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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

The University of California will have in person classes in the fall. The president Janet Napolitano reported yesterday all classes would be open with instruction this fall. The Cal. State Univ. system announced all online instruction in the fall. The Univ. of Calf. system reported a $1.2 billion loss due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Napolitano says she thinks most, probably all of the campuses will be in a sort of hybrid mode, a mixture of virtual and in person. The same is happening across the country as schools have high touch areas and physical distancing could be a challenge. It goes like this, lectures are moved online, and small classes and labs are held in person.

Beaches in Mendocino County and state parks have reopened for local use ahead of the Memorial Day weekend. More than 20 sites along the coastline and some inland properties have opened with restrictions in place to keep the spread of coronavirus down. The Chief Ranger of the Sonoma-Mendocino Coast District says they’re monitoring and if appears it’s becoming unsafe, without proper social distancing, or they see a potential health hazard, they’ll address it. The re-openings do include most restrooms and parking lots, but not at campgrounds, the parking however, is limited. Visitors are encouraged to walk or bike.  State parks on the Sonoma Coast remain closed.

Lake County’s moving deeper into Phase 2 of the Governor’s Roadmap to Recovery. This means this will be outdoor dining at restaurants and in person shopping allowed. The state approved the Public Health Officer’s attestation yesterday. The criteria from the state is that a County has a low rate of infection, sufficient testing capacity and the ability to trace and isolate new cases. Dr. Gary Pace spoke to the Board of Supervisors the last couple of weeks about the attestation and confirmed Monday he was applying for a variance this week. There have been 12 COVID-19 cases in the County, four are new. As far as the reopening goes, car washes, pet groomers, tanning salons, landscape gardeners and outdoor museums can also reopen and only Church offices, that’s for one-on-one religious counseling, but no services yet. Also childcare services with 10 or fewer children. Customers and employees of the businesses that reopen must wear facial coverings. After two weeks a reassessment to see if there can be indoor dining, day camps and afterschool programs to resume.

A new report from the CHP says since more people were at home, traffic accidents were also off, and so were arrests. The CHP Commissioner says people were listening to government stay at home orders for non-essential travel, so there was a significant reduction in commuters. The data from their traffic records system said there was a 75 percent decrease in crashes from March 19 to April 30 compared to a year ago. Plus records showed 88 percent less people died on the roads and 62 percent less were injured in crashes. They made 42 % less arrests for DUI, from March to April there were 4,223 in 2020, down about 3000 from the same period a year ago.

The 12th case of coronavirus has been confirmed in Lake County. The fourth this week as the county gets ready to go deeper into Phase 2 of the Governor’s 4 phase reopening plan for the state. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace says the 12th case was confirmed during community testing and contact tracing has begun to make sure it doesn’t spread into the community. He says the confirmed case is at home in isolation. Earlier in the week 2 other cases popped up, they too are at home in isolation. And the fourth new case is in a hospital in Ukiah. Only two cases needed to be hospitalized during the pandemic. Eight earlier cases have all recovered. Pace reminds that as restrictions are lifted, they expect some community spread, and reminded about the importance of social distancing and those who are vulnerable to stay at home.

The Lakeport Police Dept. beefing up patrolling after recent incidents. Lake Co News reports police say they’re seeing more DUI’s; and dangerous driving has been reported to police. They say as the County reopens after strict shelter in place orders, traffic is increasing and there’s been some poor driving on the roads and DUI crashes last weekend. The Chief reminds to drive safe and don’t endanger other people’s lives.

It’s nearly summer and with that Yosemite National Park could soon reopen, but due to the pandemic, there will be changes: visitors have to have a reservation and it will be limited to about half capacity of the past. That’s to slow the spread of coronavirus. Park officials need to get the approval of the federal government before reopening. Several other major national parks including Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, and Joshua Tree have already reopened in a limited way. Some of them don’t have lodging open and restaurants are mostly closed. Yosemite Park officials have not confirmed an exact reopening, just sometime in June, probably in coming weeks they say. There will be no shuttle buses, and visitors will be encouraged, but not required, to wear masks. Trails may be one way only and there will be signs up reminding about social distancing at nearby grocery stores and gas stations.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors says as businesses reopen they won’t be that strict about restrictions, and will be more about education. At the latest Board meeting the Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace asked for ideas about how to enforce his new public health order which allows lower-risk businesses to reopen but with written plans by business owners about how they’ll help to slow the spread of coronavirus with social distancing, disinfection and other practices. Pace supported more education for the public on how to follow the guidelines and less citations and fines. He says he’s already noted most businesses want to do the right thing, and reopen safely.

Businesses still struggling due to the pandemic are getting a helping hand from Pacific Gas and Electric Company. The Utility company is offering support to businesses dealing with financial hardship by offering temporary loan deferrals. It’s for business customers with an On-Bill Financing (OBF) loan under PG& E’s Energy Efficiency Financing program. The customers can defer the no interest loans for up to six months.  The loans have been made for business customers to trade old, worn-out equipment for energy efficient models. Those interested will get a reduction in their monthly OBF loan repayment to $0.01 during the 6-month deferral period, then the loan will just be extended six more months.

A union that represents 100,000 RN’s in Calif. is condemning a vote by a legislative committee regarding infectious diseases. The California Nurses Association’s condemnation came after the state Senate’s Labor, Public Employment, and Retirement committee said no to the bill that would have made nurses and other direct-care healthcare workers automatically eligible for workers compensation for infectious and respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. The author of the bill says it could have brought “gender and economic parity” to nurses, a female-dominated profession, given that California police officers and firefighters, male-dominated professions, already have presumptive eligibility for a whole host of illnesses and injuries.

A man in Ukiah’s been arrested after a fire was started inside the airport, damaging three cars, a motorhome and a boat. Police report they got a call to the Ukiah Municipal Airport Tuesday morning reporting they saw people running from a fenced area by the runways.  Cops say they heard noises like somebody throwing rocks against something and found a man inside the fenced area trying to pull a trash bin up a hill. 33 year old Justin Malugani covered in a white powdery substance that comes from fire extinguishers. They say they saw broken windows and he said there was a fire on the property. They searched and found cars were sprayed with the white powdery stuff. He was arrested after being found to be on probation for other fire-related incidents. He was being held on $30,000 bail.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife are making new plans for the crabfishing industry, with possible early closures. The agency says if there are too many whales and sea turtles in the Pacific Ocean, the state can close the season early. This comes after a lawsuit by an environmental group. The Center for Biological Diversity looking to avoid Dungeness crab gear entangling whales off the California coast. The public still has a month and a half to comment on the proposed regulations which come after a settlement between the agency and the environmental group to avoid humpback whales from getting caught in the gear, something they say prevents the endangered animal from recovering.

Mendocino Coast District Hospital is not taking pregnant mothers in because of coronavirus, to give birth, so Mendocino Coast Clinics has partnered with the hospital to deliver babies. The Executive Director for the Clinics says they’ve worked with the hospital for years and know they hold the same high standards, so they will take care on for mamas at 28 weeks and once the child is born, they can continue care for them at the clinics. The pregnant patients getting their prenatal care at Mendocino Coast Clinics create a birthing plan at 20 weeks’ then at 28 weeks, the plans are transferred to the hospital for delivery. The patients have to go to Willits or Ukiah for exams; but some can be done on the phone during the pandemic and deliveries take place at Adventist Health Ukiah Valley.

There’s a new website for Mendocino County after the state of California moves into Stage 2 of business reopening. In partnership with West Business Development Center businesses can use the site to make sure they’re in compliance with reopening protocols. MendocinoCountyBusiness.org has information and resources for businesses who are eligible to open in Stage 2 so they can develop a Business Reopening Plan, which is a requirement to reopen in Mendocino County using a Safe Operations Business Protocol checklist so they can follow health and safety protocols for their workplace. There are worksheets there for various business sectors, such as manufacturing, retail, childcare, construction, and others. Those are the only businesses right now who can reopen in Stage 2. Once you come up with your Reopening Plan, you can self certify it using the site and download a certificate. That gets posted at your business site.

The County also requests that business owners complete the business impact survey, which will provide information on the total dollar amount of economic impact of the pandemic crisis. The survey can be accessed at https://bit.ly/MendoBizImpact.

The County of Mendocino encourages all small businesses in the County to visit their website athttps://www.mendocinocounty.org/business/businessresourceforcovid19.

For business-related support with loans, employee relations and digital commerce, contact West Business Development Center at www.westcenter.org.

