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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

RCMS is supporting drive through testing in Point Arena:

Sunday July 26th
Point Arena Veteran’s Hall
451 School St

First come first serve: 200 tests available!

Over the last week, Lake County has reported 29 new cases of COVID-19. But the Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace says activity remains manageable. Since the pandemic first arose, the county had confirmed 166 cases. There has been one death. Right now there are 25 active cases and one person is in the hospital in an out of county facility. 140 have recovered. Pace says keeping the cases manageable depends on residents taking action to avoid inadvertent transmission of the virus, continued availability of medical care staff, contact tracers and case management services.  Dr. Pace says local school districts are still deciding what to do, but he suggests no in person learning. He reminds to wear a mask, even for someone with underlying chronic lung disease, he says it can help.

The state legislature is moving forward with an unprecedented measure, allowing lawmakers who cannot be in person at the Capitol, to vote. Legislative leaders agreed after at least seven staffers at the Capitol contracted coronavirus, including one assemblyman who ended up in the hospital. Four legislative leaders will vote on behalf of absent members in the Assembly, and in the Senate, lawmakers can vote for themselves, remotely, but only in committee hearings. Senators have to be in person for final votes on bills.

More and more counties are looking at ways to strictly enforce public health orders as the cases in the state remain out of control. San Francisco, Marin and Napa officials have approved fining people and businesses who violate public health orders. They will fine individuals anywhere from $25 to $500 for violations including to wearing a facial covering. And businesses will face fines up to $10,000. Sonoma County was looking at a similar order yesterday. In San Diego, they have a compliance team in place to go after people or businesses who may have complaints lodged against them.

Another death in Mendocino County from Covid-19. The death reportedly happened here in the county, at Howard Memorial. This is the first death at one of our three hospitals. Two others reportedly died at Sherwood Oaks nursing home, where there has been an outbreak. And another, our first, at a rehab center in Marin County. There were seven more cases reported yesterday for a total positive count of 234. Five people remain hospitalized and one is still in an ICU. There are 105 people in isolation.

The Fort Bragg Mayor and Vice Mayor say they’re running for office again. The Advocate reports Mayor Will Lee and Vice Mayor Bernie Norvell have declared their re-election campaigns. They’re the only open seats on the council on the November ballot. They made their announcement on social media. The mayor on Facebook with a short note and the vice mayor with a picture, also on Facebook with his confirmation papers. They also both noted how the pandemic has hurt the city, but that there had been a balanced budget for two years in a row before that.

A GoFundMe has been set up for local Mendocino artist Larry Fuente. They’re trying to raise $50,000 after a fire gutted his studio and home July 3rd. Around 50 years of his art works and other personal items were destroyed in the fire, but thankfully he was not hurt. There was someone else there at the time who apparently had was in a car that caught fire, which spread. They were treated at UC Davis Medical Center. Fuente just recently had a showing of new works at the Mendocino Art Center and has a piece of art at the Smithsonian Institute. He may be best known for exhibiting his 1960 Cadillac with all sorts of art attached called, “Mad Cad”.

The Gov. says there’s more masks coming into the state even as complaints pile up that healthcare workers don’t have enough. Gov. Newsom blames hospitals saying they’re not distributing them adequately and says the state will start to aggressively track deliveries. He says some workers are only getting 2-3 masks a week and it’s unacceptable. The governor held a press event standing by pallets filled with masks. The press briefing as the state recorded another historic single day of cases, nearly 13,000. And a day after the state passed New York for the most cases.

Clearlake still dealing with its response to the Grand Jury report on tax defaulted properties as the report surfaces on the Lake County Jail, Clearlake City Jail, the holding cells at the court in Lakeport, the Tehama County Juvenile Hall and the Konocti Conservation Camp in Lower Lake. The report says the Sheriff’s and Probation Departments are challenged in recruiting and retaining employees because of low wages and expensive benefits. They said the Probation Department doesn’t have enough children’s programs as promised. That the jail was lacking certain facilities, there had been inmate complaints about overcrowding, and needed more officers in the jail.

Congressman Mike Thompson announced the House passed the Great American Outdoors Act which he co-authored. He says the bipartisan bill invests heavily in the conservation of public lands, including fully and permanently funding the Land and Water Conservation Fund. He says it will help support local economies. The bill will help Napa and Sonoma Counties and other projects in the 5th Congressional District. It now heads to the president to be signed into law.

Another protest planned by a local Black Lives Matter group in Fort Bragg. It’s to mark the two month anniversary of the murder of George Floyd. The group says there still hasn’t been enough done to improve the situation for Black people in the country. The protest is tomorrow by Town Hall from 3 to 5 p.m. They’re promoting social distancing and ask everyone to wear masks as they’ve been doing the past 2 months.  

DUI arrests in Ukiah are down this year. The latest statistics taken from give years shows 2020 high blood alcohol DUI arrest numbers were way down since January 1st to only 118 arrests to date. There was nearly one arrest per day last year or 28 per month.  The statistics for this year so far calculated that to be 16.8/month, down 41 percent, which may be due to the pandemic.

Another town on the state’s watch list, this one due to tourism. Mono County had a surge in Mammoth Lakes. The LA Times reports it’s mostly due to restaurants in town. There are only about 14,000 people living in the area and has a lot lower cases than most, but like Lake and Mendocino County, there’s been a surge. In Mammoth Lakes, they had 40 cases in 2 weeks, with an infection rate of 8% and a seven-day average from July 12 to July 19th of 11%. There have been 79 cases in all in Mammoth Lakes, so it doubled in two weeks. There’s also been one death. The county reports restaurants in Mammoth, a tourism hotspot, were connected to 65% of the new confirmed cases. The town is now requiring restaurant workers to wear surgical or N95 masks, instead of a cloth one.

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has approved a massive land use project. Lake Co News reports it may be one of the biggest in the county’s history and could bring as many as 1,400 new homes, new hotels and almost 1,000 resort and hotel rooms too. The Guenoc Valley Mixed Use Planned Development Project or Maha Guenoc Valley may be in for a fight though, as an environmental group is threatening a lawsuit. The proposal for the 16,000-acre Guenoc Ranch along Butts Canyon Road. The state Department of Justice has also commented on the project with concern about wildfire threat.

Another death in Mendocino County from COVID-19. The Mendocino County Public Health office has confirmed the death of a third patient at Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing Facility. Another death at Howard Memorial in Fort Bragg earlier this week. The fifth confirmed last week, which happened at a rehab facility in Marin County. 105 new cases identified in the last ten days.

Dr. Noemi Doohan says there’s been about a ten day to two week lag in testing. Dr. Doohan says some people who have been sick have gone to work or to large gatherings. 60% are from the LatinX community. One person who died was from the LatinX community. Dr. Doohan says they’re doing more now to try to respond better to the LatinX community. She also says that she’s been contacted by the state and the county will imminently appear on the state’s watchlist.

Mendocino County is adding staff to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. After four businesses had employees test positive, the Board of Supervisors were advised the county is stepping up enforcement for those not abiding by the public health order. County CEO Carmel Angelo reported to the board that the Environmental Health Dept. was working with businesses to help with safety precautions and education. The four businesses are Ukiah Natural Foods, Ardzrooni Vineyard in Anderson Valley, Sherwood Oaks Health Center in Fort Bragg where 12 people got infected and Fort Bragg Center for Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry. The county adopted an ordinance whereby folks can be fined if they’re caught without a mask on. Angelo says the Environmental Health Department is also going to help enforce the ordinance. But the priority is reopening businesses. The Sheriff told the board they’re continually reminding people to wear a mask and they’re receiving calls from people about violators. 

Since reports have been circulating on the effectiveness of mask wearing the local economic development and financing corporation got nearly 300,000 surgical masks. They also got 2,000 gallons of hand sanitizer for local businesses throughout Mendocino County. There’s a new campaign, #MaskUpMendocino that looks to educate locals to help slow the spread of the virus. The Greater Ukiah Business and Tourism Alliance has a giant sign up to help bring awareness to wearing a mask. The Ukiah Conference Center will be stacked with masks and sanitizer for anyone who wants it. And the Mendocino Business and Government Leaders group is working with the Tourism Alliance, the county Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center for an Ambassador Program to hand out materials to local businesses along with MaskUpMendocino signs, rack cards and posters.

