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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

A shootout in Covelo leads to the arrest of two people. Mendocino County Deputies got a call to the shooting where Round Valley Tribal Police had already responded and ordered one of two people shooting to stop, they dropped their shotgun and the man was detained. Multiple Wardens from the Department of Fish and Wildlife also came to the scene and the second person was found but didn’t listen to police commands and ran. That man Isaac Islas lived on the same property as the other man, Loren Riley. The two men in different gangs and had been in an earlier altercation. Riley on probation and not allowed to have a weapon, and Islas also cannot have one because of prior criminal convictions. The two arrested on several crimes with Riley held on no bail and Islas held on $55,000.00 bail.

Preparation for repair and restoration work ongoing on the Mendocino Complex fire which is still not entirely contained. The fires have burned 459,123 acres on federal, state, tribal and private lands. The Ranch Fire is 98 percent contained, the largest fire to ever burn in Calif. Alone it’s burned more than 410,200 acres, it’s twin, the River Fire was fully contained nearly a month ago at 48,920 acres. Suppression work is being done still with about 30% left to cover of 672 miles of fireline constructed. The Burned Area Emergency Response team reports the Snow Mountain Wilderness has not been assessed yet, but noted the fire burned thru the whole off highway vehicle trail system, damaged trail segments, burned or compromised culverts and bridges and impacted campgrounds, day use areas, trailheads, and signs. The team will now focus on hazard trees before reopening to the public.

The Mendocino County Planning and Building Services representatives at the Board of Supervisors meeting talking fire recovery from last year’s fall fires. The department reports getting a $1 million Cal Fire grant to remove hazardous trees on private property and says they’ve applied for more than $13 million more in grants for fire recovery. That doesn’t include FEMA and Cal OES money already received. There was also a Fish and Wildlife grant of $754,000. They also reported working on a couple of fire recovery projects in Redwood Valley which should be done by next year.

A reminder as the latest wildfires in our area wind down to be mindful of possible scammers. The National Center for Disaster Fraud, part of the Department’s Criminal Division, with a call center at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge gets disaster fraud complaints and reminds the public to watch out for someone pretending to be a cop, saying they can help with claims to insurance companies, try to get charitable donations, promising high investment returns on money folks have left over from recovery and cleanup efforts. Also to look out for price gouging, contractor fraud, debris removal fraud and of course theft, looting, and other violent crimes. Report fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-7205721 or disaster.

A hike in construction costs has Lakeport community members complaining that certain projects should have been done by now related to Measure T. The Lakeport Unified School District and board of trustees criticized last week as parents and community members filed in to the meeting and complained about the district’s prioritization of bond-funded projects, especially building a new swimming pool. Lake Co News reports there were dozens at the meeting last Thursday, where they usually only get a handful. Most of the four hours spent talking about the pool which was deemed seismically unsafe and built wrong to begin with. Now there are leaks, but there’s only 3 million of 17 million dollars of the 2014 bond money left. The board and district officials blamed rising construction costs after wildfires.

A virtual Mendocino Complex Recovery meeting’s set. As the final stretch of containment looks sure on the Ranch Fire and cleanup is starting after land assessment. The meeting tonight at 6 on Facebook at the Lake County Government page. The meeting is live and questions will be responded to in real time. Anyone with seriously damaged properties should already be having their properties cleared in phase one by the Department of Toxic Substances Control which started Monday and will continue thru Friday, Sept. 21st. The next phase is hazardous wildfire debris removal off private properties run by CalRecycle.

A man from Lakeport who was killed in a car crash last weekend has been id’d. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office says 52 year old Reynaldo Castillo Esquivel died in the Sunday crash. He was in a 2002 BMW sedan northbound on Eastside Calpella Road south of Highway 20 and went off the road, then rolled, and stopped on its roof. He died at the scene. The CHP reported he was not using safety equipment in the crash and that he had a passenger aboard who was taken to a hospital. She’s only identified as a 52-year-old Lakeport woman.


A man has been arrested in Washington state on a one million dollar warrant out of Lake County. Clearlake police had been investigating Harry Vandyke of Las Vegas for the sexual abuse of a minor under the age of 18. Police asked the U-S Marshall’s Fugitive Task Force to help find the man who’s now in custody. He’s also reportedly waived extradition and was taken to Clearlake last Thursday and booked into the Lake County Jail. Police asking the public if they have any info on the case to call the police department and are reminding the public that sexual assault survivors can get crisis intervention counseling for free, including legal and medical help or to get referrals on other resources.

A project to add parking spots and help traffic flow better has begun at the Elk River Trailhead in the Headwaters Forest Reserve. That means there may be traffic snarls or less access to the area while the project gets underway. The BLM reports they’re trying to minimize interruptions to access but there may be times it’s limited for public safety. There will be a bigger parking lot so that 25 vehicles can fit along with vans and school buses. Plus it’ll be easier to maneuver in the area which provides the primary access into the 7,400-acre forest reserve. There will also be a paved section for accessibility with signs going up about the natural history of the reserve. The project continues thru next month.

