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Category Archives: 94.5 K-Wine News

94.5 K-Wine Local News Reports

First responders called out to a serious fire in Boonville this afternoon. Reports say the fire broke out in the 14000 block of Highway 128 around 1:45 PM and spread to several buildings there. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office says you can expect roads around that scene to be closed into the evening because of the fire department activity.

The state is slapping a ban on insurance company non-renewals of homeowner’s policies in areas at high risk for wildfires. Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara says that moratorium will be in effect for at least a year. He says it could mean relief for as many as 800,000 property owners, including many in Northern California, who were told they would no longer be covered once their current policy expires. Lara says more homeowners are being forced into the state’s high-risk pool, which was only intended to be a last resort for people who otherwise couldn’t get insurance. He is calling on insurance companies to work with state lawmakers to come up with a permanent solution.

Local and county governments can now apply for millions of dollars in state emergency aid for the homeless. Governor Newsom has appointed a former presidential advisor to oversee that multi-million dollar plan that was part of the 2019-2020 state budget. He says Matthew Dougherty is an expert on homelessness who worked in both the Obama and Trump administrations. County leaders tell the Lake County News that they are just finding out about the help and will look into it to see if anything is available for Lake County communities

The lights will be bright in Upper Lake on Saturday evening for the community’s annual Holiday Light Parade. The theme of the downtown event this year is the 12 Days of Christmas. In addition to the parade, groups from some Upper Lake Schools will be there selling hot cocoa, hot cider, and school-related merchandise. The festivities start at 6:00 with the parade marching off at 6:30.

An update to the General Plan for the Ukiah Paths, Open Space and Creeks Commission. The commission getting an update from city staffers today. The plan created more than 15 years ago. The Daily Journal reports the work will help prepare, evaluate and come up with a preferred policy and land use alternative that’ll be the backbone of the updated General Plan. There will be scenarios noted in the plan for vacant sites and redevelopment areas plus evaluations of any implications for each alternative. Anyone who didn’t go to the community workshop in September can still submit comments online at ukiah2040.com/participate. There’s a work party too this Saturday with the Ukiah Valley Trail Group along the Rail Trail at 9 AM. RSVP: 707-467-3220.

A man from Fort Bragg’s been arrested after his girlfriend says he assaulted her. Fort Bragg police say employees at Purity Market called to say there was a 17 year old girl hiding there and that her boyfriend was in the store too. Police say the girl had serious trauma and bruising on and around her face and fresh lacerations and minor stab wounds on different areas of her body. Her boyfriend’s identified as 19 year old Francisco Martinez-Rodriguez. She says he also held her against her will several times over two weeks, repeatedly stabbing her and forcing her to cut herself too. He’s now booked on suspicion of committing torture, kidnapping, false imprisonment and domestic violence.

A planned Grocery Outlet in Hidden Valley Lake is being appealed after just being approved about a month ago. In October the Lake County Planning Commission approved the market as part of a major development. Then a group called Lake County Local appealed the commercial and residential development around Highway 29 and Hartmann Road. It will include an active senior village with retail and businesses. The appeal claiming there’s a revised environmental impact report which should have been drafted before the Valley Oaks Grocery Outlet project was approved because of major changes to the report since it was done in 2015.

The winter warming center has opened in Lakeport. At the beginning of the week, the Hope Harbor Warming Center opened for those needing a hot meal and safe place to spend the night. It holds up to 24 guests a night. The center funded by grants from Adventist Health Clear Lake, Sutter Lakeside Hospital and private donations. The funds will keep the shelter open weekdays until next March. The shelter coordinator says they’re there to provide a warm and safe place to sleep for unsheltered individuals during intemperate weather. He says they hope to make it physically and emotionally safe for all, regardless of race, ethnicity, nationality, religion, gender, gender identity or sexual orientation. The Warming Center is at the New Hope Fellowship Church, 305 Peckham Court in Lakeport.