We have a new – old doctor in town. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has appointed a new Public Health Officer. Dr. Andy Coren, a retired, local doctor, well known to the community of Ukiah has been hired. The current Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan says Coren is a “local hero” and he’ll serve the community more fully, because he also speaks Spanish. There are now 227 cases of coronavirus in Mendocino County. There are less people in the hospital though than yesterday. 7 people, including one in an ICU.

Money for enforcing alcohol in public. The Lakeport City council gives a greenlight to use grant money from the Alcohol Beverage Control and Alcoholic Policing Partnership Program Grant. The $25,000 will be used to conduct enforcement and training regarding booze in public. It’ll pay for police overtime on programs in Clearlake and  Lakeport. The Lakeport Police Chief says they’re working with their neighboring city which will be responsible for the fiscal management of the grant. The operation to help prevent non-compliance and help teach local businesses and their employees for decoy operations.

Sonoma County looking to get tough on violators of their public health order. The Press Democrat reports the board of supervisors is considering fines on businesses and individuals who ignore restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus. The meeting today to consider a plan by county staff to establish a central hotline where people can call in to report others not following the rules. Those who violate, could be fined up to $100 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses. They’re also looking at a bilingual public information campaign so locals are educated on safety and health measures like mask wearing. The county is on the state’s watchlist and is dealing with a major resurgence of the virus, more deaths and hospitalizations.

Sonoma County reports the two latest deaths were also residents of senior care facilities. The Press Democrat reports the two were both over 65 years old with other health issues. They died on Tuesday. One lived at a skilled nursing home and the other at a residential care facility for the elderly. This means now that 22 people have died from coronavirus in the county. And most at a skilled nursing or assisted living type situation. 16 out of the 22. Add one more to make 17, they all died within the last month. California is also now ahead of New York, who in the early days, struggled to contain the virus. The total there 413,500 and here, 422,000.

A unanimous vote by the Marin County Board of Supervisors to get tough on those not wearing masks. They overwhelmingly approved an urgency ordinance, which goes into effect immediately to fine those not wearing masks. It allows town, city and county staffers along with police officers to deal with violators of health and safety codes to help slow the spread of the virus. A task force will go out to tips by the public too of businesses that are breaking the rules.  Fines for businesses from $250 to $10,000, and for individuals, from $25 to $500 if they’re not wearing a facial covering in public.

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept. still searching for whoever may have ignited businesses and destroyed them by arson in Covelo. Round Valley Art Center, North Fork Café and Western Auto Inc all gutted by the fire last Saturday morning in the 76000 block of Highway 162. Deputies and firefighters on the scene investigating, determining the fire was intentionally set. They say it started on the outside of Western Auto behind the property. But they have no suspects at this time. They say they continue to pore thru the wreckage and look at surveillance footage from the area for clues. They have identified multiple persons of interest and continue to ask anyone who may have seen anyone to call. You can remain anonymous. They’re also asking nearby businesses or individuals who may have recording or surveillance equipment to also be in touch.

Another inmate at San Quentin’s death row has died from coronavirus. Calif. corrections officials have confirmed 67 year old John Beames died Tuesday outside the prison, at a hospital. He had been sentenced for a 1995 brutal torture and murder of a 15 month old child in Tulare County. The state Supreme Court upheld the man’s conviction and sentence in 1997. So far there have been 14 virus-related deaths at the prison where there are more than 700 prisoners on death row. The prison itself has 860 active Covid-19 cases and almost 1,200 have recovered. Across the state prison system there are more than 1,900 active virus cases. With that a judge has ordered prison officials to empty or hold up to 100 beds at each one of the 35 prisons in the state for isolating and quarantining.

The Clearlake City Council is sending a long response to the Grand Jury regarding its report about the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office and tax-defaulted property sales. The grand jury was not kind to the city, saying it used the wrong information for its complaint about thousands of properties worth millions in unpaid taxes. The jury also saying the city acted in an inappropriate manner by criticizing the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s job performance. The city manager says the info the city got regarding the tax defaulted properties was from the county and the Treasurer-Tax Collector’s Office, so they had no reason to doubt the information. The response letter is posted on Lake Co News.

Schools in Willits starting up online. Ahead of a special school board meeting, the board was not planning on any action for the new school year, but then did, deciding on a Monday, Aug. 31st start with distance learning. The school superintendent says their aim is to provide an improved educational experience for students. They’re reportedly considering various models of coronavirus adapted schooling since the state’s been experiencing a surge in cases, passing NY for the most of any state in the nation.

The highest amount of unemployment claims in three months hit the state. The uptick in filings continues to overwhelm call centers. Two state senators calling on the Governor to hire more staff to help 24-7 to fix the issue of backlogged claims. The amount of first time claims is at about 7 million over four months since the pandemic began. Senators Scott Wilk and Melissa Hurtado penning a letter to the governor saying it was a monumental failure when residents most needed help. There were nearly 293,000 new claims filed last week, up from about 285,000 a week before.

The body of a man from Stockton has been found in Clearlake. The Sheriff’s office says 48 year old Anthony Jenkins was found yesterday morning. He was reporting missing from a boat this past weekend in the area of Shag Rock. On Saturday Marine Patrol went to the area after a report of a possible drowning. Others on the boat say the man fell off and never came back up. A dive team went out Saturday but couldn’t find the man, Sunday and Monday too. Then yesterday morning they found a man. But still a positive identification and autopsy will be done this week to make sure it was him.

Another ten cases of Covid-19 in Mendocino County. 217 cases we’ve doubled the amount of cases and more, since the start of the month, and we’re only 3 weeks in. There were 85 cases early in July, a week later 107. The Public Health Officer had warned of the surge after Memorial Day heading to Labor Day. But thankfully hospital bed capacity is not a problem at the moment. The Daily Journal reports speaking to Adventist Health who reported 100 beds in their three hospitals were still available, including 16 ICU beds. 8 people are in the hospital in those three hospitals, one in an ICU.

A grant has been successfully obtained to fix the boardwalk on the Cache Creek Nature Trail at Anderson Marsh State Historic Park. The Anderson Marsh Interpretive Association says they got a $5000 “Keeping Parks Whole” grant from the California State Parks Foundation. The boardwalk is wooden and goes thru Cache Creek habitat at the Park. Tours there are currently suspended due to the pandemic.  

The Mendocino County Public Health Office recently announced COVID outbreaks at 4 local businesses. Now the county Emergency Operations Center has visited Ukiah Natural Foods where two employees became infected. The business closed last week, then again Saturday after the second infection. Emergency Operations says the business has implemented new practices to make sure there’s social distancing. The agency also working with staff at Sherwood Oaks Health Center in Fort Bragg which has had something of an outbreak, and at the Fort Bragg Center for Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry where one employee tested positive. The county is working closely with Ardzrooni Vineyard in Anderson Valley after 4 staff members tested positive during surveillance testing. The Anderson Valley Health Clinic will provide outbreak testing. The county looking for places to do surveillance testing as the OptumServe site at the Redwood Empire Fairgrounds hit full capacity.

4-H in Mendocino County will be able to show their animals online. The Redwood Empire Fair was canceled because of the pandemic. So instead 4-H will have a virtual online auction. They had been planning since the pandemic first cropped up in March. The animals all sold at different stages and some of the kids have sold them privately during the outbreak.

Humboldt County Sheriff answering questions about the pandemic. He says many local businesses are concerned the county could end up on the state’s watchlist. Like the Mendocino County Public Health Officer who was also concerned so rolled back our health order. The county has not landed on the watchlist, and neither has Humboldt. Sherriff Honsal in says they’re conducting regular testing of his department’s employees who interact with the public the most and are encouraging employees to continue to get tested. He says they have two correctional deputies who tested positive and are currently isolating. He says they’re mostly wearing masks, but sometimes they cannot, they’re sanitizing and cleaning and doing their best to prevent spread in the jail.