A public alert and warning test in Sonoma County. The Mendocino County Office of Emergency Services reports on the test tomorrow between 10am-12pm where notifications will be sent out via cell phones, and on radio and TV. Those close to the alerting area could see an alert on their cell phone with a special tone and vibration, along with a brief text. So since it’s so close to Mendocino County, some residents there may also get a notification since Sonoma and Mendocino Counties share local radio and TV stations and have cell towers serving residents in both counties.

A man from Richmond who used to be employed by the Contra Costa County public defenders office has been arrested for a conspiracy to prevent a police informant from testifying. It was a murder for hire that ended up with the death of the wrong person. William Edwards Jr. had previously pleaded no contest to a similar crime 12 years ago. In that case the key witness to an Oakland murder was killed. Family members of that victim complained his sentence was too lenient and he’d do it again. Now Edwards is charged with the murder in June of Taison Calderon-Lopez in a case of mistaken identity, he was not the witness in an attempted murder, but apparently looked similar and drove a similar car.

A man’s been killed in a car crash in Calpella. The California Highway Patrol reports the unidentified man was driving west on Eastside Calpella Road and went off the road in his 2002 BMW south of Highway 20 eastbound and rolled. The car stopped on its roof and the driver died on the scene. CHP officers say he did not use safety equipment. There was a 52-year-old woman with him who was taken to the hospital with moderate injuries. The two both from Lakeport.

A warning in Calif. to say away from recreationally harvested mussels until the end of October. Officials warning of dangerous levels of domoic acid which is also known as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning or ASP. It can get people sick and even cause death. There’s also a warning to stay away from sport-harvested razor clams from Del Norte and Humboldt counties for the same reason, too high of levels of domoic acid. The FDA says “biotoxins may increase to unsafe levels in the shellfish that feed on the micro-algae.” Commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops or oysters are safe to eat since they go thru a lot of testing regularly.

Dozens of fire rescue animals from the Mendocino Complex have been up for adoption. The Lake County Animal Care & Control center in Lakeport says the pets are available to a forever home after they were evacuated from their previous homes during the recent fires. The Record Bee reports the shelter manager saying most people are able to come back for their pets, but some cannot. They have a 30 day “hold period” after the final evacuation order is lifted after a fire, then animals are put up to the public for adoption. There was a stream of folks at the shelter yesterday. The shelter had about a dozen cats, a dozen dogs, and a goat. There had been almost 400 animals when the Mendocino Complex evacuations first happened.

The 100th weather station has been installed by PG&E. The stations gather meteorological data to help predict extreme wildfire danger. The weather stations installed as further safety precautions after the 2017 wildfires. So PG& E is part of a Community Wildfire Safety Program to help reduce wildfire threats and help keep their customers, families and communities informed. A spokesperson for the company says the giant utility has installed more than 100 new weather stations since the beginning of the year. Four are in Lake County and another 200 in high firethreat areas will be put in. Some counties already have them including Butte, Calaveras, Contra Costa, Mendocino, Napa, Shasta and Sierra. The data shared in real time with sources like the National Weather Service.

Still not 100%, but almost for the Mendocino Complex after nearly six weeks burning. The fire’s charred more than 459,120-acres and is 98-percent contained with one area still burning out of the containment lines in the Ranch Fire. The River Fire was contained almost a month ago. The area of the Mendocino Forest which is burning remains closed. So there’s no public use allowed including hunting, using firearms and off-road vehicles.

There’s two confirmed deaths due to the West Nile virus in Calif. The deaths happened in Glenn and Yuba counties. Lake Co News reports the state Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith says it’s still the peak period for the virus in Calif. so they’re urging residents to take all precautions to protect themselves against mosquito bites. There’s been 56 human cases of the virus in 21 California counties this year. There’s also been more than 420 dead birds found from 18 counties that tested positive this year and another 1,600 or so positive mosquito samples from 28 counties.

An ambitious goal in Calif to slowly phase out all fossil fuels. The Governor signing new legislation yesterday as part of his push to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the state. The bill signing ahead of a summit in San Francisco hosted by Gov. Brown with climate change leaders from around the world this week. The new law to ensure California utility companies generate 60 percent of energy from wind, solar and other renewable sources by 2030 and that they use only carbon-free sources for electricity by 2045. There’s nothing that says it will be illegal or there will be a penalty for not meeting the goal. Brown says it won’t be easy, but it has to be done.

More than 30 suspected gang members have been arrested for a massive credit card fraud scheme. The Calif. Atty. General announced yesterday 32 people arrested for stealing as much as $1 million by hacking credit card terminals and merchant accounts at medical and dental businesses. The announcement of a 240-count indictment against members of the BullyBoys and CoCo Boys including conspiracy to commit grand theft; hacking, computer access and fraud; burglary; and eight counts of identity theft. Cops also found laptops and personal files with social security numbers and bank information. All across Northern Cali.