The City of Willits has announced the County was approved for reopening in Phase 2, the state has approved its attestation. So a new Shelter In Place Order should be forthcoming. We should hear more from the Public Health Office, for sure tomorrow. It generally means eligible businesses, including restaurants, can reopen deeper into Phase 2 of the Governor’s 4 phase plan, the Roadmap to Recovery. The businesses can use the new County website to self-certify. The City of Willits also says the City’s Chamber of Commerce is at the ready to help any businesses who may need help with their reopen plan. They can be reached at 459-7910. info@willits.org

Parks have been open across the state without parking so that only locals could go. Now the parking lots are starting to re-open at some parks. More than two dozen state parks and beaches in Santa Cruz, San Benito, Sonoma, Riverside and Orange counties, plus in Lake Tahoe, parking lots opened. Mostly they are only half opened to allow for social distancing and hopefully, lower capacity because of the continuing pandemic. There are 36 state parks still closed in Calif. Officials say the state reopened some lots last week in consultation with local and state health officials. They also say they think visitors won’t travel across county lines, and they’ll only visit their local parks until more restrictions can be relaxed. The state is reminding people to stay close to home to slow the spread of the virus.

Because of a loss of billions in the state budget, some healthcare benefits may be cut. The Governor had proposed expanding Medical which was cut in the 2008 recession, but now that’s probably not going to happen, in fact in the Governor’s recently released post coronavirus budget, it has cuts in services and provider rates, and rescinded expansions. There’s a cut to coverage expansion for older Californians — including undocumented seniors — and cuts for some adult dental services. It also says they want to cut payments for hearing exams, speech therapy, eyeglasses, podiatry, acupuncture, occupational and physical therapy, pharmacist services and diabetes prevention program services.

Napa is opening deeper into Phase 2 of the state’s 4 phase plan. The state has found the County met the attestation benchmarks. That means there’s a low case count of COVID-19, expanded testing and evidence a county has the necessary infrastructure to detect and safely isolate new cases. Napa has recorded 92 cases, with half still active. They’ve lost three residents to the disease, the most recent death was May 10th. They can reopen schools, and businesses with social distancing in place, but wineries and tasting rooms are still closed. Residents are still being told to stay home unless they can maintain social distancing while participating in allowed activities

A 15th case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in Mendocino County. The Public Health Office released the news on their Facebook page late last night with little information. The post says the infected person is a man between 35 and 49 years of age from the Ukiah Valley, and in isolation. They go on to say they’re investigating the source of the infection and are performing contact tracing. As far as the recent case of a traveler nurse in Fort Bragg, more tests were performed and the hospital reports no other cases have been found so far. Mendocino Coast District Hospital reports no evidence of community spread of COVID-19 after testing more than 150 people. 14 tests are still pending.

Another case of COVID- 19 in Mendocino County has been announced and now much more testing was made available. Not a lot of info except it’s a man between 35-49 years old in the Ukiah Valley in isolation. Now even more at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds in Ukiah. The OptumServe machine will start next week. The Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo reported yesterday at the latest Virtual Board of Supervisors meeting the testing will happen for the public Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. First responders will get the first set of appointments in the morning, followed by emergency operations staff, and departmental response staff, then the public will get access in the afternoon. There will be a website up soon for appointments to be made, plus a phone number for those without access. The City of Ukiah is also offering free, drive-thru testing at Mendocino College.

Sherwood Firewise has their meeting regarding fire safety in Brooktrails online. It’s fire season already. The group met last Thursday over Zoom and more than 2 dozen residents were online discussing the past and future of fire safety. They discussed SafetyNet, a local incident notification system, where residents can register online for emergency notifications. They’re also getting address signs which have been approved by CAL FIRE so they can be found in the case of a fire. The area was also recently awarded a $12,000 grant from North Coast Opportunities so they can get a paid part-time Program Coordinator and another $70,000 grant for Roadside Fuel Reduction and Chipper Days. And the group also won a third grant of $500 for Firewise work.

Schools in Lakeport are going to continue providing free meals for kids under 18 until at least the end of June. The Record Bee reports the School District has been offering meals since the stay home order was issued by the governor’s office. Before the outbreak there had been free or reduced priced meals for students in this program, but now they are all free whether they’re enrolled in a local school or not, no questions asked. The U.S.D.A. is helping kids across the country during the pandemic, just last Friday there was an announcement of extensions of waivers so food programs could continue into summer.

Mendocino County is not getting a new Public Health Officer after all. The Board of Supervisors reportedly decide against hiring Dr. Joseph Iser in a closed door session yesterday. The Mendocino Voice reports the County instead will look to the state for help and potentially extend or modify the current public health officer, Dr. Noemi Doohan’s role even though she moved to San Diego and has been working remotely. Iser looked to be a shoe-in, but apparently there was concern about why he left previous positions, reputation and press reports there had been problems with the doctor at his last job in Nevada. The Board made the announcement last night in public session and directed the CEO to ask the state for mutual aid.

Lakeport will approve the sale of safe and sane fireworks but there will be no fireworks display. The City Council voted against the annual celebration but agreed fireworks could be sold the first week of July. The City Manager asked the Council about the matter, there are normally a handful of nonprofits that sell the safe and sane fireworks, the only kind allowed in the city. The City Manager says the approvals would be contingent on the current health crisis. At the same time reports that the Lake County Public Health Office has approved a social distancing plan for the sale of the fireworks.

The work is nearly done on improvements at Library Park in Lakeport after the seawall came down in flooding. The park should be all the way open by the beginning of June as stay home orders are lifted in the County. Lake County News reports the $800,000 dollar project was done by a contractor out of Oregon. And the final work by another company for the promenade for an additional $400,000.  The City Council has accepted the final construction and authorized filing a notice of completion.

A Middletown High School Senior has been chosen for a scholarship from Mediacom Communications. The $1,000 to Alessandra Diaz recognizing a student for outstanding leadership and academic accomplishments. They pick 60 graduating seniors each year for the scholarships to support their post-secondary education. It’s the 19th year they’ve funded the World Class Scholarships for students in areas served by the cable and broadband company. About 1,200 students usually apply for the scholarships each year. Those who win have to go to an accredited two-year or four-year college, university or technical school within the United States.

Ukiah’s got its community testing site set up after the Governor announced more than 80 new COVID-19 community testing sites coming across the state for underserved communities. The site at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds. More details released today that it will be situated in the Carl Purdy Hall and starts this Saturday. The testing this Saturday from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm. Tuesdays – Saturdays after that from 12:30 pm – 7:00 pm. As we previously reported, this is through a partnership with OptumServe. It’s by appointment only. The Mendocino County CEO thanked Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood for their help making it happen.

Mendocino College doing their best to bring their 2020 graduates a commencement to remember. It was supposed to be in person Friday, but then a survey went out to graduating students about what they wanted instead, due to the pandemic. They all said they wanted to postpone and not have a virtual ceremony. The Mendocino College Foundation is gifting each student with a $50 dinner voucher to be used Friday at a local restaurant so they can still celebrate on the actual day of graduation. The Foundation also put up money so banners could hang in the district, including over State Street in downtown Ukiah and yard signs for students.

An 11th case of COVID-19 has been reported in Lake County. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace reported the positive test was confirmed thru one of the County clinics. The infected person is reported to be stable at home and isolating and they’re conducting contact tracing. It’s the third case in less than a week. Two others were from the Redwood Valley church service on Mother’s Day, where Mendocino County also got its fourth case. It comes as both counties have reported they intend to apply for attestation with the state to reopen deeper into Phase 2 of the Governor’s 4 phase plan to reopen non-essential businesses.

 

Dr. Doohan, the Mendocino County Health Officer says they’re doing surveillance testing after the cases in Covelo with 1191 tests altogether, 270 pending, 152 negative, 2 positives. The Attestation paperwork is done, and the state gave a positive review. It goes 2 weeks, then they have another attestation to send to the state. The business community will be reopening in phase 2. As we reported with the so-called social bubbles for families and children to attend day care and work units at places of business that has a hard time with virtual work off site. Graduation Day is coming and graduations will be done in processionals in cars.