A fire that destroyed four buildings in Covelo was indeed arson and there’s been an arrest. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports the Saturday morning fire downtown that gutted four buildings was arson and were investigating several people reported to be in the area at the time. Deputies say surveillance footage downtown turned up multiple suspects and a couple of them were person’s of interest. A day after the fire, Sammy Tanguileg Jr was arrested after a car was set ablaze. But the sheriff said he didn’t think he was linked to the business fires. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority Battalion Chief though says the man starting that fire was suspicious. 

2 more people in Sonoma County have died due to coronavirus. That means there have been 22 deaths related to the pandemic, with most of them in the last 3 weeks or so. The Public Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says it’s been a challenge to slow the spread because of the massive demand for tests and ensuing delays with results. She says it’s like this with commercial labs such as Quest and LabCorp so more tests are being sent to the county public health lab, so they’ve also had longer waits for test results. She says the turnaround time is taking too long. There’s also a shortage of test kits across the state and country. Quest is taking up to four days to return results and the county’s is about the same.

The state removing names of skilled nursing facilities where Covid-19 patients have died from the dashboard. There was no formal announcement from the California Department of Social Services. Then after the Sacramento Bee asked why the agency said it made a mistake and they’re working to improve their data reporting. They told the paper they’d be including the info in their daily reports again “very soon”. Critics say the numbers being scrubbed was because the industry’s been hit hard, and it wasn’t a good look. 

 Lake Transit Authority will get a piece of land after the Board of Supervisors approves the sale. The board had previously voted unanimously to sell the land so the transit company could get a grant it was applying for. In April the $13 million dollar grant was approved so Lake Transit could build a new regional transit hub at the property at 7175 South Center Drive. The value for direct public benefit was determined to be south of $700,000 dollars.  The first allocation of the grant will probably come next year. The land is about 3 acres. The board has given the County Administrative Officer the green light to sell the land and draw up a land purchase agreement with Lake Transit.  

A new invasive pest found in Lake County. The Farm Bureau reports in early May two brown marmorated stink bugs, or BMSB’s were found in orchard traps at two different locations, one in Upper Lake and one in Big Valley. The exotic pest indigenous to China can destroy crops and gardens and pester homes and buildings. It mostly damages fruit and vegetables with Lake County’s main agricultural crops vulnerable. They send off an odor if they’re disturbed or crushed. It looks like other stink bugs, but has two white bands on its antennae, a faint white band on the legs, smooth round shoulders and a blunt head.

Statewide campfire restrictions are in place. They were actually put in place in May until further notice to protect the health and safety of communities and firefighters. So igniting, building, maintaining, or using a campfire on a National Forest is prohibited, except in a developed campground or other permitted facility. The Forest Service says they’re doing this so that firefighters are available to respond and manage wildfires, of which 95% are human caused. Many, they say, are the result of unattended campfires. And this year an above-average fire season is projected across the state. Forest visitors can still use pressurized liquid or gas devices like stoves, grills or lanterns that have shut-off valves outside of developed campgrounds if they have a valid California Campfire Permit.

A man in Gualala has been arrested after several reports of a drunk guy wandering on highway 1. A deputy reports once arriving and speaking to multiple witnesses, they identified Nathan Marrufo was the person causing the disturbance.  They say he was acting suspicious and was hitting business windows. He’s also accused of entering a local supermarket and stealing some items. He was found in the parking lot of another grocer and resisted the deputy. The deputy says Marrufo assumed a fighting stance so the deputy told him he was going to let his police dog partner “Takoda” out and the guy slugged the cop. So the dog was deployed and took Marrufo down. He was arrested on multiple charges including resisting, disorderly conduct, intoxicated in public and shoplifting. He was being held on $15,000 bail.

11 more people in Lake County have contracted COVID-19. The Public Health Dept. reports 31 active cases and two people in the hospital. Here in Mendocino County we have 207 cases, 8 more than yesterday with 8 people in the hospital and one in the ICU. The Public Health Dept. page reports 3 people have died, but we have no other information on the 3rd. Neighboring counties reported the following totals yesterday, Glenn, 219; Napa, 632; Sonoma, 2,212; and Yolo, 1,196.

Another virtual town hall has been announced by Congressman Mike Thompson’s office regarding coronavirus. The next is this Thursday at 7. And it will be streamed on the Congressman’s Facebook page. You do not need a Facebook account to watch. His special guest this time is the chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, Rep. Bobby Scott. The two will talk education and how schools can safely reopen during the pandemic. If you want to be on the Zoom call, you can email the Congressman’s office.

The fire danger level on the Mendocino National Forest has been elevated to “very high.” That means a fire can start easily, spread fast and become intense quickly. Forest officials are working to get firefighters in certain places ahead of severe fire weather. A chance of thunderstorms is forecasted for the week, which could ignite fires. So more engines and crews are being pre-positioned. The Fire Management officer for the forest says they’re plan for 2020 is an aggressive initial attack and quick containment to minimize the amount of big fires. Fire restrictions are in place across the forest.  

A nurse who traveled to Santa Rosa to help with the fight against coronavirus ending up getting it, got fired and is now suing. Courtney Jackson of St. Louis, MO suing Kaiser Permanente Santa Rosa saying she was terminated after getting sick. She’s going after $1 million or more after getting fired March 28th, two days after she got out of the hospital herself because of COVID-19. She had been a traveling nurse and surgical technician for Alliant Staffing. She’s accusing them and Kaiser of discrimination, retaliation and termination. Her court documents say when she couldn’t breathe anymore and thought she would die was when she was tested and cared for. Kaiser says her suit is groundless.

The Gov. has announced a little bit of a turnaround in metrics across the state. The rate of positive cases is flattening and the seven day average is slightly down. He says the state’s positivity rate is still at 7.4% the last two weeks and the one-week average for positives was down from 7.7% to 7.2%. But the hospitalization rate is not great, 16% the last 2 weeks. Gov. Newsom says it’s not across the whole state though, as several counties are still seeing a surge in infections. Los Angeles as an example may have to close back down. The mayor blames people being less vigilant with restrictions and the economy reopening too soon.

The governor allowing some business that wouldn’t normally operate outdoors to do so, so they don’t have to close again. Newsom waiving state laws to allow salons and barbershops to reopen outdoors. This is for the county’s on the state’s watchlist. Last week he announced they would have to close but there was public outcry from thousands of salon owners who just reopened, spending big money to reconfigure their businesses to follow safety protocols.

PG&E says it’s working on its equipment so it doesn’t spark wildfires this summer and fall. The company’s most recently been blamed for starting the massive Kincade Fire in Sonoma County. Before that it was the 2018 Camp Fire and the Oct. 2017 wildfire storm in Northern Calif. The Record Bee newspaper reports interviewing the utility company’s spokesperson who says they’re working to remove dry vegetation, make sure there are no trees or other brush overgrown near their powerlines; and they’re flying choppers and drones above powerlines to “pre-inspect” the fire risk.

A man from Clearlake has waived his right to a preliminary hearing for death of a man hit by a car. Thomas Magee arrested last Sept and will be tried next January for vehicular manslaughter, murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, attempted murder and hit and run. The Sheriff’s office reported getting a call to Highway 20 and 7th Avenue in Lucerne and found a man down with critical injuries. That man, Joseph Symond Jackson was flown to a hospital in Lakeport where he died. Witnesses said at the time that Magee hit him on purpose, then took off. The whole thing due to a dispute over property. He was held on a $1 million bail. The preliminary hearing in the case was set for April, but due to the pandemic it was rescheduled.