People have been sent from their homes in Marin County after a vegetation fire breaks out and burns out of control. The fire at Samuel P. Taylor State Park had burned 100 acres across steep terrain this morning. It started under a local fire lookout last night and was said to be threatening nearly 3 dozen structures. The fire was about 10 percent contained late last night with fire officials saying they were making good progress using bulldozers, hand crews, water tenders and engines. Residents located near the fire area who were not evacuated were being told to monitor local news media and follow any instructions they got from Marin County Fire or Sheriff officials.

A new report shows almost 20 percent of cannabis products to be sold in California had failed potency and purity tests since requirements went into effect July 1st. The worst of the testing on cannabis-infused cookies, candies and tinctures: about a-third tested cannot be sold. And separately testing companies also found unacceptable levels of pesticides, solvents and bacteria, including E. coli and salmonella. The Associated Press reports in the first two months almost 11,000 samples had been tested with about 2,000 failing. The state Bureau of Cannabis Control reports the testing is new and will take time for it to go smoothly, but they’re happy so far with the way things are progressing.

A $15,000 reward for any information on the shooting death of an endangered Calif. Condor. Officials report the bird was shot in July on private property near the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge in Kern County. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was offering a $5,000 reward but then yesterday the Center for Biological Diversity tripled it.

A man in Massachusetts is celebrating a big anniversary… 50 years of employment… at McDonalds. Alfred Caproni started out flipping burgers at their Pittsfield location before there ever was a Big Mac. Then moved to their North Adams location, where he’s been since. The now 73 year old celebrated his 50th anniversary with the fast-food joint last week. He joked in a local newspaper report that he has cooked so many burgers over the years, he ended up with carpal tunnel syndrome. He says he never left because the working environment was really fun and keeps him young. He even met his wife there…

One of the country’s busiest highways, Interstate 5, closed for 45 miles due to a wildfire. The highway goes almost 1,400 miles from Mexico to Canada. The stretch closed because of the Delta Fire for several days finally reopens Monday morning after being closed in both directions from 10 miles north of Redding to near Mount Shasta. The fire burned cars left on the side of the road and big rigs with reports some truckers were pulled from their burning rigs. The fire’s burning pretty much out of control in Shasta and Trinity counties. It’s scorched nearly 41,000 acres and is only 5% contained. The fire apparently human caused, but no word how.

All the mandatory evacuation orders and road closures for the Snell Fire in Napa County have been lifted. Those evacuated are being warned though, that it could happen again because of erratic fire conditions. The fire added about 90 acres overnight and is now up to 30 percent containment. It’s burned close to 2,500 acres. It’s burning in remote land near Lake Berryessa and 7 miles southeast of Middletown. 180 homes and other structures were threatened, which is where many were evacuated, mostly in Berryessa Estates. Apparently cooler weather helped firefighters.

Still one stubborn section of the Ranch Fire has the fire staying at 98% containment. But officials say they still expect 100% containment by today. There’s more than 670 miles of fire line where they’ll handle suppression repair work, so far that’s done on 69 percent of the fire line. That work includes cutting hazard trees for firefighter safety, reducing dirt berms, spreading cut vegetation and building water bars to minimize soil erosion. The fire camps in Ukiah and Stonyford and being merged into one in Stonyford only, that’s where most of the rest of the suppression repair work remains. The fire with the River Fire is at 98% containment even though the River Fire’s been contained for weeks, the fire’s have burned more than 459,000 acres.

The Coastal Commission meeting in Fort Bragg to hear from Caltrans on its proposed geotechnical study to renovate or replace the Albion River Bridge. Some residents in Albion want Caltrans to keep the bridge in place and reportedly want the commission to say no to any geotechnical work before there’s an environmental review on the whole project. But the agency says it’ll be safer to replace the old bridge which would also be a smarter economical move due to old rusting bolts and cracking timbers so it would be more expensive to maintain than to replace. The argument over how to take care of the crumbling bridge has been ongoing for years. The Albion River Bridge was built in 1944 and is the only steel suspension bridge on the California coast now. The Coastal Commission meeting on the matter Wednesday as part of a three-day session in Fort Bragg.

Consideration by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to potentially change ordinance rezoning on two parcels of land in Ukiah. The property at 120 and 140 Feed Lot Lane about a mile and a half from downtown, covering about 1.2 acres. If approved it would change from Zoned Limited Industrial to General Commercial so it’s in line with the General Plan designation. The Daily Journal reports the county Department of Planning and Building Services has asked the Board of Supervisors to approve a rezoning after reviewing the proposal.

The firefighter from Utah killed while working on the Mendocino Complex fire will be honored by the Lake County Board of Supervisors. The meeting tomorrow morning in Lakeport can be seen online at the county website too. They’ll honor Draper City Fire Battalion Chief Matthew Burchett for his dedication, service and ultimate sacrifice in response to the Ranch fire. Burchett was killed by a falling tree during a retardant drop August 13th. The board also has to continue the proclamation for a local health emergency by the Lake County health officer due to the Pawnee fire and the Mendocino Complex fire, for which the board will also hear a status report.