The state is allowing more lenience for counties to move faster into attestation, a process where the County Health Officer attests they meet several benchmarks to reopen, in phases. The California Department of Public Health has started to accept new variance requests this week because of the capacity across the state and in local jurisdictions for hospital preparedness and stability. The new attestation allows counties to move thru state 2 at their own pace, but they have to attest to the state that hospitalization and test positivity rates are stable or going down, are prepared with testing, contact tracing, personal protective equipment and for a possible hospital surge; and have adequate plans related to county-wide containment. The Gov. says it’s because Californians have done incredible work flattening the curve and slowing the spread of COVID-19

Lake County’s Public Health Officer says he’s drafted the local variance to show to the Board of Supervisors so they can reopen some businesses with restrictions and according to the state’s guidelines. The businesses that reopen would be low risk. Dr. Gary Pace says there have already been meetings with State Public Health Officials and he feels confident the plan will be approved. Some of the items include daycare openings with ten children or fewer with proper precautions and disinfection, outdoor dining at restaurants, but no gaming areas or bars, and with limited seating to promote social distancing and other precautions, other low risk businesses like car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening, outdoor museums and open gallery spaces. Masks will be required in all businesses except for people with breathing issues in a facial covering and with a note from the doctor. Each 2 week period there will be a reassessment.

A large party in Covelo busted up after an altercation. Police say several females gathered for a party and one was hit with a baseball bat, then some shots were fired soon after. Deputies reported to the home early Sunday morning finding a 55 year old man had been shot, and a 21 year old woman was hit with the bat. The female victim was uncooperative, and the man was unable due to his injuries. They were taken to a hospital. Deputies had spoken to other people there who said several family members were together and several females got into an altercation. When other relatives got involved shots were fired, but nobody said who shot the weapon. No arrests were made.

Two men are recovering and one died after a stabbing attack in Fort Bragg. Police say they don’t have a suspect in the attack. A 32 year old man died and the other two victims were 22 and 23 years old. They say it happened in Noyo Harbor, or possibly just outside the city limits. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call to a home, but it was empty. The three victims had already been taken to a hospital. California Department of Justice crime lab team members from Eureka were headed to Fort Bragg to help with the investigation. They had also scheduled an autopsy for tomorrow.

The name of a church has been revealed where at least three people have tested positive after a Mother’s Day service. The service was attended by few, and was streamed online, with singing. It turned out the 14th case of Covid-19 in Mendocino County and 2 cases in Lake County. The Public Health Dept. is asking anyone who was either at the church service at Redwood Valley Assembly of God or in contact with anyone who was, to come forward to be tested. Public Health has announced free testing in Redwood Valley today at Eagle Peak Middle School until 2:00 pm and at Mendocino College, just outside Ukiah, until all of the tests are gone. The health dept. says there were only three people there, the pastor, Jack McMilin who lives in Lucerne, a female singer and whoever was filming. The three are all now infected. The pastor is in the hospital at Ukiah Valley Medical Center. In the online service, it looks like the singer was separated from each of them with more than six feet of space.

If you have to go to the dentist and find yours has not opened due to coronavirus, you’re in luck, in the case of an emergency. Mendocino Community Health Clinics (MCHC) in Ukiah, Willits, and Lakeport have emergency availability. The Mendocino Voice reports other dental clinics are also open for emergencies and if you’re in need of essential follow up care. There’s also the possibility of seeing a dentist thru tele-health, if you can believe it. The stay home order closed dental offices across the state or reduced their services for emergencies only. The news site reports many closed to avoid the use of personal protective equipment which was in desperate need for front line workers across the country during the pandemic. Community Health said they already had all of their employees coming in daily and they were using personal protective equipment. So they just added emergency dental care for other dentists’ patients, because it was the right thing to do.

The Lakeport Speedway got the go-ahead for a “test and tune”. This Saturday, May 23rd and Sunday, May 24th, the Public Health Officer gave the green light for practice from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. And the events will be sanctioned by the Northern California Racing Association. There are some restrictions, including signing a standard waiver and another Covid-19 related waiver, teams will pit 10 feet apart, pit crews are not allowed to comingle, those in attendance have to stay in their pit area and adhere to social distancing requirements, and there will be those allowed in the spectator area. No more than 3 cars on the track at a time. There are no grandstands and concessions will be closed to spectators. The Public Health Office says they’ll monitor to make sure there’s compliance so more events like this could be considered in the future.

The proposed urgency ordinance on a moratorium on industrial hemp will be considered again by the Clearlake City Council. The council meeting online again due to the County’s Shelter in Place order. Emailed comments and questions are being accepted and the virtual meeting will stream live on Lake County PEG TV’s YouTube Channel. The questions will be read aloud by the mayor or a staff member. The emergency ordinance is being considered again because the pandemic did not allow city leaders to consider whether industrial hemp cultivation should be regulated by the City or not. Staff is therefore recommending the City extend again for ten and a half more months.

The first death from COVID-19 has been announced in Humboldt County.  Kym Kemp reporting the resident of Alder Bay Assisted Living died over the weekend at a hospital. The County had just applied for a variance, attesting there had been no deaths in recent days.  The County may have to wait a couple weeks before getting that variance now. There had been 22 new cases in the last 2 weeks as well. The County Health Officer had sent in the attestation that the County had met or exceeded the Governor’s guidelines this month. The death was a 97 year old woman.

Police in Fort Bragg updating a cold case disappearance. Police say family members called to report Michael Miller was missing one year ago on May 15th. They say Miller was on parole and was listed as a missing person in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. They say he has an active felony warrant and if you see him, to call police immediately and not to contact him. The last he was heard of was on the phone from the Hospitality House. He also had not accessed his bank account since about that time. His family says before this contact, the last time they spoke to him was in November of 2018. They say from November 2018 to January 2019 they think he was with friends or camping in Fort Bragg. They say he could be in Ukiah, Nevada, or Montana and they thought he might have been at the Ukiah winter shelter. He responds to the name “Chico” and the last time family saw him they say he weighed between 140-150 lbs. He’s 5’08” tall with brown hair and brown eyes with multiple upper body tattoos.

Similar to the latest micro break out from Mendocino County where people at a church service have tested positive. A similar case in Butte County, also on Mother’s Day. One person tested positive after 180 people went to church service. The positive test came back the next day. The public health dept. in Butte County issued a statement warning people not to gather, saying that could cause a major setback and close the county down again. Butte being one of 22 counties who received variances to open sooner than most. Health officials doing contact tracing to let everyone who was at the church service know so they can self-quarantine. They’re also working with local healthcare partners to get tests for all attendees.

Two new cases of coronavirus in Lake County and one in Mendocino County all three believed to have been due to a church service Mother’s Day.  The Lake County and Mendocino County Public Health Officers out with information about the outbreak. A 14th case in Mendocino County Friday night led to an investigation into its origin. Contact tracing started immediately to make sure asymptomatic contacts were quarantined and symptomatic contacts were tested and isolated. The case in Mendocino is an elderly man in Ukiah who had reportedly been in close contact with two people in Lake County who were diagnosed with COVID-19 on Saturday. The three people apparently at an inland Mendocino County church where a virtual service was also attended by some in person. There was singing at the church. Both public health departments are trying to find anyone else who may have either also been there, or been in contact with the three cases. One of the Lake County residents now in the hospital here in Ukiah. The other two cases are isolating at home. Mendocino’s Health Officer says they’re trying to talk the church leaders into revealing the name of the Church so anyone else who may have been in contact with anyone there can be contacted and possibly tested. The office didn’t say what precautions may have been taken for singing at the Mother’s Day service, but did remind there should be plexiglass between the singers and physical distancing.

The Governor announcing low risk workplaces could open in Phase 2 of the 4 stage plan to reopen the state. But in Lake County, the current changes are staying until the Board of Supervisors hears from the Public Health Officer about opening any sooner. Waterways are open with social distancing, low risk retail is open for phone and online purchases and curbside pickup. This follows the state order for reopening. Later phases of Stage 2 include shopping malls and swap meets, personal services, limited to: car washes, pet grooming, tanning facilities, and landscape gardening, dine in restaurants, no bars, outdoor museums and open gallery places, government offices that were deemed non-essential and some children’s activities and childcare. Lake County is asking for a  local variance to the state’s orders. Dr. Pace says if approved, the first day of new openings wouldn’t happen before the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend.