A new report on kids in Lake County shows challenges ahead. Lake Co News reports the Lakeport City Council received the presentation led by First 5 Lake County Tuesday. The State of Our Children report gathered after ten months of research. The report includes the state of the opioid crisis and how that impacts kids. There’s been a rise in perinatal drug use and fetal alcohol and drug use exposure. It also shows low rates of women are going for prenatal care in their first trimester. The report also shows the amount of kids using drugs has spiked with usage the first time, dropping to the age of 8 years old. There’s also been a rise in teen pregnancies and young women not getting early care during their pregnancies.

A three year grant will help Lake Family Resource Center with a new campaign to be able to offer services and support for human trafficking victims. $550,000 from the Office for Victims of Crime, or OVC, an arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. OVC created to promote justice for crime victims. The Lake Family Resource Center Victim Services Program Director says getting the money will help them come up with more programs, more staff and more services. Starting in the New Year Lake Family Resource Center will use the money for human trafficking victims so there are better programs and to help educate the community so they can help victims.

Pacific Gas & Electric asking the judge in its federal bankruptcy case to say yes to an insurance settlement for victims of wildfires. Those opposed say the victims won’t get enough money, especially the uninsured and underinsured. The opposed also say it gives PG&E an unfair advantage to get support for its deeply flawed reorganization plan. The lawyer for the utility says the insurance settlement was the best way for all involved to be treated fairly. The insurance companies have a deadline of tomorrow to get court approval for the settlement. PG&E looking to make an all-cash payments to the insurers. But lawyers for about 70,000 victims say they may be forced to accept stock which could turn into a horrible investment.

North Bay residents may be getting a new psychiatric health care center after years of patients going to emergency rooms for help. The Press Democrat reports Memorial hospital’s ER is overcrowded and the director of nursing operations and emergency services says emergency departments are not the best place to care for those suffering acute psychiatric episodes. Kaiser Permanente, Sutter Santa Rosa Center and Memorial hospital have all donated about $210 thousand dollars for the first year of operating costs for a new psychiatric health center. The Sonoma County Board of Supervisors approved the donations to help Crestwood Behavioral bring a 16-bed regional psychiatric health center. They’re currently searching for a site to hopefully open next fall.

Cal Fire says it will be doing some controlled burning in the Ukiah Valley throughout the month. It’s part of the agency’s Priority Ukiah Fuels Reduction project and when the burns are going on, you may see some smoky conditions daily between 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM as conditions permit. The burn area will cover more than 26,000 acres in the State Response Area, including south of Lake Mendocino, in the communities of El Dorado, Vichy Springs, Talmage, Ukiah Valley, plus the Turtle Creek drainage and the base of Cow Mountain. Cal Fire says the project will protect more than 39,000 residences as part of a 214 million dollar plan approved by Governor Newsom to reduce burn risk in 35 places around the state. You can get more info on the Cal Fire Mendocino Unit social media pages and website.

Fort Bragg police say there is no new information about a man who has been missing since January. 53-year-old Duane Lawrence last spoke with his family on January 29th on his cell phone and told them he was at the Fort Bragg Dollar Tree, but since then, there has been no trace. His family did find his bike near the Paul Bunyan Thrift store on Main Street, and there is unconfirmed information that he may have been sleeping in some nearby dumpsters. His physical and mental health was also said to have been declining around the same time. Duane Lawrence is approximately 5’ 09” tall and he weighed about 180 pounds when he went missing. Duane has brown hair and blue eyes and had a full-beard before his disappearance. He also has a tattoo of a dragon near his right shoulder. If you have any information, you can contact the Fort Bragg PD. Any tips can be kept anonymous.

Officials in the Ukiah Unified School District say they served 1.1 million free meals at 17 different schools in the 2018-2019 school year and will probably top that this year. Food policy advocates say more than 2 million kids in the state are considered food insecure, something researchers believe leads to lower student performance and health and behavioral issues. State Senator Mike McGuire says that’s why he sponsored a bill in 2017 to allow more districts like Ukiah to provide those free meals and to take away the stigma that prevents students from accessing the food they deserve.

The weather is NOT cooperating, so Saturday’s Christmas At The Lake parade in Clear Lake has been canceled.