A fire has grown several hundred acres in Napa County. The so-called Snell Fire is at 2,400 acres and 20-percent contained. The fire started Saturday by the Berryessa Estates subdivision close to Middletown. The fire’s threatening about 180 structures, but there’s been no structures damaged or destroyed so far. There are evacuations in place though on the west side of Berryessa Knoxville Road from Pope Creek Bridge to Lake-Napa County line, Snell Valley Road and all roads to Snell Valley, and Berryessa Estates. They have set up an evacuation center at Pope Valley Farm Center. No word so far on how the fire started.

The Knoxville Management Area in the Berryessa Snow Mountain National Monument is closed due to the Snell fire. The Ukiah office of the Bureau of Land Management closed the area temporarily including the Knoxville Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Area, Northside Staging Area, Hunting Creek Campground and the Knoxville Area of Critical Environmental Concern. Officials say it’s to protect public land users from the active wildfire, to keep firefighters safe and shield natural resources. It’s all closed until further notice. The Cow Mountain Recreation Area was damaged badly in the Mendocino Complex fire and is also closed to all access. There are also several fire restrictions in place due to fire weather including no target shooting and a ban on all campfires and open flame.

The Gov. has signed an executive order to keep the state’s unique plants, animals and ecosystems safe due to a threat from climate change. Governor Brown’s order says there should be a more thoughtful and systemic approach to climate change considering the vast web of relationships that tie together the myriad elements of California’s ecosystems. Apparently there are more species of plants and animals in California than any other state in the country. The ecosystem includes about 650 species of birds, 220 mammals, 75 amphibians, 70 freshwater fish, over 100 marine fish and mammals and about 6,500 native plants, 2,000 or more are rare. So now the Department of Food and Agriculture and the Department of Fish and Wildlife will work to save existing plants and animals and restore and protect habitat across both working and wild places.

The Gov. signed a couple of bills blocking any new offshore oil drilling saying no to any pipeline construction in the state, or any infrastructure needed to transport oil and gas from federal waters to state land. State Senator Mike McGuire says the state has now drawn a line in the sand to block the Trump administration’s plans to open up new offshore oil drilling along our, “treasured coast” and he says the Gov. will therefore protect our $40 billion coastal economy, fisheries, and the environment.

A man with a lengthy criminal history accused of the rape and murder of six women in the 1970’s yelled out to the jury as his trial started he was not guilty. Rodney Halbower on trial for two murders in San Mateo County and Reno, NV. The deaths were called the Gypsy Hill Killings back then. The cold case heated up in 2014 when Halbower who yelled “I have never raped or murdered in my life!” to the jury Friday, was arrested. His outburst led to his lawyer requesting a mistrial. But the prosecutor argued the outburst was staged. The Judge said no and the trial continues.

Groups trying to keep California’s health-care system in place want Governor Jerry Brown to sign a Senate Bill to limit short-term insurance plans, called skinny plans. The Trump administration allowing the plans for three years to increase competition and offer a lower-cost alternative. State Senator Ed Hernandez, who authored SB 910, says the plans are "junk insurance" that’ll rob consumers of important protections.

Cut 84345 :15 "They don’t realize that they can get kicked off with a pre-existing condition. There’s no max amount of out-of-pocket expenses. If they get some kind of devastating health condition, it could lead them into bankruptcy, so I don’t think it’s in the best interest of the state of California."

Tag: The short-term plans are exempt from the requirements of the Affordable Care Act, so many don’t cover mental health, maternity or pediatric care. Supporters say plans could lure young, healthy people out of the Covered California insurance market so there would be older, sicker people in the risk pool which would drive premiums sky-high. Brown has until September 30th to sign the bill, veto it, or let it become law without his signature.

Second Cut: Brown also is considering a bill to limit association health plans, one to prevent eligibility restrictions to force Medi-Cal recipients to work, and another to safeguard A-C-A rules that require health plans to spend 80 percent of their premiums on health care. Hernandez says President Trump’s playing politics with people’s lives by undermining the A-C-A.

Cut 85345 :12 "I think it’s political sabotage to destabilize the market. I think he’s playing to the base. At the end of the day, this is a system that’s working and I think it’s just pure politics to try to repeal it."

Tag 1: Republicans have tried and failed several times to repeal the A-C-A. However, they did pass the Tax Bill, which removed the federal mandate to buy insurance.

The California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has crews out clearing wildfire debris from the Carr Fire in Shasta County and the Klamathon Fire in Siskiyou County. It’ll be a two-phase cleanup with the leadership of the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and local governments, with no out-of-pocket cost to homeowners. First the state Dept. of Toxic Substances Control will take out hazardous debris like asbestos, siding or pipe insulation, paints, batteries, flammable liquids, and other materials. Then CalRecycle contractors will take out contaminated soil, ash, metal, concrete, and other debris to restore properties to pre-fire conditions.