The Shelter in Place order in Mendocino County has been revised to match modifications allowed by Governor Newsom’s Stay-At-Home Order. The new order went into effect Friday and will not be amended until June 8th.  Now limited group activities can start with groups of no more than 12 referred to as a “Social Bubble” from either a Household Support Unit, a Childcare Unit, or a Children’s Extracurricular Activity Unit. This means there can be an interdependence of people in smaller rural communities like seeing family from other homes, helping with carpooling, childcare, recreation, religious services, etc. There is no need within the Social Bubbles for social distancing during activities permitted in the order but following other restrictions like staying home while sick and obeying quarantine and isolation orders. The Social Bubble units are separate, so you can only be part of one. Other changes include outdoor museums, galleries and botanical gardens can open, landscapers, gardening services, some limited services that can maintain social distancing like laundromats, dry cleaners, car repair shops, car washes, pet groomers, and dog walking. Business where telework is not possible, consider Work Groups, like a Social Bubble, where groups of 12 work together for four weeks at a time. There are more orders on the Health Officer’s website.

The Health Order and a summary of the major changes are available online at https://www.mendocinocounty.org/community/novel-coronavirus/health-orderThe order is enforceable by imprisonment and/or fine thus we urge all residents to closely read the order and follow it.

A protest at the Mendocino County Courthouse, like many in America, wanting to reopen their businesses. The Daily Journal reports the protest in Ukiah Friday ahead of the Public Health Officer’s announcement about new allowances made to her Shelter in Place order. The County, Dr. Doohan says will not immediately apply for a variance or what’s being called “Attestation” where the County can verify it can meet the required readiness criteria, low number of COVID-19 cases, adequate protection for essential workers, hospital readiness for a possible surge in cases and testing capacity. Dr. Doohan says they’re already working on it…

Dr. Doohan says she was surprised at at least one Board Supervisor saying he wished she would move faster. She says she’s allowed a significant amount of limited reopening and wants to see what effect is before moving deeper into Phase 2 of the Governor’s 4 phase plan. Dr. Doohan says she’s working as quickly as possible to get the attestation done so the County can move into Phase 2 by this Friday. However that was before the new case popped up in Ukiah connected to a church in Mendocino County… and two Lake County cases linked to the same Church, with one of the infected now in the hospital in Ukiah.

The remainder of Low Gap Park has reopened to the community. So the Ukiah Skate Park has also reopened. Restrooms, tennis courts and the playground at the entrance are still closed, but you can now park at the park in the lot. Dog parks are still closed, but hiking trailers and disc golf are allowed once again. The Skate park is only open Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. with a city employee keeping capacity at only 12 at a time with proper physical distancing.

A man in Fort Bragg has been arrested after an unrelated burglary call from Point Arena. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports while investigating they found a person of interest in Terry Kelly who they say was on active felony probation in Amador County. He was found parked after reports of a stranded driver in Fort Bragg. His car found packed with miscellaneous property so he was searched. There cops found packaged, unopened consumer goods which they say had recently been stolen from an Amazon Fulfillment Warehouse. They also found he had stolen a dump truck trailer parked in Irish Beach, in Manchester. He was then arrested for possession of stolen property and booked, but released with zero bail due to the pandemic.

Many people in Calif. for filed for unemployment have still not received benefits. People in Southern Calif. have been told their debit card is in the mail. Apparently the Employment Development Department has been only using EDD debit cards. So if you didn’t get one, but have within the last three years, you would just get that reloaded. New debit cards that went out but expired will get a new one. A new report has some people applying the end of March and still not getting any money from the state. The EDD released a statement saying there may be a many different reasons someone had their payment delayed and are best mitigated by the unemployment claims analysts.

The Sonoma County Health Officer is coming up with that County’s reopening plan to loosen restrictions due to the pandemic. But Dr. Sundari Mase says the plans need to be approved by the state. The plan has not been made public or whether she would apply for a variance or attestation. The Board of Supervisors is asking Dr. Mase to draft a waiver. During a press conference on Friday, she said she’s not necessarily seeking a variance, but instead a phased reopening plan, tailored to that county and getting guidance from the state.  There was a new health order announced Friday though with certain businesses being allowed to reopen, Mendocino County is following closely, including pet groomers, dog walking services and car washes, laundromats, dry cleaners, car repair shops and landscapers.

 

The Sheriff’s Office reports an investigation of a burglary turns up a dump trailer they say was not connected, but also suspicious. The trailer found in the 44000 block of Pomo Lake Circle in Irish Beach. They say it was probably stolen, but they’re not sure who owns it to begin with. They’ve posted a picture on the Sheriff’s Facebook page asking for the public’s’ help. They say it may have been taken from Airport Road in Fort Bragg, but they don’t know an exact time. It was recently spray-painted so any identifying marks were hard to see or totally removed. They ask if you know who may own the trailer to call the Sheriff’s office.

A limited reopening for some Mendocino County Parks, but of course there are many public health requirements in place. Social distancing must be followed. Some city and state parks have also started a limited re-opening today. Also the Mendocino County library has opened branches with limited curbside service. And the Mendocino National Forest has begun some reopening of campgrounds and other areas tomorrow with social distancing restrictions as well. The Mendocino National Forest will has released a list of all parks that are opening, you can check their website for those.

The state has passed 75,000 Covid-19 cases as the state eases some of the stay-at-home restrictions. There have also been more than 3,000 deaths and more than ½ are in Los Angeles County. There are some stricter rules in place there like mandatory face coverings while outdoors except on the water or if there is nobody nearby. Many rural areas have not really been affected. Almost 30% of counties have been certified they have contained the spread of the virus so they can begin opening restaurants to dine-in service, plus shopping malls and other businesses with certain regulations.

A bunch of people in Ukiah celebrate their neighbor on his 94th birthday, with a  drive by parade.  Al Bascou turned 94 May 11th, so the Early Iron Car Club of Ukiah got to work. Because of COVID-19 restrictions, they couldn’t do an in person party. On Facebook they went, and people responded, they too wanted to participate…The birthday boy living at Mountain View Care Home now was walked to the sidewalk with a few friends and watched. A car enthusiast and former firefighter, with family in Ukiah.

The Lake County Public Health Officer reminding that the County is not reopened all the way and they stay aligned with the Governor’s stay at home order until further notice. There is pickup at retail businesses and restaurants, the Lake is open with social distancing restrictions. The County has started the process of applying for a variance so they can move into later phases of Stage 2. As we reported yesterday there are benchmarks to meet like tests per day, deaths, and preparedness for a surge. The Public Health Officer says he wants to wait to make sure there’s no surge in cases since Clear Lake was reopened. The proposal for the accelerated reopening is being actively developed this week with the final plan to go to the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

The Public Health Officer in Lake County says the first day of new openings looks to be the Tuesday after the Memorial Day weekend with a partial re-opening of businesses, and the full opening of Stage 2-approved businesses no sooner than two weeks after that to be sure there is not a surge in cases. There are already about 20 counties across the state in the accelerated reopening phase but Dr. Pace says there are counties just next door with active new cases.  Sonoma and Napa, which both had a COVID-related death this week. He says with travel between the counties for work and shopping very common, we need to be careful not to allow the virus to get a firm foothold and start spreading throughout Lake County.

A new mobile Covid-19 testing site is now in Lake County. The Lake County Public Health Officer has announced Verily’s Project Baseline arrived in Lake County this week. And residents can make an appointment for testing as the mobile site travels thru the county. You can visit a website and be screened to see if you’re eligible, based on certain public health guidelines. Those being tested must be at least 18 years old. If you are eligible, you must make an appointment, you can’t just show up. After you’re screened and if you become eligible, they will tell you where to access the site. Appointments are made 48 hours in advance, Monday-Friday with results usually returned in 2-5 days.

For more information on Project Baseline, please  www.projectbaseline.com/COVID19.

The Community Foundation of Mendocino County is offering Zoom accounts for those who cannot afford it. The program made possible thanks to a grant from the Rebuild Northbay Foundation. If you’d like to use Zoom to teach a class or connect with family and friends, there’s a monthly fee, to attend class or join another person’s Zoom meeting it is free. It’s like Skype, Facetime, Go To Meeting or Web Ex where you can have face to face meetings. These scholarships by the Community Foundation offer one year of Zoom service for free. The grant worth $5,000 for Zoom subscriptions during the Covid-19 pandemic offered on a first come, first serve basis.

The Governor has released his new budget and gone is money to help homeowners pay to retrofit older homes in high risk fire zones. There had been $101 million set aside, but the coronavirus pandemic has left the state with a giant budget gap, so the program is dead for now. The Governor says the deficit has hit an estimated $54 billion so the state cannot expand programs during the COVID-19 Recession. The state was supposed to put up $26 million and the rest would come from the federal government. The new budget does still have $200 million set aside for Cal Fire and the Office of Emergency Services as was proposed in January.