An agreement between the teachers union and the Konocti Unified School District (KUSD) is falling apart. Teachers have filed for arbitration saying the school district isn’t honoring a proposal of their own. The Konocti Educators Association president says they want to be supported by their employer and that the school district has stalled, ignored agreements, broken their word and now won’t honor their own proposal. Negotiations fell apart early last month so teachers say they don’t have any other choice but arbitration due to a salary increase formula in their contract, something worked on for years. They go on to say, they’d previously had a good working relationship with the district and had even agreed on a settlement that was way below what their contract required due to the recession.

Testing for Mendocino Coast Clinics beefed up after more cases popped up at a local nursing facility in Fort Bragg. Nearly 200 people were tested Sunday. They were going to test 150 people at a local church but changed things up after four businesses reported employees had tested positive for coronavirus. Those performing the tests say many of those who showed up had been in contact with the positive cases at these businesses, the Ukiah Co-Op, the Sherwood Oaks Health Center in Fort Bragg, Fort Bragg Center for Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry and Ardzrooni Vineyard in Anderson Valley. The tests were sent to Richmond for processing and results were expected within 72 hours. Those who test positive will get a call from the Public Health Dept. and Mendocino Coast Clinics will call those who test negative.

The largest number of cases of Covid-19 reported in California as it just trails New York in the most cases across the country. On Monday, the state reported 11,554 cases recorded. Deaths have also been rising, the seven day average has been at between 90-100 a day since July 10th which is the highest rate since March. But the governor says there are some brighter spots in all the dark news. Gov. Newsom says the positivity rate is 7.2% as opposed to a week ago when it was 7.7%. The state’s Health and Human Services Agency reports they’re seeing encouraging news in the positivity rate. But at the end of May it was about half what it was a week ago, around 4%.

Another death of a death row inmate at San Quentin State Prison. 58 year old Troy Ashmus died Monday. There’s an investigation into the death, but the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says they believe it’s related to COVID-19. He’s the seventh death row prisoner and the 12th prisoner at San Quentin who have died due to confirmed or suspected virus infections.  He was serving time and landed on death row for the rape and brutal murder of a 7 year old in 1984.

A little reported fact about reopening schools, elementary schools can apply for a waiver so they can stay open. The Press Democrat reports the Governor didn’t mention this at his press conference Friday on in school instruction. The newspaper reports the Santa Clara County superintendent of public schools and their director of public health inviting public and private schools to apply for the waiver. Counties on the state’s watchlist can also apply for the waiver. There’s apparently no guidance on what conditions a county has to follow to allow elementary school kids to go to school in person.

More cases of COVID-19 to report in Mendocino County. 199 cases, 7 people are in the hospital and one in ICU.  The most serious case transferred to Napa County for a higher level of care. The Public Health Office reporting another death of someone who’d been living at Sherwood Oaks Health Center in Fort Bragg. 7 residents have now tested positive and 2 are in the hospital. 5 employees have also tested positive. Yesterday public health had a testing site set up in Fort Bragg. Another employee at the Ukiah Co Op has tested positive. After one report last week and a closure for cleaning, we learned over the weekend of another positive case. But apparently, they were not working or in the store when the test was confirmed. Also, a positive case of an employee at The Fort Bragg Center for Laser & Cosmetic Dentistry. Testing is being done for free for any patients who might have been exposed there between June 22nd and July 13th. And at Ardzrooni Vineyard in Anderson Valley, 4 employees tested positive and outbreak testing will be offered this week. The Public Health Office reports this is all an indication of uncontrolled community spread and will probably get worse until Labor Day.

The Governor ordered the state to rollback its reopening and certain counties on the state’s watchlist had to roll back further. The Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan reported she anticipated the state would put the county on the watchlist, so in anticipation of that, and to maintain local control, she rolled back some business sectors ahead of the state doing it. On Friday the shelter in place order charged to require all bars, pubs, brewpubs and breweries to close unless they can operate outside with meals. Same for restaurants and wineries. Movie theaters and other family entertainment centers have to close along with zoos and museum and cardrooms. Gyms and fitness centers, churches and non-essential businesses are ordered closed unless they can operate outside too. Same for personal care services, like nail and hair salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors. Indoor shopping malls also have to close.

The Ukiah Unified School District has reversed course and will hold all classes online. Last week there was a method announced whereby it would be a hybrid learning environment, with 2 groups of students attending in person 2 days, and online the other 2. But the public health office was advising all online due to the recent upsurge in cases and several local outbreaks. Late Friday we got word from the School District, that they decided against that learning model and with community input they decided to go all online. The School District also says there will be many changes and improvements made to the Distance Learning program. Administrators say they’ve heard from parents, teachers, students, and families on needed changes to improve the curriculum and look forward to sharing details once everything is ready to go.

Another death has been reported due to coronavirus in Mendocino County. A 63 year old resident at the Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing Facility in Fort Bragg died last Thursday just about a week after testing positive for the virus. The public health office reports the patient had underlying health conditions which increased the likelihood they would have complications due from the disease. There have been 13 cases at Sherwood and the public health office says they’ve done an exemplary job responding to the situation and they’ll continue to work closely with them.

Another employee of Ukiah Natural Foods has contracted coronavirus. The co-op closed for a day last week and posted on their Facebook page that one employee had the virus and was isolating at home. They said they were hiring a cleaning company for a thorough cleaning. But then a sign was posted on the door outside Saturday saying a second staffer, who was already isolating because of contact tracing for the first case. The business closure was mandated by the Public Health Office. It will stay closed for further contact tracing.  

CalFire reports their Aviation Management Program is ready to go for the fire season. The agency conducts wildland pre-fire engineering, vegetation management, fire planning, education and law enforcement. The Battalion Aviation Chief for Mendocino County has a giant helicopter, a UH-1H Super Huey and over at the Ukiah Municipal Airport there are a couple of air tankers and an airplane.

A fire in Covelo over the weekend may have been intentionally set. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, Ukiah Valley Fire Authority and Cal Fire went out to the fire Saturday after a local restaurant was destroyed. Firefighters on the scene quite early finding the Covelo Western Auto Store burning. The store along with the North Fork Café have been destroyed. The fire took less than 4 hours to put out. The sheriff’s department says the fire was devastating to the community of about 1,200. Investigators are talking to community members to figure out the cause of the fire and asking for possible surveillance camera footage. They’re treating it as suspected arson though. No injuries were reported and there was no spread to vegetation.

The surge of coronavirus cases in Sonoma County are not lessening. The Press Democrat reports the Board of Supervisors are set to discuss how to enforce the public health order of mandatory mask wearing. So far law enforcement are supposed to give warnings and possible criminal misdemeanor citations. But the board could weigh other options like code enforcement officers and environmental health staff for civil violations. The number of cases have ramped up in the county and 20 people have died. Napa has the strictest rules nearby with fines of up to $5,000 for businesses. And Mendocino County has also put fines in place for those who don’t listen to restrictions.  The Sonoma County Public Health Officer blames most of the recent surge to holiday gatherings, religious ceremonies and at least one funeral.

More cases reported in Lake County. 140 cases, the county’s COVID dashboard not updated though since Friday. The dashboard shows 103 people have recovered and one person has died. 3 people were in the hospital as of this weekend. The county is looking good for hospital capacity, which with a surge in cases and deaths is generally what puts a county on the state’s watch list. Lake Co News reports as of Friday the two hospitals in the county each had more than a 2 week supply of personal protective gear on hand. Hospital bed availability about 50% and ICU beds at about 25 percent.

West Nile Virus has been confirmed in a sample of mosquitos in Lake County. Vector Control reports the samples were collected last week near Middletown. They say it’s typical in July, but since many are home more due to the pandemic, to remember there’s a possibility of contracting West Nile Virus too.  The vector district can help if you feel mosquitoes are hard to control. They provide free mosquito-eating fish for swimming pools or spas not being maintained, and backyard ponds, water features and animal watering troughs. A reminder to dump or drain standing water, use repellents, and avoid outdoors when the insects are around, usually that’s during dawn and dusk hours.

