ not contained. The massive 950,000 acre fire has caused evacuation orders and warnings since the middle of August, new ones in fact called for just yesterday. The Forest Service reports substantial work on the  southwestern corner of the south zone of the fire near Big Signal Peak as there was unburned fuel in the control line. Fire personnel was assessing areas farther north along the southwestern edge of the zone and moving resources to areas where the fire was more active. They’re working today on the western edge, where there is good containment. There are evacuations continuing in this zone for Mendocino and Lake counties.

Forest Service officials say they have been getting push back from residents who didn’t want to evacuate even though there were orders in place in Trinity County in part of the August Complex. The service pleading with residents in the North fire zone. Officials are also expressing concern the fire could merge with the Zogg Fire burning northeast in Shasta County and into part of Tehama County. That one started Sunday outside Redding in a Red Flag Warning and killed four people.  

In Paradise, there’s talk about moving all utility lines underground. Last year PG&E in the town discussing moving all utilities underground, but word that some telecommunications companies said they were not made aware of PG&E‘s plan and it would cost too much to do it.  That was a year ago. The town of Paradise though says  PG&E had only buried about 30 miles of electrical utilities since their May 2019 announcement. They’re having a meeting October 13th in Paradise to discuss an Underground Utility District. They’d have to pull out all utility poles and overhead infrastructure for the underground work to begin. The town also reportedly filed a California Public Utilities Commission complaint against Comcast and AT&T saying those companies had not been maintaining safe and adequate facilities as related to the Camp Fire and how utility poles and wires were in the way of evacuation efforts.

As the Glass Fire continues to burn mostly out of control, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors has agreed to use about $2.5 million for immediate response costs. They have also approved an emergency declaration by the emergency services director on Monday. That helps the county get emergency funds from the state and allows mutual aid support from the state and other regional partners. The Press Democrat reports the county has also submitted a preliminary damage estimate of public assets that so far total over $18 million.

We may see some relief for all of the fires as a hurricane southwest of Baja Mexico could bring us some rain. There’s a 15-20% chance for the Bay Area, but not until the end of next week. That of course could change by the time the hurricane makes landfall.

Some of the fires that have been burning near us are 100% contained, that includes the LNU Lightning Complex. The fire broke out at the same time as the August Complex. It burned over 363,200 acres. The Glass fire is burning 4 miles east of Calistoga and has so far blackened almost 60,150 acres and is 6% contained. The massive August Complex also continues to burn, 51% of the entire complex is contained. The fire continues to creep up to almost one million acres. Right now it’s at 970,563 acres, growing 15,000 acres yesterday. As we’ve reported the fire’s been divided into three zones, the South Zone has burned almost 491,000 and is 70% contained, the North Zone burned nearly 356,490 acres, and is 32% contained. The West Zone burned over 123,300 acres and is 55% contained. We still have people who’ve been evacuated in both Mendocino and Lake counties. 159 structures have been destroyed.