The US Army Corp of Engineers reports day-use facilities at Lake Mendocino won’t open until after Memorial Day. The Lake Mendocino Supervisory Park Ranger says the South Boat Ramp and some nearby parking will open Tuesday, May 26th and the water will be open for boating, but high touch areas and the campgrounds will stay closed for now. She goes on to say there probably will be no camping at all this summer. Hiking trails will also have to wait until after Memorial Day but nearby parking will be closed. Same for disc golfing, after Memorial Day. But Lake Sonoma will start to open this weekend and Clear Lake opened last weekend.

Out of towners descend on Clear Lake taking their boats onto the water even though it’s supposed to only be open to locals. The lake reopened last weekend. The Lake County Water Resources Director says monitors at the boat ramps looking for possible Quagga Mussels count who enters and found 252 resident boaters and 36 non-residents. The lake had been closed for seven weeks to help slow the spread of coronavirus. It was partially reopened last month to locals to fish from the shore and boats without motors could launch by hand. The Lake County Public Health Officer said in his most recent shelter in place order on the reopening of the lake, that it was for Locals only and that “Non-Essential Travel Remains Restricted.”

The graduation for Woodland Community College will be virtual. The virtual ceremony is today. The College President says because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the event would be online and says normally there are multiple celebrations at the end of the academic year, but because that can’t happen he’s congratulating the 2020 graduating class for their tenacity to finish. The community is invited to watch the video on the college website. The keynote is on Empowerment.

Many organizations are giving grants and loans to small businesses because of the pandemic, the Mendocino Voice is one. The news site reports getting a Facebook Community Journalism Fund grant for $100,000. The grant was awarded to 144 local news organizations. They had more than 2,000 applicants. The news site reports the money will help them expand staffing and coverage, improve their website and help them find new ways to connect with their readers. The grants were selected by the Local Media Association, the Lenfest Institute for Journalism and other news organizations.

A woman from Fort Bragg has been sent to jail for embezzling cash from a veterinary office where she used to work. The DA’s office reports Tantah Anna Karst got one year behind bars for stealing more than $138,000 from Coast Veterinary Clinic between 2017 and 19. She pleaded guilty to felony embezzlement and a sentencing enhancement for committing serial white collar crimes, plus several misdemeanor weapons charges. While cops investigated they found her in possession of metal knuckles, nunchaku, a switchblade knife, and a collapsible baton. She first got 52 months but it was suspended for supervised probation of 5 years instead, but she has to serve the year in jail. Since she got credit, it’s actually only 6 months. She also has to pay restitution of $1,000 per month or head back to jail.

Bar and restaurant regulators in California say they should get emergency powers to start to come down on businesses who are not following the rules to slow the spread of the coronavirus. The Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control says because some businesses are seeing a probable final closure coming they don’t have any incentive to do what’s right, and follow the rules. So proposed new restrictions for those who don’t abide would allow the Dept. to immediately, but temporarily suspend or limit the alcohol licenses for a restaurant or bar. Right now businesses can stay open as they appeal sanctions, the department says, that amounts to profiting with absolute disregard for the law, something they’re seeking to fix. It comes after many counties in the state opened before the official stay home orders moved into phase 2, allowing opening restaurants and bars.  The Dept. reports contacting more than 100 licensees in 43 of the state’s 58 counties with three disciplinary actions as investigations continue.

The Gov. Gavin Newsom cautioning allowing certain counties the ability to reopen sooner than the rest of the state because it would attract visitors from other areas that have more restrictive measures still in place. Newsom saying that would defeat the purpose of the cautionary approach and calls it a major challenge. He says people from still closed communities rushing into a more dense urban environment then returning to their community would be a bad idea. The reopened counties are mostly rural and in Northern Calif. Approvals for variances for the counties include that they’ve had no deaths in the past two weeks and minimal new cases, meet certain testing criteria and hospital capacity in case of a surge and a plan for the homeless. Then they can allow dining at restaurants with strict protocols, manufacturing, construction and retail. But opening churches, hair and nail salons, gyms and concert venues not allowed yet. Four of the largest counties, San Diego, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino don’t meet the requirements, but have requested a meeting with the Governor to discuss each of their unique situations.

The working group trying to buy the hydro-electric plant in Lake County from PG&E has put its plans together including a removal of the Scott Dam. The Potter Valley Project left by PG&E during its bankruptcy proceedings with a group of five picking up the ball to buy the small hydroelectric plant and a diversion system from the Eel River to the Russian River basin where it feeds agricultural and other irrigation systems in Mendocino, Sonoma and Marin Counties. The Scott Dam feeds the reservoir also known as Lake Pillsbury, which would run dry under the plan. But a second dam would be modified for fish passage and other modifications like restoring the Scott Dam are included. The “Two-Basin Partnership” plan has to be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The Lakeport Unified School District Board hears a dire prediction about the budget during the latest school board meeting. A $1.5 million budget deficit is possible but not until the end of 2023. But another projection shows as much as $4.5 million during the same time. The Chief Business Official with the presentation last night during the online meeting showing the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the district. She also says she thinks many school districts across the state will be filing a negative budget in June, and that there’s no assurance the state will put forth more money. The Governor’s new budget should be released today.

Both Mendocino and Lake counties are getting more COVID-19 testing sites. As reported yesterday we’re getting another site to meet criteria needed to reopen the economy. In Mendocino County, the Ukiah drive thru site has opened for tests, but not for the general public and in Lake County one is supposed to open today. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says we need more testing in case of a spike which could negatively impact our local healthcare system. Dr. Doohan says expanded tests are crucial for the entire North Coast because of how close they are to more densely populated areas with higher numbers of coronavirus cases. Right now Mendocino County is going about 30 tests a day, but in order to reopen we need to be at 135 a day. Lake County is getting a mobile testing center to hit about 100 tests/day.

Mendocino County has launched a drive thru testing site. It’s in Ukiah with three paramedics. Volunteers from North Coast Opportunities were there with personnel from Adventist Health Ukiah Valley for the first day of drive thrus on Tuesday. 68 people came for testing Tuesday, the first people tested were City employees including cops, firefighters and other essential workers, and after that Ukiah Unified School District employees. The general public has not been able to get the tests yet as the city is doing a trial run first. The samples are going to the University of California, San Francisco. The City Manager says they’re hoping to show they can do the testing efficiently before they open it up to the public.

California Community Colleges going to court to get some of the money from the federal government for emergency student aid due to coronavirus. In a lawsuit filed Monday, the colleges say the US education department put arbitrary restrictions on the aid from Congress, including preventing undocumented students and students who are part of the DACA program, from getting any of the money from the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act. The court papers say the Department of Education ignored the intent of the Act for local colleges to decide on the aid students affected by the pandemic would get. But instead as many as 800,000 community college students won’t be able to tap the funds.

The Sheriff reports getting a bunch of calls about people growing illegal marijuana on the Round Valley Reservation… The Sheriff went on to his Facebook page to say they visited tribal land again with a search warrant.

The Sheriff says drug trafficking organizations are running certain grow sites. He says the organizations leave toxic waste lands behind after they’re done growing. The Sheriff says he also got a tip there could be human trafficking.

He also encouraged people on illegal grows, to go thru the proper channels and grow legally.

Some hotel operators say their refusal for travelers to use their business or having to cancel reservations has led to hostility towards them. The Daily Journal reports the owner of the Emerald Dolphin Inn says they’ve been yelled at and cussed at. No fault of their own, the hotels had to close to essential travel only due to the pandemic and state shelter in place orders. One of the owners of Harbor Lite Lodge in Fort Bragg tells the newspaper they’ve lost a lot of business but they’re getting some lodgers like pharmacists, truck drivers, construction workers and long term residents.

After we reported seven California counties have been able to reopen more into Phase 2, now we hear about several more. Lake Co News reports almost 20 California counties have received variances for reopening after meeting certain criteria laid out by the state. The news site reports the Lake County Public Health Officer was bringing a variance plan to the Board of Supervisors next week so it can be sent to the State for approval. State officials say the cautious approach is to slow the spread of coronavirus. That includes curbing nonessential travel from areas with a higher concentration of cases to other jurisdictions with less confirmed cases, and not allowing the opening of places where there is high tough or close contact with others.