A grocery store employee in Ohio busted for eating thousands in lunch meat. The alleged thieving took place over an eight year period. Police say as much as $9,200 eaten in ham at a Giant Eagle near Canton, Ohio. The local Sheriff says there’s been no arrest just a report written up so far. That was sent to the prosecutor’s office to decide if any charges would be filed.

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Cal Fire says the ranch fire is on track to be contained by the weekend. The fire is now 98 percent contained and the last section of uncontained fire is west of Stonyford near Bonnie View and Happy Camp. Firefighters continue to monitor interior burning west of Stonyford and patrol fire lines in this area. Suppression repair work consists of removing dirt berms, spreading cut vegetation and building water bars to reduce soil erosion. Hazy conditions continue but the smoke should ease in areas near as Ukiah, Potter Valley and those surrounding Clear Lake.

Insured losses as a result of the Mendocino Complex fires are currently at more than 56-million dollars. California’s insurance commissioner said yesterday that combined with the Carr Fire that burned in Shasta and Trinity counties, insured losses totaled about 845-million dollars to date. By comparison, insured losses from the October fires were almost 10-billion dollars, making them the costliest fires in U.S. History. The Tubbs Fire destroyed over five-thousand-600 structures and killed 22 people.

A deadline is coming up for people who want help for fire-related losses from North Coast Opportunities. The agency says it will accept those applications until next Friday, September 14th. NCO officials say they have already started handing out checks to people affected by the fires. They say the priority in the new applications will be the those who have lost everything in the Mendocino Complex, Eel and Pawnees fires. They are also looking for donations to replenish the relief fund. You can find out more at the website

A state investigation is finding staff abandoned residents of senior care homes during the October wildfires. Regulators began proceedings yesterday to pull the licenses of Santa Rosa care homes owned by Oakmont Senior Living. The investigation by the state Department Of Social Services found that around 100 elderly residents were left stranded by poorly trained staff members at the Varenna and Villa Capri facilities in Fountaingrove. Meanwhile, Oakmont Senior Living denies any wrongdoing and has 15 days to file an appeal.

The Delta Fire burning in Shasta County is up to 22-thousand acres and a portion of Interstate 5 remains closed. The blaze began Wednesday afternoon in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest and is still zero percent contained. About 45 miles of Interstate 5 is closed in both directions, and evacuation orders are in place for three counties. At least 300 structures are threatened, including 150 homes, as over one-thousand-200 firefighters battle the wild

PG and E has started the process of selling off its Potter Valley hydroelectric project, which consists of two dams along the upper Main Stem Eel River, a powerhouse in Potter Valley, and about 5,600 acres of land, including Lake Pillsbury in Lake County. The utility has owned the project since 1930 and the Cape Horn and Scott dams date to the early part of the 20th century. PG and E will continue to operate the project during the auction process. The qualified buyer will then take over the license, which expires in 20-22. There is no starting asking price. PG and E first announced plans to sell in May.

The owners of the Mendocino Railway, which operates the Skunk Train, have come to an agreement to buy 70 acres of land from Georgia Pacific in Fort Bragg. The land is part of the former millsite which has been unused since G P pulled out in the 2000’s. Skunk Train officials say their plans include a new depot, a resort hotel, and medium- to high-density housing. The proposal would also preserve the last remaining building on the land. The president of Mendocino Railway says their vision is pretty much in line with what Fort Bragg city officials have in mind for the land. The deal with GP could be finalized in the next couple months.

Lake County government offices have a backlog of work and so the county has decided to adjust public hours to deal with it. Starting next week and going through March 10, the county will run a pilot program of hours of Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am to 5:00 pm, excluding holidays. The county been hit hard in its budget and has several staff vacancies it has been unable to fill, leading to the backup of work. The affected offices are all at the country courthouse building—as well as some outlying locations. Officials say the number of employees will remain the same and that only the public hours will change. Among the departments NOT effected—the sheriff’s office and the library. The board of supervisors unanimously approved the Friday closures.

Climate change will be the topic at a pair of weekend gatherings in Ukiah. The group Climate Action Mendocino will host a meeting from 9:00 to noon on Saturday at the Ukiah Farmers Market. That will be followed by a forum from 1:30 to 4:00 at the Mendocino Ag building on North Bush Street. That forum will feature a

No charges are being filed against a Florida woman accused of sticking her son’s head in a toilet. Leesburg Police announced this week that Kaitlyn Wolf is off the hook for now for recently sticking her three-year-old son’s head in a toilet and flushing it. It’s known as a “swirly” and Wolf told authorities it was all just a joke. She could still face legal action in the future and the state’s child services division is still looking into the case. Investigators say there were no signs of physical injuries.

Another fire’s broken out in Shasta County. The fire quickly blew up to 5,000-acres yesterday near the Sacramento River leading to evacuations and a closure of Interstate 5. The Delta Fire was reported yesterday around lunchtime near the 5 north of Lakehead. And within 9 hours it had already scorched 5,000 ACRES. Officials say it’s human-caused, but didn’t say much more than that. So both sides of Interstate 5 north of Lakehead and at the Shasta-Siskiyou county line were evacuated and the highway was closed for a stretch of 3 and a half miles north of Redding and pretty close to Mount Shasta.