A man in Covelo’s been arrested after a car fire. Someone called the fire department who reported the person who started the fire might be nearby. Deputies and Investigators found Sammy Tanguileg and found he was near the 2000 Chevy sedan right before it caught fire. Arson investigators and the Ukiah Valley Fire Department and Laytonville Volunteer Fire Department on the scene with detectives and arrested Tanguileg for Arson and Committing an Arson during a State of Emergency and held on $100,000.00 bail. Investigators are also asking anyone who may have seen something to call.

A man in Ukiah’s been arrested on multiple charges after a report of a domestic assault. A week ago Saturday deputies found a woman had been physically and sexually assaulted. She says it was her live-in boyfriend and deputies verified she had been abused. They also found a seven year old girl who had been abused so she and the adult female were taken to a hospital. Soon after Antonio Becerra Jr was arrested on Assault with a Deadly Weapon; Inflicting Corporal Injury on a Spouse or Cohabitant; Sexual Penetration with a Foreign Object with Force or Fear; and Inflicting Corporal Injury upon a Child. He was held in jail on $450,000 bail. Investigators are asking anyone who lives nearby to report any further information on the man saying they believe the assaults were probably ongoing for several hours.

The Lake County Public Health Office giving an update on Covid-19 cases. There are now 137 total cases, with 36 active and 3 in the hospital.  As we get further into the pandemic, the health office notes some features of our local spread. Several cases in people who contracted it at a social gathering with family and friends, where multiple households are present for a sustained period of time, calling this very risky. Second someone who has close contact with someone with the virus without a mask on, within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more. And third, people working in high public contact environments. The health office says they can’t confirm they contracted the infection at work, but they say frequent social interaction and employment in front-line service industries appear to be strong risk factors.

3 people in Sonoma County have died due to coronavirus. The County Public Health Office reports 19 people have died, 10 from skilled nursing centers.  It’s also on the heels of the announcement that the county has now had more than 2,000 cases since early March. A man died Monday, a woman Tuesday and a third person Wednesday. The Press Democrat reports all were over 65 years old.  The total cases as of last night including 45 newly confirmed cases was 2,027. The public health office also reports some people who had recently tested positive had traveled out of the county or state and others were at large gatherings which are prohibited. The public health order allows only groups of up to 12 people outside a household for outdoor activities.

As noted earlier this week, as of today a new public health order will be in pace. The Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan says the same restrictions as Sonoma County which is on the state’s watch list will be instituted by noon today. That means no indoor dining, no bars, gyms, personal care salons or church. As far as we know the state has not yet placed the county on the watchlist, but with one death and 7 hospitalized in our 3 county hospitals, Doohan says it’s a matter of time. Dr. Doohan says she’s pre-emptively making the move so she can retain local control. There are now 177 cases of coronavirus reported in the county.

12 new cases of Covid-19 in Mendocino County for a total of 177. There are now 4 people in an ICU. Over the last week, our case load has grown with 64 new cases and one confirmed death. Seven of the new cases in the Hispanic community which has been hit hard across the state. We’ve had three cases in kids between 6 and 12 years old and three in the over 65 range. The Public Health Office attributes one of the new cases to “community spread”, the rest are being investigated. Half the new cases in the Ukiah Valley. 11 cases in the new group are isolating and seven are in the hospital.

California seeing a surge in unemployment cases along with a surge in the pandemic. Almost 300,000 new claims for unemployment for the week ending July 11th. That’s nearly 23,000 more initial claims than a week before. Unemployment in the country at 1.3 million, the lowest in the last four months. But in Calif. we’ve had more than 6 and a half initial claims since the pandemic arose in March.

There are several states the White House is watching that are considered hotspots, Calif. is in a so-called “red-zone”. The Center for Public Integrity reports 18 states are in the “red zone” with more than 100 new cases per 100,000 population. 11 states in the zone for positive tests, 10% of their tests came back with positive results. The coordinator of the coronavirus task force at the White House Dr. Deborah Birx says she is regularly updated by governors. She says Arizona, California, Florida and Texas were being monitored closely along with other states which should all limit gatherings.

Updated guidance on the reopening of schools is expected from the Governor. The state is dealing with a major resurgence of the virus just weeks ahead of when schools would normally be opening. Gov. Newsom’s office is not giving any hints as to what his plan is for schools this fall, but many school districts have already said they’d be online only in the fall. Some teacher’s unions say they want teachers to get back to the classroom, virtually, at least for the first quarter or semester. The California Teachers Association has sent the Governor, the state Superintendent and legislative leaders word that there doesn’t appear to be a way to get back in person safely right now, so from a public health perspective, quality long distance learning was the way to go until the virus is tamed.

After the deadly Ghost Ship Fire 36 people died and two people were charged with their deaths. One of them got off, the other still dealing with the possibility of prison time. Now the city of Oakland has agreed to a nearly 37 million dollar settlement after the massive 2016 fire that broke out at the converted warehouse. The settlement for families of 32 of the victims and more than $9 million alone for Sam Maxwell, who survived but will have to live with severe injuries and massive doctor’s bills. As part of the settlement the city does not acknowledge any liability.

A couple of churches in Mendocino County and another in Oroville are suing the Governor for not allowing singing and chanting. The pastor of Calvary Chapel in Fort Bragg says it’s a “biblical mandate” to sing in church. The federal lawsuit after being closed down in March, then getting to reopen with lowered capacity, and as of late, without singing and chanting. Singing and chanting are risky acts in the age of COVID, spreading droplets if the singing is too loud. The virus has since expanded its footprint so the discouraging of singing and chanting is now a mandate. The suit was filed in Redding and also focusing on Black Lives Matter protests. Along with Calvary Chapell is Greens Church and Life Church in Oroville. They claim the governor protected protesters, but is not doing the same for churchgoers. One of the plaintiff’s dad’s is one of President Trump’s lawyers.

A man from Covelo’s been arrested after a fire breaks out on tribal land. Carmelo Delgado told deputies he set the fire to get attention. Witnesses say he was arguing with another person, then Delgado started the fire. He apologized and tried helping someone else douse the flames. They say he was also very drunk during the incident. Round Valley Fire and Cal Fire on the scene, surrounding the fire which they say burned about 4 acres. Deputies also say the field where the fire was had recently been used to harvest haybales, at $12 ea. 90 of them were destroyed in the fire.  He’s charged with intentionally starting a fire causing property damage, destruction of property and being intoxicated in public and held on $25,000 bail.

The Gov. has outlined his plans for schools to reopen in the fall with any that are in a county on the state watchlist relegated to long distance learning. The rules also say children above 2nd grade and all staff wear a facial covering. It also requires public schools that cannot reopen because they’re on the state’s watch list to follow strict rules for when they do reopen. Many schools are still working on their reopening plans as schools are about a month away from starting again. The state has reported the highest one day totals in infections and deaths this week. Los Angeles and San Diego schools had already decided to be online only. And San Francisco, Oakland, Sacramento, Long Beach, Santa Ana and San Bernardino are also not returning in the fall.

As expected the Mendocino County Public Health Office in accordance with the state and the expectation that we will soon be on the state’s watchlist, will close many businesses again. In alignment with the state’s 58 counties, many indoor sectors are closed. And outdoor dining is still allowed. But indoor operations in Mendocino County are no longer allowed, restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos and museums and cardrooms. Since the governor has released the new guidance on schools, in Ukiah, we just received word, that we will be on Distance Learning. There had been a plan earlier in the week for kids to go in two groups, two days each. Now the Board of Trustees, along with district community members, including District and school-site administrators, department leads, Ukiah Teachers Association (UTA) members, California School Employees Association (CSEA) members, and parents have all chimed in on the decision. It comes in response to the rising cases and local hospitalizations. Improvements to distance learning are being made.

Cases of coronavirus continue to rise in Mendocino County. With this news the Mendocino County Public Health Office has officially announced the first death. Dr. Noemi Doohan has put out a statement that the first COVID-19 related death was George Chadwick, the 14th Covid-19 case. The death actually happened at a rehab facility in Marin County, after he was in Adventist Health Ukiah Valley with COVID-19.  Because he died in another county, the family first received the death certificate and informed Mendocino County that COVID-19 was listed as a cause of death. The death is now listed on Mendocino County’s COVID dashboard. The county will request the death certificate from Marin County today. The county has 165 positive cases, 66 are in active isolation and 6 people are in the hospital.