The state has canceled Lake County’s planned tax-defaulted land sale that had been scheduled this month. The Lake County Treasurer-Tax Collector Barbara Ringen had been pressured to hold more of these sales and was at battle with the City of Clearlake. Now she tells the Board of Supervisors the State Controller’s Office had “strongly recommended” county tax collectors to postpone or cancel such sales during the pandemic until receiving further guidance. So Tax Defaulted Land Sale 157 is canceled due to the shelter in place order by the Governor related to the COVID-19 outbreak. Ringen told the Board she’s planning to reschedule the sale for October and will report back when she has a date certain to get the Board’s approval.

Redwood Empire Food Bank reaching out for help during the pandemic. It’s reported to be the biggest hunger-relief organization serving the north coast. They say there’s been a spike of need due to the amount of people who have lost their jobs due to Covid-19. The CEO of the Food Bank says there’s now a food crisis. Some of their partner organizations have been forced to close or curb their offerings so they have been inundated. They have seen double of the amount of people they normally serve. The Food Bank is looking for donations, volunteers and money. The money helps them buy more food, pay staff, pay to gas up their trucks and pay their energy bills. They say right now the most needed items are Canned Tuna and Meat, Peanut Butter, Canned Soups, Stews, and Chili, Rice and Dry Beans, Cereal, Canned Fruits and Vegetables, High Protein Granola Bars, Trail Mix or Nuts.

Donations can be made through the Redwood Empire Food Bank’s website at www.refb.org.  Anyone seeking food assistance can call the Redwood Empire Food Bank Food Connections Office at 707-523-7903 or visit http://getfood.refb.org .

A new testing site coming to Mendocino County for Covid-19. The Mendocino Voice reports it will be OptumServe testing and will come to the County within the next two to three weeks so we should be able to meet the governor’s standard of daily tests. The Mendocino County CEO Carmel Angelo will oversee the new state sponsored testing site. The Governor named Lake and Mendocino counties as areas where it’s hard to get a test but that it would soon change. As we reported earlier State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood reported working on getting the testing site to the area and Supervisor Ted Williams confirmed the same. There was also a tweet that went out last night from the County thanking the lawmakers. Mendocino will soon meet all criteria, because of the new testing site to conduct the required quantity of tests to reopen the County further into stage 2 of the 4 phase plan.

PG&E has been sending drones overhead to search for problems with their electrical transmission lines ahead of fire season. They are also conducting routine maintenance, and added more inspections on electrical and natural gas infrastructure with helicopters too. They’re flying the drones and helicopters around Mendocino and Humboldt counties in Tier 3 wildfire risk areas, and about 30% of the lines in Tier 2 risk areas, including Mendocino County, “along the coast from Fort Bragg to Elk, Potter Valley to Willits, Konocti to Middletown, Mendocino to Philo, Hopland and Ukiah” and from Garberville to Laytonville. The inspections are ongoing over several weeks to protect grid safety and reliability and for more vegetation management and system-hardening.

Two North Coast lawmakers working to get coronavirus testing nearby. State Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblymember Jim Wood working with Mendocino County and the California Department of Public Health for a state testing site but they have not said where, just that it will be in the County. Wood says he’s been working overtime to make it happen as there are no testing sites anywhere in Rural Calif. The Board of Supervisors thanking both legislators, the County CEO and the Public Health Officer and others in the Public Health Office for their work to get access to testing for residents. CEO Angelo thanked the two lawmakers as well at the Supervisors meeting yesterday and residents for being part of the solution.

The California State University system says there will be no in-person classes in the fall. The 23 campuses across the state will be mostly online, but there may be limited exceptions for in person instruction. The announcement the same day as a US Senate panel heard from the country’s top infectious disease doctor on the coronavirus pandemic and that sadly, he said, there would be no vaccine or approved treatment for the virus before school starts in the fall.

As the Governor announced new shelter in place orders allowing for some businesses to reopen, Lake County may be joining a group of seven other Counties who’ve been given variances. The Gov. revised his order last week so that retailers, manufacturers and construction companies could resume in some fashion. There’s a four stage process for reopening and those at lower risk have been given the green light. The Lake County Board of Supervisors heard yesterday from the public health officer and the health services director on what the County has to do to meet the requirements for a broader reopening. That includes less than one COVID-19 case per 10,000 residents and no deaths in the past two weeks, both Lake County has. They also need to show how they could handle a spike in cases and temporary shelter plans for the homeless among other plans. So the health officer and staff from the Health Services Dept. are working on a plan to send to the state for an accelerated reopening.

The Governor’s office has announced they’ve conducted a million coronavirus tests. Gov. Newsom’s office says there have been more than a million diagnostic tests across the state, after setting a goal last month for 25,000 tests a day by the end of April – and reports now say they’ve hit more than 35,000 in the last few days. The Governor has said the more testing is important as the stay at home orders are loosened. He also announced more than 80 new testing sites in under-served communities and that pharmacies across the state would soon be testing sites too. The State Board of Pharmacy is giving permission to pharmacists so they can collect specimens for COVID-19 tests and order tests for consumers.

A man has been arrested after several fires last week. Police say 26 year old Frederick LJ Fitch was arrested last week for several fires set in the south end of Ukiah. Five were set in two spots, one behind the Furniture Design Center on Airport Park Boulevard, and four more in brush along the railroad tracks. The man was seen by a witness and on surveillance footage and found later with a machete and knife in his possession. He was then arrested but qualified for bail even though he was on probation due to the state’s order during the pandemic. Police say the fires were set intentionally using a propane tank and torch that were found in the man’s backpack. His bail was set at $60,000.

The Governor has announced some businesses can reopen with restrictions. The offices that can reopen have to follow physical distancing and other guidelines. He’s allowing strip malls and outlets to reopen for pickup only and pet grooming and car washing businesses.

The Ukiah Planning Commission has another hearing for a proposed cannabis dispensary on North State Street. The virtual Planning Commission today was put on hold after a planning staffer was told there might be a school nearby. Planning staff were supposed to investigate if it was just a school office or if they were conducting classes at the “Academic Success Center” for Native American students in the Ukiah Unified School District to go for college and career counseling advice and academic tutoring. The staff found that it was not a school per se under city code, or the state’s educational code, so it wouldn’t stop a proposed dispensary from operating.

A couple of large marijuana farms are being considered by the Lake County Planning Commission. The two large commercial cannabis farming projects on 54 acres are recommended by staff of Lake County in Benmore Valley. The property reportedly in a secluded area near the Hopland Grade. The develop wants to grow 39 acres of marijuana on one 55-acre fenced area, and another 15 acres on another 22 acre fenced area. There are other grows in the area too, but this is much bigger than the rest. The person applying says they will have at least eight people working on the grows and could hire up to 24 employees during the peak season.

With restaurants that reopen for dining, they have to do screenings of customers and employees, clean and disinfect and train employees on the new modifications. They’ve been among the hardest hit industry in the country, but many have survived on take out orders. Restaurants will have to provide disposable menus or disinfect them before and after use, no more pre-set tables, salt and pepper shakers sitting out, they can just be supplied as needed and disinfected after, and masks recommended for all restaurant workers and required for any who come within six feet (1.8 meters) of customers. No salad bars, buffets and shared bread baskets either.

The Ukiah Streetscape Project is ongoing, this week, they’re doing the underground work on Standley Street after underground utility and fire lines were reportedly found. They will reopen Perkins Street to car traffic. And the City of Ukiah will pick back up ticketing cars downtown which had been on hold during the shelter in place order and the streetscape project. The Mendocino Voice reports the work on Standley Street will extend the underground work until next Wednesday. Utility construction starts on South State Street this week at Church Street headed north toward Henry Street. Construction is taking place Monday-Friday, 7 a.m. – 6 p.m. with Standley between State and School Streets closed to traffic.

A nurse working at Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg has tested positive for coronavirus. The Hospital released the information saying she is a traveler nurse from Oregon who comes to Fort Bragg for work. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan announced that the nurse would not be added onto the official County number as the nurse was tested out of County.

Dr. Doohan told the Board of Supervisors during their meeting this morning that her office would do whatever they could to help the Hospital with contact tracing. She also says they will be getting help from the state in tracing the cases in Covelo on the Round Valley Indian Reservation as she believes the outbreak may now have gone underground. They will also be offering free anonymous testing in Covelo tomorrow.