A new pricetag being reported on the repairs to the nation’s tallest dam. State officials now say it’ll be $1.1 billion when all is said and done, that’s a quarter million more than expected. And the price could go up again. The state Dept. of Water Resources says one main reason the price went up is hiring additional crews to finish the dam work before the November 1st deadline, ahead of winter rains. The two spillways at the Orrovile Dam failed and crumbled during heavy rains in February of 2017. That led to evacuations of nearly 200-thousand people. Residents got to go home within a few days.

An off-duty CHP officer’s accused of shooting two people, including his wife, then turning the gun on himself in Amador County. Deputies got a call to Get Ripped Nutrition in Martell after reports from a man in the business there was an officer outside banging on the door to get in. A deputy got there 11 mins later and reportedly heard gunshots, then found two people dead and a third with a gunshot wound to the shoulder, that was the store owner, who had non-life threatening injuries and called in the incident. The husband, off-duty CHP Officer Brad Wheat is accused of firing thru the store window to get in, then there was a struggle with the store owner, the officer and his wife in the parking lot that ended with shots fired. The officer and his wife dead.

Mendocino County and the City of Ukiah are working with CAL FIRE and other stakeholders to come up with fire prevention and mitigation measures. The cities of Ukiah, Fort Bragg, Willits, and Point Arena, along with the County have applied for a grant to update a Multi-Hazard Mitigation Plan (MHMP). Once they get the funding, a plan will start to be fleshed out with public input. There’s also work being done separately with various groups, including fire agencies for vegetation management to help immediately reduce the risk of wildfires. Once plans are identified, public meetings will start for community and property owners’ input.

Mendocino College and the Rotary Club of Ukiah are working together on programs for the International Day of Peace! It’s happening Friday, September 21st. An inaugural International Day of Peace concert and performance with Cascada de Flores, dancers from the local SPACE Theatre, and Ballet Folklorico of Petaluma at the Mendocino College Center Theatre, Ukiah campus. There will be food and a cash bar with proceeds benefitting the Rotary Club of Ukiah activities and scholarships for students. Tickets for the event are: $15 for adults, $5 for children 12 and under, and free for Mendocino College students. To purchase tickets visit or call 707-467-1008.

The DMV reports shorter wait times in July and August across the state. It comes after there were massive complaints about hours long wait times at some offices and hours were added on Saturdays. There was even a hearing last month in the state Legislature. More staff have been hired and some retired workers brought back to speed things up. The agency blames new technology and federal security standards for the Real ID. Officials reported back to lawmakers customers without appointments spent about 100 minutes in line the week ending Aug. 25th. About 50 mins less than before. The Real ID’s came into play after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After Oct. 1st 2020, security checkpoints will not allow non-compliant cards and in Calif. you have to go to the DMV for them in person.

More than twenty thousand Calif. voter registrations may have been botched due to the state’s new motor voter law. The DMV apparently sent a letter to the secretary of state reporting incorrect information was sent in on some voters regarding their language and political party selections. The agency says they’ll send letters to the voters so they can correct the error which they say didn’t allow people to register to vote. The Secretary of State Alex Padilla saying he was deeply frustrated with the error, but that the agency assured them they’ve taken necessary steps to prevent the error from happening again.

Now a shortage of pilots working for Calfire due to the busy fire season, which started quite early this year. Cal Fire says it’s mostly for low-flying S-2T tankers for which there are about 2 dozen in the state. The agency says four of them have been grounded in the past month on certain days. They each drop about 6-10 loads a day. Calfire blames the pilot shortage and the tankers being grounded on several things, including pilot fatigue, retirements, vigorous training and aircraft having more maintenance because of what’s now year-round firefighting demands.

A teenager has died at Yosemite National Park while apparently trying to shoot a selfie. Israel’s Foreign Ministry says the teenager was 18-year-old Tomer Frankfurter who lost his balance as he tried taking a picture of himself at the edge of Nevada Fall. Then he fell 820 feet. The area about a 5-6 hour hike from the Yosemite Valley. Frankfurter on a two-month trip before joining Israel’s army. Reports now of six deaths in Yosemite the last five months.

A new law the governor’s signed means if you get an eviction notice, you have at least two more days to answer. The governor signed the bill into law last week. It means that after a landlords gives tenants three days to pay rent or leave, and another five calendar days to respond to an eviction lawsuit. The bill stops the clock on Saturday, Sunday or court holidays. Supporters say it’ll help those struggling to pay rent during the state’s housing crisis.

A Canadian company is investing in Jamaica cannabis. Weed’s been illegal in Jamaica for over 100 years until the country legalized medical pot in 2015. But the first batch of legal weed wasn’t available until February of this year. Now the Jamaica Medical Cannabis Corporation out of Canada, which exports the weed has put up $2 million with the Jamaican charitable organization the National Foundation for the Development of Science and Technology (NFDST) so they can identify and catalogue various indigenous marijuana varieties. They will apparently contact local growers and try to convince them to donate seeds to the project.