The public health officer has announced there are 6 people in the hospital with COVID-19 in 3 Adventist Hospitals. Dr. Doohan says the outbreak at Sherwood Oaks Skilled Nursing home in Fort Bragg has expanded to 5 residents and 2 employees. ) and the total number of cases countywide reached 165 with 66 in active isolation and 123 in active quarantine. The CEO of the local Adventist Health hospitals says they’ve been trained for this for months and are ready. Of the 6 people in their 3 hospitals, 2 are at the Adventist Health Mendocino Coast, 3 at Howard Memorial and 1 at Adventist Health Ukiah. The county has also revised its shelter in place health order to match with the state. Dr. Doohan says she believes the recent surge in cases and hospitalizations will put the county on the state’s watch list, so a revised order will go into effect tomorrow, businesses will have to close unless they can do outside, curb pickup. So we will see closure again of non-essential sectors; personal care services, gyms and malls.

The Public Health Officer in Mendocino County says she doesn’t think it’s safe for schools to operate in person classes and should stick to distance learning in the Fall. She says schools could also pursue a hybrid model with State guidance on school reopening. But the County CEO also says she believes the recent surge in positive coronavirus vases and hospitalizations should lead to virtual schooling in the fall for “the safety of our children, teachers and staff.” The CEO and health officer remind it’s vital and mandatory for every resident to wear a mask when they leave their home, not to engage in social gatherings, practice good hygiene, stay home when sick and maintain 6 feet between yourself and others when you’re outside of your home. They also say many of the recent cases were due to informal gatherings around the 4th of July holiday.  

The county CEO and public health officer say we should have long distance learning. But just Monday the Ukiah Unified school board voted for kids to be in person. It came after a five hour long with the board on zoom. The Mendocino Voice newspaper reports the meeting featured frustrated staff and parents about the plan for in person four days a week. Kids would be in two groups, and would attend two days a week, the rest would be online. The teacher’s union put out a statement saying they were extremely disappointed in the school board. The union does not want its members to return to in person classes until the coronavirus pandemic calms down. But the school board said they had the public health officer’s blessing on their plan. If the plan goes thru, the trustees voted to spend money on custodial, facility and technology upgrades to support in person and online learning. But no word if it’ll change now that Dr. Doohan anticipates the county landing on the state’s watchlist by weeks end.

** UPdate from UUSD

As expected, the COVID situation is changing rapidly in Mendocino County. The board is considering the new data and is talking with health and education experts. We will notify parents and the community as soon as any adjustments are made to our back-to-school plans. Thank you for your understanding and patience.

Congressman Jared Huffman is hosting another virtual town hall for Mendocino County. The meeting online tomorrow afternoon at 5:00 p.m. to discuss coronavirus with his constituents. And with him will be State Senator Mike McGuire, Assemblyman Jim Wood, Mendocino County Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan, and President of Adventist Health in Mendocino Jason Wells. They will all take questions from those on the call which will be streamed live on Huffman’s Facebook page. You can also participate on the county’s YouTube page.

An overnight fire in Albion claims one life. Cal Fire got a call Monday night to a home on fire. Albion-Little River Fire Department asked for help and received it from Mendocino, Fort Bragg Fire, and Cal Fire. The home was totally involved when they all arrived, and it took them most of the night to get the fire and hot spots out. They say there was one person unaccounted for and concern the fire may have been arson. A fire investigator from Ukiah Valley Fire came to the scene. But it was too hot to examine right away. Wednesday morning fire officials and investigators picked thru the debris to make sure, nobody had been in the house and they did find a body. They are unsure if it was a man or woman so an autopsy will be done by the Coroner’s Office.

A case of coronavirus has closed the Ukiah Co-op. Management posted on Facebook that they apologize but an employee had contracted the virus and they would close and cleanup. The employee was said to be isolating at home. The Co-op posted they were hiring a local commercial restoration company to thoroughly sanitize the store yesterday. They anticipated the store would be cleaned by the end of the day and they were coordinating with the health department and following an extensive protocol so they could reopen soon.

The Mendocino County Counsel has informed the Board of Supervisors that it’s legal for businesses to bar entry to residents not wearing a mask. This at the board’s latest meeting and a week after they passed an ordinance to enforce facial coverings with possible fines for those who do not abide. In their latest online meeting, the County Counsel Christian Curtis says businesses can even deny someone coming in even if they say they cannot wear a mask due to a health condition. Curtis says what they’ve been seeing from state, federal and academic guidance is that a business doesn’t have to allow someone in without a facial covering, calling it a legitimate safety restriction. He also says a business can also offer customers who can’t wear a mask another way to get something, like curbside pickup.

Accolades for Redwood Credit Union, which has been named a Top 10 Credit Union in the state. The bank also wins the highest-ranked credit union in northern California. The listings by Forbes magazine of America’s Best Credit Unions. Out of 5,200 credit unions in the US, RCU is one of just over 180 nationwide that are included on the list. Forbes asked more than 25,000 people about their banks across the country in a 25 question survey. They were asked how satisfied they were overall with their bank and also their thoughts on trust, digital services, financial advice, branch services, and transparency of terms and conditions. The president and CEO of the credit union says they’re extremely honored.

Sonoma County about to have a dubious honor, 2,000 COVID-19 cases. And that’s double what the county had less than a month ago. It took the county almost four months to get to 1,000. The county’s Public Health Officer, Dr. Sundari Mase says even though they’ve rolled back health orders locally and across the state, it may take a month to notice any change. 38 new cases were reported yesterday, but no new deaths. The new health order closes indoor dining and restaurants, wineries and bars with food. Bars otherwise must close. No entertainment centers, movie theaters, museums and more because the county’s on the state’s watch list. Gyms, hair and nail salons, places of worship and shopping malls too. Mase blames large social gatherings of more than 12 people, no mask wearing or social distancing as contributing factors in the growing case numbers.

More quarantining space in Sonoma County after Sonoma State said it needed its dorms back. The alternate care site for overflow of people with mild to moderate symptoms of Covid-19. They’ve not said publicly where the site is. The Board of Supervisors has not even apparently been briefed on the site, but three supervisors apparently went to check it out yesterday. The site scouting after Sonoma State decided to bring students back to campus this fall, in person. The alternate site comes as hospital executives tell supervisors they’re concerned about capacity. The beds at some Sonoma State dorm rooms were used for homeless residents or others who needed to be isolated as they awaited test results.

COVID cases continue rising in Lake County. 11 more cases for a total of 133. 35 of the cases are active and 97 people recovered, or no longer isolated. 2 people are in the hospital. There’s been one death, but no other information on that has been released for privacy reasons. In Mendocino County, one death was confirmed by the county and finally placed on the county dashboard after the family showed the public health officer the death certificate. Six people are in the hospital in Mendocino County. And the public health office will be adjusting the public health order in anticipation the county could be put on the state’s watchlist due to the rise in cases and hospitalizations. The state has seen more than 346,000 cases.

The Kelseyville School District is looking for a few good men… or women. There are vacancies on the school board. They say they want folks who are passionate about education and will commit to volunteer for a four year term. If you’re registered to vote in the district, you may be eligible to apply. The school board sets the direction for the district, watches over money expenditures, helps support the schools, ensures accountability and provides community leadership as advocates for children, the school district, and public schools. These are the pillars set out by the Calif. School Board Association. To get your name on the ballot you have to visit the Lake County Registrar of Voters office up until August 7th. You’ll have to call to set an appointment at the school district office ahead of that.