Some legislators say they want to know why the government has wired a half billion dollars to get masks from a medical supplier overseas that was only in business three days. A Democratic Assemblywoman from Laguna Beach says she wants to make sure the right controls are in place and that tax dollars are spent efficiently and responsibly. There’s an accountability and administrative review committee which is having a hearing this month to find out about the transaction revealed by CalMatters. It shows nearly $457 million dollars was wired to Blue Flame Medical on March 26th, but then worked to get the money back within hours. CalMatters says the company was founded 3 days before by two Republican operatives with zero experience in the medical supplies field. Nine GOP lawmakers joining colleagues on the other side of the aisle to get to the bottom of the expenditure. The state canceled the 100 million N95 mask order after bankers doing the wire transfer alerted the California Treasurer they were suspicious.

Much work has been done during the Lucerne Alpine Senior Center closure during the pandemic. The center closed temporarily to save money due to staffing issues and alleged theft and improper invoicing procedures. The Record Bee reports volunteers of the Center were all at risk and most of the board members are over 70 years old. The manager Rick Rodavic says they also closed so they don’t have to pay their utilities, food, gas, maintenance and other monthly necessities. He says even while they’re closed it can cost up to $3,000 a month to operate. But he’s been working around the Center during the closure, replacing some flooring, fencing, painting and treating the place with bleach before the reopening. Rodavic also went public with some of the scams and stealing that had taken place and the removal of some volunteers so they can have a clean record moving forward.

In Lake County a thumbs up vote for masks to be worn at county government facilities once they reopen. And any government employees have to wear them at work. The Public Health Officer has not required face coverings otherwise so far but has been saying it’s a good idea to do so. The board will revisit the urgency ordinance they considered last week with requested changes added in. That includes it saying wearing masks is a requirement to slow the spread of coronavirus, but state it’s not a guarantee and that courts would decide if they would require masks separately. The urgency ordinance that went into effect last week says it’s just during the “COVID-19 State of Emergency… or until otherwise ordered by the Board of Supervisors.” It also has other safety measures included like physical distancing, and when masks should be worn.

Congressman Mike Thompson put out a Covid-19 survey to his constituents and has released the results. It was done between May 1st and May 8th from more than 4,600 people. The results say respondents want more help from the federal government. They want more programs like the Paycheck Protection Program and expanded unemployment insurance. Most people responding also wanted a cautious re-opening plan, ensuring the health and safety of everyone. Congressman Thompson says the information will help with his work to try to get more Federal relief back to his district.

Another person in Sonoma County has died from coronavirus. The Public Health Officer says it was someone over 65 years old like the other three people who also succumbed to the disease. It comes a week after the third death. Dr. Sundari Mase says it shows the County is not out of the woods yet. She told the Press Democrat more cases will probably be detected because they are conducting more daily tests. She told the newspaper, as the state reopens and people get back to local workplaces and visit parks and other public places there will be more spread of the virus in the community. In Napa County, they reported their third death due to coronavirus in an elderly patient.

As more and more businesses start to reopen, they’ll have to do business in an entirely different way. There can’t be things like buffet breakfast, self-serve coffees or welcome platters in lobbies at lodging spots. Hand sanitizer stations will have to be set up and floor markings 6-feet apart to remind about social distancing, and some will employ staff temperature checks. The tourist economy has been devastated by the coronavirus stay-at-home order. The Governor announced the next part of phase 2 in the reopening of the state, with some retailers being allowed to reopen with modifications this Friday. But nonessential travel is not yet allowed. Some communities may be allowed if they meet certain benchmarks in two week intervals.

Almost half the counties in the state have reportedly asked the governor’s office for permission to further open their economies. The Gov. announced last week some businesses could reopen with curbside pickup, that manufacturing and construction could begin with restrictions. The Governor’s office says they’ve spoken to 19 counties already and were speaking to 9 more with some potentially getting looser restrictions approved by today. The governor says some of the conversations have included 2 of the 3 counties that opened before the rest of the state, and that the conversations were going very well. One large business also defied the governor’s order. Tesla restarted operations yesterday, its CEO Elon Musk says if anyone gets arrested, he’ll be on the front lines with his workers, and that it should only be him. As of yesterday there were nearly 68,000 coronavirus cases and more than 2,700 deaths.

There are new federal guidelines for taking ocean salmon and Pacific halibut from waters off California. The federal regulations for Pacific halibut were published nearly two weeks ago and Ocean salmon within days after that. Ocean salmon and pacific halibut sport fishing opened May 1st but you have to follow your County’s COVID regulations. That includes non-essential travel and physical distancing. You’ll also have to check with your local authorities on harbor and access points. The dates in the Klamath Management Zone, between the Oregon/California state line and Horse Mountain doesn’t open until June 6th.  For Fort Bragg and San Francisco that opened May 1st and goes until Nov. 8th and finally for the Monterey area between Pigeon Point and the U.S./Mexico border that also opened on May 1st but only goes through Oct. 4th.

A more localized test could be coming for entry into University of California campuses. The President of the University says she wants to replace the SAT and ACT as admission requirements. Janet Napolitano came up with a five year plan which has been sent to the Board of Regents ahead of their May 21st meeting. She’s asking for the current test requirement to be suspended through 2024 so they can come up with a “new test that better aligns with the content UC expects applicants to have learned and with UC’s values.” But she says if they can’t come up with a test for fall 2025 applicants, then standardized testing should be totally eliminated.

 

California’s one of five Western states jointly requesting $1 trillion from the Fed in relief funds. Governor Gavin Newsom says a letter was sent to the president requesting the money from the leaders of the Western States Pact. The Pact is California, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Nevada. The five states came to an agreement to use science and data as tools to reopen their economies as they continue to try to protect the general public from COVID-19. Governor Newsom reported a 54 billion dollar deficit due to coronavirus. Last year the state had a $21 billion surplus.

The Governor’s warning 3 counties in Northern Calif. who opened before the rest of the state they could lose coronavirus disaster funding. A letter’s been sent by the CAL OES Director to Yuba, Sutter, and Modoc Counties, which all started reopening their economies before the rest of the state. It includes businesses like hair salons, retail shops, and restaurants to fully open. The letter states the counties actions “jeopardize public health and safety, not only within the county, but beyond, through community contact and spread.” And went on to say it could threaten their eligibility for disaster money. For one thing they couldn’t show they were being “extraordinarily and disproportionately impacted by COVID-19”.

An inmate at the Lake County Jail who tested positive but was asymptomatic has now tested negative two times and considered recovered. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports they’ve been working closely with the Public Health Dept. for contact tracing and 20 inmates who had been in close contact with him all were tested and had negative results.  The Sheriff’s Dept. says they’re continuing to test jail staff and all are negative so far. They say it appears the one positive case was isolated and there’s been no community spread. They also say they had put enhanced measures in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus in the jail. And they’re working with the jail’s medical provider and Lake County Public Health for a continuing plan of surveillance testing of staff and inmates.

Stage 2 of the Governor’s 4 part plan to reopen the state has begun. On Friday, the Governor issued a new order due to the ongoing pandemic and both Mendocino and Lake County have issued new shelter in place orders to coincide with the state’s. In Lake County there have been no new COVID cases for two weeks since the last change to the order, so Clear Lake is open as are boat ramps for local residents. Out-of-area fisherman are not allowed, dine in at local restaurants stays closed, retailers with curbside service are allowed. Lake County’s Public Health Officer says movement outside the County is one of the most concerning threats.

In Mendo, the interim Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan has a similar order in place, lower risk businesses can open to curbside business, manufacturing can resume, in groups no larger than 12 people, cleaning and disinfection services, animal hygiene and care, like grooming during foxtail and tick season and construction as permitted by the State can also reopen with proper COVID-19 prevention protocols in accordance with industry-specific guidance. Also certain “outdoor businesses” like golf courses, horseback riding facilities, landscapers and gardeners. Services as far as 50 miles away, considered essential are approved, recreating in groups no larger than 12 people, and real estate functions and car dealerships with strict adherence to the State specific industry guidance.

Several fires reported over the weekend near Redwood Valley and Calpella. Cal Fire reported a fire on West Road in Calpella Saturday around 2:40 p.m. that was quickly stopped. But there were seven other fires called the Calpella Fire reported around 4:15 p.m. the same day at the Moore Street on-ramp onto Highway 101. The two incidents were believed to be related, but they weren’t sure if it was arson yet. There were no structures threatened, but law enforcement was on hand in case evacuations were needed. An hour or so later, no move forward movement was reported. The fires reported at about six acres each.