A Ukiah High School teacher’s been arrested on suspicion of annoying or molesting a teen. Police say Benjamin O’Neill was arrested Tuesday for the misdemeanor charge. The Ukiah Unified Schools Superintendent sent out a statement about O’Neill, a health occupation teacher, saying he’s been put on administrative leave while they investigate. The Ukiah Daily Journal reports a letter going out saying as a school district, their first responsibility is to protect kids in their care and if a staff member’s accused of illegal or inappropriate behavior, they conduct a thorough investigation, listening to all sides of the story and try to uncover the truth. O’Neill was booked into the Mendocino County Jail with documents showing he had posted a $7,500 bond and was released.

A man in Sonoma Valley’s found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the death of his wife who he claims abused him for years. The prosecution was going for a first-degree murder charge against Steven Rothschild for the strangulation death of his wife, Juanita at their home in Boyes Hot Springs. The jury finding Steven guilty of a lesser crime after evidence and testimony from mental health professionals at trial apparently showed Rothschild’s story of finally losing it after years of emotional abuse by his wife was true. He’ll be sentenced at the end of next month and faces up to 11 years in state prison. He would have been facing spending the rest of his life in prison for the first degree murder charge.

A trio of baby raccoons all better after being found without their mother on the side of Mill Creek Road in Ukiah. Mendocino Wildlife Association picked the babies up in May after they were found crying. The animals were brought to Sonoma Wildlife Rescue and were taken care of for three months. They were released back to the wild last week in the same spot where they were found. The Daily Journal reports the Wildlife Association is a new program to help rescue and rehab animals.

A siren test is being conducted by the Lake County Sheriff’s Office and South Lake County Fire Protection District. The test to make sure there’s a connection between the Sheriff’s Dispatch and four (4) sirens installed to advise residents of a possible coming hazard. They’ll only reschedule the test this afternoon if there’s an active response to local fires needed. The four sites are Middletown, Anderson Springs, Cobb and Loch Lomond. An activation signal is being sent to each of the sites, then someone on the other side will confirm activation. If it doesn’t signal, it will be repaired. These sirens put in to warn residents in case of emergency. The agencies encouraging residents to sign up at LakeCoAlerts & Nixle for telephone, text and e-mail alerts from the Sheriff’s Office by visiting .

New wording being considered to be including in Lakeport Unified School District non-discrimination policies. The board will consider the edits to district policies including immigration status with wording regarding ethnicity, sexual orientation, and religious beliefs. The changes in responses to a law passed last year, “Educational equity: immigration and citizenship status” saying Calif. needs to protect students and make sure regardless of immigration status, they get the education they’re entitled to free from intimidation or risk of a loss of access to resources and programs that other students enjoy. The meeting is tomorrow where other topics will be addressed to, like using Measure T funds, beginning-of-year school openings, volunteer assistance policies, and chronic absenteeism.

The bill in the legislature to address who will pay for damage after wildfires has passed and heads to the governor, with more consumer protections for homeowner insurance. The bill passed as lobbyists fought against any retroactive relief for the nearly 6,200 homeowners who lost their houses in last October’s wildfires. There was as much as $10 billion in home insurance claims related to the firestorm. The state insurance commissioner says the package of bills passed will help consumers get back on their feet. One of the bills by Sen. Bill Dodd allows policyholders to get better protection if they’ve been underinsured and had a total loss in a declared state of emergency.

A board member from the Lakeport Fire Protection District’s honored by the City Council for their service. Lake Co News reports a proclamation was also presented to the entire District for their work protecting the city and local communities from the Mendocino Complex Fires which are still burning. The fires now 98% contained. The news site reports a proclamation was presented to Lakeport Fire Protection District Board member Gerry Mills, who has served for 20 years and is now retiring. He had also been a CHP captain who was the commander of the Clear Lake office and Eureka area office before retiring. Mills says the experience he had in Lakeport was very positive and a distinct honor working with the fire dept. Then the proclamation to the entire department including a time lapse video of the fire’s movement.

A preschool in Hidden Valley Lake gets accolades. Bundle of Joy Nature Preschool got the highest rating, Tier 5, on the Quality Counts California matrix. That’s a way to check the quality of child care in California. There’s apparently never been another preschool in the county that’s received a Tier 5 rating. Last year there were eight preschools in Lake County that all got a Tier 4 rating. The ratings look at effects of the Quality Rating and Improvement System (QRIS), a voluntary statewide program Lake County started following in 2015 along with the Lake County Office of Education, or LCOE.

A new fire reported in Mendocino County has been slowed quick. Forward progress of the so-called Shimmins Fire stopped after it broke out yesterday on Highway 162. The CHP was on the scene and had closed the road at the intersection of Shimmins Ridge Road and the 101, but highway 162 was reportedly open during the incident. The fire reportedly burned at a moderate rate of spread, no reports of structures burning or injuries. The info from Mendocino Voice, with no confirmation so far from Cal Fire on the size of the fire or containment lines.