More options to be considered about separating thousands of acres of land from the Mendocino Coast Health Care District. The Mendocino Local Agency Formation Commission delaying whether the 35,000 acres of land should be separated after a petition from landowners. The land located at 700 River Drive in Fort Bragg. There was supposed to be a public hearing Monday on the matter which was tabled until March. The Health Care District has been opposed to the change saying there wasn’t enough analysis done yet and they didn’t have enough time to go over staff reports.

A couple of giant oak trees in Ukiah falling into power lines, knocking it out for a few hundred. The trees on West Perkins Street fell Sunday. The Ukiah Electric Utility Department says the trees fell on electric and communication lines and 350 customers were in the dark, but most of them had their lights back on after one of the poles was replaced. The others were got their power back hours later.

A new report by state investigators says if PG&E would have paid more attention to their aging equipment, the Camp Fire could have been avoided. The Calif. Public Utilities Commission report shows there had not been an inspection by a PG&E crew in the area of ignition in 17 years. The investigation made public Monday also says a hook that had worn down could have been replaced, preventing the massive fire in the first place. The investigation also shows PG&E was routinely inadequate inspections and maintenance of transmission facilities. 85 people were killed and tens of thousands of homes were destroyed, including almost the entire town of Paradise in Butte County.

The State Controller has released the latest Government Compensation in California report. A website also includes self-reported salary data for K-12 education employers in the state. There’s info on nearly 400,000 positions totally about $16.40 billion in wages for public school districts, charter schools, and county offices of education. Cities, counties, and special districts have to report salary and benefits to Calif.’s State Controller, but K-12 school employers voluntarily report. In Lakeport, reports of about 9.7 million in total wages and more than 3.5 million in retirement contributions, but that doesn’t include all schools.

This week has been declared Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. The California Highway Patrol working with the American Occupational Therapy Association to promote how important mobility and transportation are to make sure older adults are still active in the community, doing their shopping, working or volunteering. They can master all of that knowing they have transportation to get them places. So the CHP is offering a free, two-hour Age Well, Drive Smart course.  More info: www.chp.ca.gov/programs-services .

A man in Butte County’s been arrested after a months long child pornography investigation. The probe started in August, with officers ending up at a home in Chico, finding 69 year old Paul Vigil with more than 600 images of kiddy porn. They served a search warrant finding child pornography on electronic devices they say were downloaded off the internet. Detectives asking anyone who may have information about the man to call the Butte County Sheriff’s Office.

A conservation group in the Bay Area is entering an agreement to buy Alder Creek. It’s the biggest privately owned giant sequoia forest. But Save the Redwoods League, a San Francisco non-profit agency needs another $3 million dollars to close the deal before the end of the year. The 530-acre property is located in Tulare County about 10 miles south of Sequoia National Park. The money raised so far, about 12 million, has been donated from all 50 states and 19 countries. All of the gifts given on Giving Tuesday will be matched 2 to 1 by the Bently Foundation Challenge Grant.

An electrical engineering professor in Texas has reportedly designed a device he says can prevent a wildfire by first detecting power line problems before equipment failures. Texas A&M University Prof. B. Don Russell says he was working on the device to stop someone from being electrocuted by a downed live wire, but happened to find his diagnostic tool, the Distribution Fault Anticipation had another benefit. The equipment is now being tested by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and Southern California Edison. The professor says it’s also being tested in New Zealand and Australia, where devastating wildfires have been burning this year. The tool works by detecting variations in electrical currents because of deteriorating conditions or equipment. It then notifies utility companies so a crew can be dispatched to repair the issue.

California Senator Kamala Harris has ended her 2020 presidential campaign. Harris told supporters today she decided to quit after concluding she didn’t have the finances to go on. Harris was one of the first into the crowded field back in January, but her campaign never really caught on and had recently cut staff and advertising as donations dried up. Her exit comes just before the deadline to get on the March 3rd California primary ballot and scrambles the race for the state’s delegates to next summer’s nominating convention. Other Democrats still in the race were quick to praise Harris, saying her work will continue in the Senate. If she runs again for that job, she’d be up for re-election in 2022.