The City of Ukiah has opened all parks after the new shelter in place order was released late Friday. The City Manager Sage Sangiacomo reports they began preparations as soon as the Public Health Officer released a draft of the revised stay at home orders last week.  He says high touch areas such as playgrounds, picnic tables and barbecues are not to be used and that social distancing must be adhered to along with face masks. The City parks including McGarvey, Oak Manor, Observatory, Orchard, Riverside, Todd Grove and Vinewood parks will be open as of Saturday.

A new report shows about half of those who’ve died in the state from Covid-19 were either residents or staff members of nursing homes or assisted living facilities. The latest numbers released by the state departments of public health and social services were more than 1,200 patients and staffers died of COVID-19-related causes which made up about 49% of all the deaths in the state. Numbers were self-reported and did not include about 15% of the state’s facilities.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors set to consider a senior meal program at their next virtual meeting. The meeting tomorrow morning on the County’s website and members of the public can email questions ahead of time. The Public Health Officer Dr. Gary Pace will give an update on the COVID-19 pandemic. Then the board will consider the “Great Plates Delivered” program, which is a state-authorized program to deliver meals to eligible seniors. They’ll also hear about the ongoing controversial topic of a tax-defaulted land sale that was set for the end of May which has now been canceled due to the pandemic.

A man in Woodland has been arrested for reportedly trying to toss a replica handgun and backpack that had a sawed-off shotgun in it as he was chased by cops.  Woodland Police Department says they got a call Saturday to reports of an altercation between two people and one of them possibly being armed. As officers got there they say 37 year old Diamond Sanchez ran. He was found quickly and arrested after officers found the illegal and replica firearms.

The men’s prison in Chino has lost four inmates to coronavirus. The inmates in the same facility as 3 who arrived in Lake and Mendocino Counties, one tested positive in each County as the arrived. The inmates who died were last week on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday at outside hospitals. The state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation reported in nearly 900 inmates, more than a third of them or 376 tested positive for the disease. It’s said to be the only state prison with reported deaths. The first happened April 19th. So five in all have died from COVID-19. There are currently 304 active cases at the prison.  48 staffers also tested positive.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors hears the latest economy impact report from COVID-19. The County Administrative Officer and the Auditor-Controller/County Clerk delivered the update Tuesday to the Board. County Administrative Officer Carol Huchingson stating what many know, that the County’s been hit worse than many others across the country. Disasters year over year since the Valley fire in 2015, then more wildfires, floods, the public safety power shutoffs last year and now the pandemic. The County’s received a couple of grants since the pandemic to help the homeless get shelter. The Health Dept. has received or will be soon, more grants. The County has spent several hundred thousand dollars since the shelter in place order was put in place. Lake Co News reports the general fund nondepartmental retail sales and use tax revenues are $409,000 under the estimate and money from the state is supposed to be far less than the past because of Covid-19. Property taxes, a major revenue source for the County have not been affected yet.

Mobile coronavirus tests are coming to Clearlake. The Lake County Health Services Department’s Public Health Division, the city of Clearlake, Clearlake Police Department and Lake County Fire Protection District will have mobile sites next Tuesday and Thursday. The results back 48 to 72 hours later. They expect up to 75 people to preregister each day for the drive-thru tests. They are prioritizing those the most vulnerable for contracting the virus. They will also only test those who preregistered. As of yesterday they already had 100 appointments set and only 12 were available. There will also continue to be onsite testing in Lake County called Project Baseline, set to begin at the end of next week and continue for the interim.

Counterfeit money reported circulating around Lakeport. Police saying to be watchful for the phony money that was first reported at a local grocery store. The bogus 100 dollar bills all had the same serial number from 2009.

Today’s the day, lower risk businesses are allowed to open as part of stage 2 in California’s effort to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. Some County’s can file for variances to get more leeway. Trinity has reportedly given their Board of Supervisors a plan for a tiered reopening following the statewide public health order. Kym Kemp reporting the plan has certain local businesses reopening with a plan submitted first to the County. The Board of Supervisors has set a special meeting for this afternoon at 2:00 PM on the matter. The public health officer says they’re committed to preventing the spread of the virus at the same time protecting the health and well-being of all residents.

A man in Ukiah’s arrested after police say he violated his probation, but separately is suspected of setting four fires in the south end of Ukiah. Police arrested Frederick LJ Fitch who they say may have been connected to the arson fires Wednesday night behind the Furniture Design Center, along the railroad tracks near the old Mendocino Brewing Company, which is now a cannabis business and three other fires on the railroad tracks. Firefighters out at the scene of the fires saying they were potential arsons. Finch was caught after witnesses said it was him and there’s also surveillance footage. He was held on $10,000 bail. Police say further charges related to the arson fires could be coming.

PG&E’s gonna have to fork over a lot of cash after the October 2017 firestorm and the Camp Fire in 2018. A regulatory agency has fined the utility company almost $2 billion for causing the fires. The state Public Utilities Commission unanimously voted for the $1.97 billion dollar penalty yesterday. They were fined $1.6 billion after the fatal explosion in San Bruno. The PUC said the “scope of the devastation caused by PG&E’s misconduct demands this record penalty.” A lawyer representing 7,000 fire victims says the utility company knew it would be punished, but that he was happy by the PUC’s decision. The company agreed to plead guilty to 84 counts of involuntary manslaughter connected to the Camp Fire. The utility company responded yesterday, accepting the decision and said there will be system upgrades and corrective measures required as part of the PUC decision and a settlement in its bankruptcy case.

The Mendocino County Public Health Officer says they don’t have adequate equipment to meet the state’s Covid-19 testing requirements. Dr. Noemi Doohan says they have enough swabs and transport medium, but not enough testing, or PCR machines in Mendocino County or even an hour away. The State is requiring one test per each 1,000 people per day, so that would be roughly 135 tests a day in the County. Dr. Doohan says so far they’ve completed 1,700 tests and have confirmed 12 positive cases. 11 are recovered and are no longer considered contagious. Dr. Doohan was part of a virtual Town Hall for Mendocino and Lake counties by state Sen. Mike McGuire (D-Healdsburg) on moving the state into Stage 2 of reopening today.

Ukiah Valley Golf Course could be part of the reopening. The Daily Journal reports the company that owns the course in Ukiah says they’re waiting to hear from the County about a reopening. He says the course was already naturally physically distancing, tee times can be reserved online and the pro shop can be mobile, plus they won’t allow the sharing of equipment. The company owns two other golf courses, in Sonoma and Marin counties, and they have already opened.

A new campaign Love Local Mendo has been started by the Greater Ukiah Tourism and Business Alliance, The Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce and The Willits Chamber of Commerce. The program to help businesses market themselves. They’ve even launched a new website, http://www.lovelocalmendo.com. Businesses will be allowed to list product specials, or other promotions and link to their own websites. They say it will serve the community by giving businesses the power of partnership to reach customers and clients and gives customers and clients a way to spend their money in a conscious manner to support their local communities in a feel good way.

New exhibits are being put up at the Mendocino County Museum ahead of a public reopening. The Daily Journal reports the museum curator and librarian/researcher/archivists are organizing and preparing the museum’s collections. There is a Harold Howard, or Henry, Wonacott, photography exhibit. They say the new exhibit has been a labor of love for the curators. They also have hundreds of negatives of his work. He started his work in about 1908 in Willits and about a decade later opened a second business in Fort Bragg.

COVID has closed the C.V. Starr Community Center, possibly thru the year. The Daily Journal reports the center closed temporarily after the County Public Health Officer issued the stay home order due to the pandemic. The City of Fort Bragg owns the center and since the Mendocino Coast Recreation & Parks District relies on tax dollars to operate, they may not reopen this summer. A press release yesterday says they don’t think the dedicated half-cent city sales tax revenues, which is only about half of all revenues will be able to support their operating expenses, especially they say if they don’t rebound quickly. They say they look to be at about an average loss of $70k month for the first six months of the year.

The owner of a local bike shop in Lakeport has been arrested on child pornography charges. The Lake County Sheriff’s Dept reports sending detectives with search warrants to Main Street Bicycles yesterday morning after a month’s long investigation. The Sheriff’s dept. reports being tipped to the owner and linked his two locations to at least five separate uploads of kiddy porn. 57 year old Jeffery Scott Cramer was then arrested after he was linked to social media accounts used for the uploads between August 2019 and February 2020. Detectives took electronic devices and say they think there’s more evidence on the devices. He’s booked into jail on possession and sending of child pornography and held on $30,000 bail.