A new fire has people leaving their homes in Sacramento. The so-called Sliger Fire ignited yesterday afternoon around 3 p.m. heading up the foothill with immediate mandatory evacuation orders for some homes. The fire was first reported at 20 acres then was 70 by late last night. Firefighters have to work in rugged terrain off a rural road. Cal Fire reports the road it’s burning on, Sliger Mine Road, is narrow, only about 1 1/2 cars wide. Air tankers on another local fire were being moved to this newer fire. The fire was 20 percent contained last night.

The Alameda Police Dept. is investigating a string of attempted sex assaults. Cops say they think the attacks could be connected to one man that all happened in the last several weeks in western Alameda. One woman said a man tried to rape her at the Robert W. Crown State Beach Saturday. There was another similar incident yesterday with a man described similarly to the one Saturday. There was another attempted attack August 6th near the same area. The suspect described as a black man, about 20 to 25 years old with short curly hair, about 5’ 5’ or so, with a “thin build”.

A volunteer pilot and a mom and daughter in a small plane crash near the Palo Alto airport. The pilot killed after the single-engine Mooney M20 crashed into a pond yesterday on its way back from Redding. The pilot trying to go around the Palo Alto Airport when they crashed. The mom, Nancy Dellamaria and her 16 year old daughter Chloe went to an area hospital. The name of the pilot has not been released, but he was believed to be in his 60’s. The airplane apparently operated by a nonprofit providing free emergency medical transport for those who have serious conditions but can’t afford transport. The girl apparently had a surgery planned at a local hospital.

The governor’s got a bill on his desk regarding lawmakers being allowed to live outside the districts they represent. The Senate Bill says a lawmakers address on their voter registration would be their primary residence as long as they’ve lived at that address, but it doesn’t specify for how long. The senator who penned the bill says it’s so legislators, who have to travel and live at the capital can be effective leaders for their representative districts without fearing being targeted by overzealous prosecutors or political adversaries. Those against it say it widens the loophole for lawmakers who don’t want to live in their districts.

A discount store in Japan recalling several thousand ‘prank knives’ as they actually have real blades in them. Daiso, a chain of bargain household shops recalling the Dokkiri Cutters, which are supposed to have dulled edges and an indent to look like someone accidentally sliced their own finger. The package actually contained real utility knives and the packages made it to their shops across Japan. Some folks noticed the indentation was not there and the blades weren’t blunt, they were razor sharp.

A way to get cars to slow down thru certain neighborhoods has been approved by the Ukiah City Council. The Daily Journal reports North Coast Opportunities has a new pilot project after they visited with residents and reported findings to the Ukiah City Council about speeding in the Wagenseller and Empire Gardens neighborhoods. The newspaper reports the City Engineer saying it’s not a finished project yet and they need council input before moving all the way ahead on the project. North Coast Opportunities knocked on more than 500 household doors as part of their “Neighborhood Resiliency” program getting feedback. They’re now looking at so called “demonstration or pop-up projects” or temporary low cost solutions. The newspaper reports the goal to get feedback after the pop ups, then come up with a possible permanent solution.

The 3rd and final phase of the Rail Trail Project poised to move forward with a greenlight by the Ukiah City Council. At their meeting tomorrow, councilmembers will be asked to approve the contract to finish the project at a cost of nearly 330-thousand dollars. The last part of the project would extend the trail a quarter mile from Clara Avenue to Brush Street, add crosswalks, a couple of small parks and a new bridge over Orrs Creek. The city apparently has the money set aside thru a California Natural Resources Agency grant from its Urban Greening Program to pay for the design and construction of the project, finishing the Rail Trail to the north boundary of the city limits.

A new trail thru wine country along the Russian and Eel Rivers could mean the end of the North Coast Railroad Authority. Legislation on the Governor’s desk called “The NCRA Closure and Transition to Trails Act” easily passed the Senate Friday to transform 300 miles of unused train tracks into what would be known as “The Great Redwood Trail.” State Sen. Mike McGuire drafted the bill saying it would be the most significant step forward to change the crumbling railroad into a world class trail system. It was first introduced to totally end the North Coast Rail Authority, but they’re millions in debt. As part of the law, if the governor signs it, the Authority would be assessed as to the best way to dissolve it.

The latest on the Mendocino Complex Fire. The Ranch Fire is now at 98% contained with the last bit burning west of Stonyford near Bonnie View and Happy Camp. Firefighters are mopping up other areas and patrolling to make sure there are no more hot spots. There’s heavy equipment on the scene now repairing firelines and spreading vegetation and building water bars so there’s little erosion. They’ve already completed all this on the River Fire. Many roads that have been closed to the public remain so. Fire officials say there will continue to be smoke and haze in the skies due to several fires burning in Northern California. Lots of smoke expected in Stonyford and Elk Creek with moderate smoke in Laytonville, Potter Valley, Clear Lake communities and the Sacramento Valley.