The city of Clearlake says they’ll write an appeal to the Civil Grand Jury. The city manager put a memo together for the city council regarding the report as the city has 90 days to respond. Lake County News reports the city manager says both the mayor and vice mayor are working with city staff on a response. The grand jury brought up needing more frequent tax sales on the tax-defaulted properties and millions of dollars of uncollected taxes. It comes after the city had tried working with the county on the manner. The grand jury also says the city targeted the Tax Collector and that was inappropriate. The city manager says the info the grand jury relied on was sourced from the county, but it was not a broad collection of tax defaulted properties.

Like Mendocino County before it, Napa County will start enforcing mask wearing and fine people caught not abiding. They will further charge businesses, something Mendocino County has not said it would do. But the Napa County Board of Supervisors has given the green light to hand out tickets with fines of up to $500 for individuals and up to ten times that much, $5,000 for businesses who get repeated complaints for violating the state and local health orders. But as with most counties in Calif. and across the country, officials are more interested in education over enforcement. Napa’s Code Compliance Division will be the lead on enforcement efforts.

After a group of business and individuals announced they’re suing PG&E for the Kincade Fire, now CalFire reports PG&E was indeed responsible for the massive fire.  The Kincade Fire was the largest ever in Sonoma County. It burned nearly 78,000 acres last October and burned down 374 structures. Investigators with CalFire say after a meticulous and thorough investigation, they found PG&E electrical transmission lines northeast of Geyserville were to blame. That and tinder dry vegetation and strong winds with low humidity and warm temperatures contributed to extreme rates of fire spread. The report has been forwarded to the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office.

9 more cases of coronavirus added in Mendocino County. The Public Health Office dashboard has to total up to 155, with no hospitalizations and 57 people in isolation. There’s no longer a recovered tab on the county’s Covid-19 dashboard, now it says there have been 98 people released from isolation. The most cases 19-34 age range, then 35-49 year olds. The Hispanic community has been hit the hardest with 89 of our total cases. Most of the cases in the Ukiah Valley, 111 or them.

Ukiah high will be distributing food once again for kids 18 and younger. This morning until 1 pm, at the high school. Children don’t have to be with their parents to get the meals. They’re giving out plums, cantaloupes, and potatoes as part of the distribution this morning. You can also get farmers boxes, a Farmers to Families Food Box with 20 pounds of pork and 20 pounds of cheese. They remind to please wear a mask and practice social distancing when you pick up food. 

North Coast legislators working to protect the press. Senator Mike McGuire has put up a bill to protect Freedom of the press which he says has been under attack especially as of late during protests. Reporters being hit by rubber bullets, hit with batons, sprayed with tear gas, and even arrested. SB 629 looks to protect reporters who McGuire says risk their lives at protests and rallies to get the public needed information. The Press Freedom Act is to allow journalists to perform their duties and be protected from law enforcement who intentionally assault, obstruct or interfere with their duties to gather news. The bill moves to the Assembly Public Safety Committee in the coming weeks.

Another lawsuit against Pacific Gas & Electric as the company just emerges from its Chapter 11 Bankruptcy. The company already sued, and has to fork over billions for the October 2017 Northern Calif. wildfires and 2018 Camp Fire. Now those who were impacted by the Kincade Fire in Sonoma County last year are suing. The fire, the largest in the county, ever. The Press Democrat reports the Mayacama Golf Club, three wineries and four hotels are part of a lawsuit with more than 20 businesses and several individuals going after damages from PG&E after the 78,000-acre wildfire. It has not been pinned on the utility company as the fire’s still being investigated by Cal Fire. The fire last October sparked in windy weather in a rugged area of the Mayacamas Mountains. The Press Democrat reports the ignition point near high-voltage power lines that carry electricity generated by The Geysers geothermal field.

The latest Lake County Grand Jury report says there was a dramatic under counting of the homeless. The report says there’s also a large void in affordable housing which is making it worse for that population. This part of the larger jury report, “Assessing the Homelessness in Lake County” says there are not enough warming centers and beds for the homeless in the winter, that the Point in Time Count and self reported homeless were off, and there are multiple problems that nonprofits are dealing with, instead of the county, including for mental health, substance abuse, food and nutrition and reproductive health.

There are still several hundred thousand unemployment claims unpaid in Calif. Since the onset of the pandemic, a backlog of unemployment claims has plagued the jobless. The Employment Development Department is getting hammered by complaints with first time claims still unpaid for many. Senator Mike McGuire and Assemblyman Jim Wood say they’re also getting inundated with calls for help. Wood says his 3 district offices in Eureka, Ukiah and Santa Rosa are getting daily calls with fear and frustration. McGuire says they’re getting hundreds and hundreds of calls, emails and Facebook messages from people desperate for help.

Kids in Ukiah have a choice, in person or 100 percent online learning. The word from the Ukiah Unified School District board of trustees. The board voted yes on the reopening plan for schools in the fall. Families get to choose which way to go if they have medically fragile children, or even those who want to self-quarantine. The school district has to now negotiate with the teachers union and their classified employees. The board president says the goal is to keep everyone safe and healthy, at the same time maximizing instructional time and quality learning students deserve. The new plan can be viewed on the district’s website, www.uusd.net.

Relay For Life in Mendocino County is on. For now, the night of Aug. 29th luminaria will be lit and a circle will be formed at Todd Grove Park in Ukiah in honor of those fighting or who have had cancer. Relay for Life has the events across the country, this year, the park luminaria will be lit from afar so everyone can view from their cars. You can make a donation for your own luminaria or in honor of a loved one to The American Cancer Society. There will be an online program August 30th too.  To help someone on a team or to form one of your own, go to: http://www.relayforlife. org and enter our zip code.

With the surge in new Covid-19 cases across the state, the California Health and Human Services Secretary says they’ve got new plans for testing.  Dr. Mark Ghaly says not only will there soon be updated testing guidance, but new requirements for health plans to cover testing, and new co-chairs for the Testing Task Force. He says testing is a critical tool to help diagnose and treat those infected. It also shows how it’s moving in communities. There will be testing of people in the hospital who have signs or symptoms and those not in the hospital, but that are in high-risk categories, including employees or residents in nursing homes, homeless shelters and prisons and healthcare workers. The Testing Task Force led by the founding chief of the California Department of Public Health’s Center for Infectious Diseases, and the senior vice president and chief health officer for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc.

As cases continue to rise in Lake County, the Board of Supervisors has voted to stay with a hybrid meeting approach. There will be limited in-person participation by the public and online. Clearlake and Lakeport City Council meetings will be all online. The Lake County Board had all virtual meetings for three months, then during the height of the lockdown, they reconfigured board chambers for the “hybrid” version of meetings. There are plexiglass partitions up to separate the supervisors from each other and staff. There’s audience seating for only 25 so social distancing can be maintained. There’s also a new online comment platform for the public to weigh in. Clearlake also has a new town hall page for community input and Lakeport is using GoToMeeting and allowing for live public comments and questions.

Foster care children applying for aid thru the federal government in California more than others. The info from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. It shows 64.5% of high school seniors in foster care submitted their FAFSA, compared to 56.6% of all high school seniors.  The nonprofit, John Burton Advocates for Youth says they think it’s because of a FAFSA Challenge created three years ago and ended in March. It encouraged education offices to work with high school counselors, probation officers, social workers and the California Student Aid Commission so foster kids would apply for federal and state student aid.

In just a couple of weeks the Willits Center for the Arts will reopen . On Friday, July 31st the Center says they’ll be certified to open from the county. They say they’ll have safety measures in place such as mandatory mask wearing, hand sanitizer put out, only six people at a time in galleries. The first show they will have is a Ceramics show with Ileya Stewart, paintings by Peter Onsted and a Willits Photography Club showing. They will be open on the weekends only.

After almost thirty years, Roundman’s Smoke House and Butcher Shop is closing up shop. The owner says he’s ready to retire and sell to a new generation. Steve Rasmussen and Steve Scudder have owned the business for a quarter century.  They’ve put the business up for sale, so they’re not out of the shop quite yet. The shop is USDA approved, and has about 20 people working there. They also sell their products in grocery stores across the state. Scudder tells the Advocate newspaper they were planning to retire before the Coronavirus pandemic closed businesses. But they say they’ve been doing quite well.

CalFire and the Army Corps of Engineers are planning a prescribed burn this evening at the Coyote Valley Dam on Lake Mendocino. The burn will start at 6:00 and be out by 9:00, and smoke will be visible throughout the entire Ukiah and Redwood Valley areas. Because of the burn, access to that area is restricted for safety. CalFire says the purpose of the fire is to clear vegetation and to allow access and visibility for a required inspection

California is refining its coronavirus testing plan to reach more groups that are particularly at risk. The state is doing about 100,000 tests a day but Health and Human Service secretary Mark Ghaly says there should be more. He says testing is an important part of the state’s strategy, especially as schools finalize their reopening plans. Ghaly wants testing to focus more on people who show symptoms while still making general screening more available. He is hoping that hospitals, labs, and other providers expand their outreach efforts too. Some testing sites report they have been overwhelmed as cases skyrocket and more people come in to get tested.

The Ukiah Unified School District is planning two options for reopening its schools. Under a plan approved by the school board Monday night, families can choose either a hybrid of distance learning and in-person classes or a full distance learning option. The district will also offer an independent study curriculum in some limited cases. Board president Anne Molgaard says the goal is to strike a balance between safety and maximizing instruction time. Students in the District who choose the hybrid model will be equally split into two groups, one called Group A and the other Group B. They’ll attend their usual school in person two days each week and will learn virtually three days each week. Students and staff will be required to wear a mask when attending school in person except when eating or outside at a physical distance. Those under the full distance learning model will have to engage online every day of the school week, through Zoom, Google, or other online methods. You can take a look at the plan on the website, UUSD.net.

A 19-year-old from Fort Bragg will spend the next 18 years in prison after he pleaded guilty to several charges filed after a violent incident last December. A release from the Fort Bragg PD says Francisco Martinez-Rodriquez will do that time for giving meth to a minor, making threats, assault, and child abuse. He was arrested last December 3rd after cops got a call about a disturbance in front of the Purity Market, where officers found the 17-year-old victim who had suffered serious injuries to her face when Martinez-Rodrguez hit her. Martinez-Rodrguez was already on probation at the time. That violation adds another 8 months to his sentence.

The DMV says many older drivers will get an extension on their license renewal for another year. The department says due to the pandemic those drivers over 70 with a non-commercial license that expires between March 31st and December 31st of this year will get that extra time to renew. Normally people in that age group have to visit a DMV office in person to get a new license, but with those people are at a higher risk and with long lines and wait times at offices, officials thought it best to allow that leeway to those senior drivers

The Gov along with his Department of Public Health have announced a new State Order for the entire state. So all indoor dining at bars, restaurants and other indoor business operations will cease as the spread of coronavirus continues. It comes after a surge in hospitalizations and ICU cases and a major spike in the percentage of positive cases. So all counties are closing restaurants, except for outdoor dining and take out, wineries/tasting rooms can operate outside, not indoors, movie Theaters, Family Entertainment Centers (e.g., miniature golf, batting cages and arcades), zoo and Museums and Cardrooms. The Mendocino County Health Officer has revised her health order to coincide with the state. That went into effect last night just before midnight. It stays as is until noon on August 3, 2020. Several counties remain on a watch list, Lake and Mendocino counties are not. But those counties have to also close fitness centers, worship services, non-essential business, personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors, hair salons and barbershops and malls.

As part of the new restrictions under the governor’s orders, your landlord cannot evict you. That was in place and ended June 30th, but now the Gov. issued an executive order so it extends to September 30th. The last order passed March 16th. By allowing people who can’t pay rent to get a break with these new protections by becoming homeless, then spreading the virus if they get infected. And local governments passing their own orders can override the Governor’s but there are still another layer of state protections to potentially protect you. Additionally the California Judicial Council, also put a measure in place back in April to suspend evictions for 90 days after the governor lifts the state of emergency.  The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors considered this in March, then Fort Bragg enacted a local ordinance, but Ukiah, Willits, and Point Arena are staying with state and judicial orders. 

Another major spike in cases in Mendocino County, 14 more cases… the total count as of yesterday, hit 146. There were 19 cases the day before that for a total of 33 cases in 3 days. Also the public health office announced that after residents spoke out about our one death in the county being noted on the dashboard as recovered because he was being treated out of county, they changed the noted “recovered” to “removed from isolation.”

An update on the Streetscape Project in Ukiah. The work to replace the water lines between Church and Henry Streets has begun and should continue for the next month or so. Then the work will move to the south end between Mill and Church streets. The Daily Journal has posted pictures of the work in progress. The newspaper reports access is available to all businesses in the area, but construction crews keep warning about “messy work”. Construction work is during the day, Monday-Friday, 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. Traffic is still moving on State St. but down to two lanes and parking is sketchy on South State Street between Church and Henry streets. Also, keep in mind until Friday, Standley and Smith Streets will be temporarily closed. For more info, visit ukiahstreetscape.com, or UkiahStreetscape on Facebook.

We’re back in a drought. According to the Mendocino City Community Services District who declared a Stage 4 drought. That means that residents will get their water allotment slashed by 40 percent. It comes after rainfall totals for this year fell to 50% of normal as of June 23rd. Only about 20.5 inches as opposed to the normal 40 inches in a good year. So it puts the district in borderline Stage 4. So customers of the district can expected a necessary reduction in water usage, prohibition of water waste, some businesses have to display their conservation efforts, no washing cars with a hose, no refilling of decorative fountains, ponds, hot tubs or swimming pools. And restaurants are recommended to use paper plates to avoid dishwashing. Check with the district for even more detailed restrictions.

Sonoma County has almost 40% of its total cases in the last two weeks. The Press Democrat reports 11 of the total 16 local deaths happened in that period of time too. 116 new case confirmed on Sunday, the highest day to date since March. And yesterday Sonoma saw 67 more cases for a total that’s getting ever so close to 2,000 – 1,886. The Gov. shuttering a lot of indoor business again and getting even stricter with counties on the state’s watchlist, for which Sonoma is one. It means businesses that have just reopened with new, expensive restrictions to close. And the new restrictions will stay in place at least 3 weeks. The County Health Officer Dr. Sundari Mase says the new cases are due to social gatherings, skilled nursing centers and other residential care facilities outbreaks and large households and workplace bubbles where folks infect each other.

Part of the old airport property in Clearlake could be divvied up and sold. The Clearlake City Council to consider a proposal by a developer to buy some of the land. A proposed letter of intent will be discussed between the city and King Management for a four acre piece of the 27-acre property, just off Highway 53. Lake County News reports the City Manager says there are two parcels the company wants to buy to potentially build a hotel. The city’s working with the developer on ideas. The city manager says the company wants to move fast and erect a national hotel brand at the site. It would either be an outright purchase of the land or maybe a long-term lease agreement. The matter to be visited Thursday after the council has a closed door session on potential lawsuits against Pacific Gas and Electric Co. The meeting will be on the county’s YouTube Channel or local cable.

City council seats up for grabs in Clearlake. Any resident seeking to get involved in city politics can file to run for the November 3rd election. There are three four year term seats open. They’re held now by Phil Harris, Joyce Overton and Russell Perdock. The filing deadline is August 7th unless one or more of those incumbents decides not to file, then they extend the filing period, 5 days to August 12, for nonincumbents. You can grab your candidate packet at the Administrative Services/City Clerk’s Office, but call first to schedule an appointment. 

More coronavirus cases in Lake County. The Public Health Officer reports 13 more, for a total of 121 cases. Lake County News reports late last night the state had reported more than 332,000 cases and almost 7,060 deaths. In Lake County, 30 cases are active and 90 recovered. There has also been one death. Four people are in the hospital currently. 6 others had been hospitalized since the pandemic first arose in March. The Public Health Officer, Dr. Gary Pace says the new cases are following a trend with active cases tracing back to a previously known case, or to a family or social gathering.