CHP says a woman wanted in connection with a deadly hit and run crash last summer in Mendocino has turned herself in. Officers say their investigation into the crash last July 18th that killed a skateboarder on Highway 1 led them to 41-year-old Gina Bean of Fort Bragg. Bean was booked into Mendocino County Jail on Monday. A second person, identified as 36-year-old Ricky Santos, was arrested last week and charged with conspiring with Bean to conceal and destroy evidence related to the case.

People from Lake County with medical needs now have more ways to get to and from doctors’ visits and other appointments in Santa Rosa. Lake Transit says it is adding more trips to its Medi-Links service, with those runs to Sonoma County now available 5 days a week. The rides will only run as needed and will pick up passengers and bring them back to the same location. People who use the service tell the Record-Bee that an expanded schedule will be a big help. There’s more information on the website lakelinks.org.

No word still on how much it’s going to cost to repair the Konocti fire lookout tower. The tower taken out of service after a safety inspection in October. Then there were some estimates of between $10,000 and $50,000 to fix it, but apparently it could be even more. The Record Bee reports the regional director for the Forest Fire Lookout Association says they may need a new tower entirely. The tower was erected in 1957. Apparently the 50-plus foot tower’s cab is in disrepair. It was closed for about 12 years, then reopened in 2015 after the Valley Fire. Cal Fire owns the tower but is not planning to repair it. The newspaper reports volunteers are trying to raise funds to have the tower back in service by next fire season.

One man is dead and two people have been injured in a head on crash near Clearlake Oaks. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reports Kenneth Kub Xiong (Shone) of Stockton was killed in the crash on Highway 20 near Walker Ridge Road Saturday afternoon. The CHP reports Xiong was driving at an unsafe speed when Nina Watanabe of Elk Grove was driving in the opposite lane and Xiong lost control crossed the double yellow lines and into Watanabe. All lanes of the highway were blocked for some time. Watanabe and her passenger both had major injuries and Xiong was killed. All of them had on seatbelts. Drugs and alcohol are not suspected as factors in the crash.

A man in Fort Bragg has been arrested for contributing to the delinquency of a minor… a second time. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Dept says they got a call to check on a young female and found that girl in the front passenger seat of a car being driven by Thomas Jordan Jacobs who had a restraining order against him. They say he wouldn’t stop and turned off Highway 1 and sped up, going faster than 100 MPH, so they stopped the chase. Later a car reported down an embankment found to be Jacobs car. Two female teens found in the car, uninjured. Jacobs was arrested for contempt of court since he was on pre-trial release for a different contributing to the delinquency of a minor case. He was held on $35,000.00 bail.

California’s trying to get more primary care doctors in the state so students are being offered full-ride scholarships to medical schools if they’ll stay on. Plus doctors are being offered loan repayment programs to serve low-income residents or work in underserved areas. This is because there’s a shortage of doctors expected over the next decade in Calif. There’s an expected shortage of about 4,000 doctors by 2030. It’s already an issue in rural and inner cities. This past summer the state reportedly offered more than 250 doctors loan repayment plans if they served at least 30% of Medi-Cal patients.

Money’s being raised by the Mendocino Coast Children’s Fund for sleeping bags for kids in the winter. As of yesterday, they had raised more than $4,200 of their $5,200 goal. The sleeping bags for kids so they don’t get sick in the winter and need medicine and miss school. The Winter Warmth Sleeping Bag Project hands out as many as 245 sleeping bags to kids from the fundraiser. Local cops get involved too, giving the children the sleeping bags and helping them choose winter jackets.

The California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) test results have been released by the state.  They’re noted in four categories, Standards Not Met, Standards Nearly Met, Standards Met and Standards Exceeded. It’s for third to eighth and eleventh graders. In Lake County, Kelseyville Schools were up in English and at Konocti schools, they were up in English and math from a year ago. Lakeport was down in English and math, the superintendent says it was a tumultuous year with a lack of focus. And in Lucerne they were up in English and math. Middletown schools had slight gains and the same for Upper Lake in English, but they were off in math.

The state attorney general is suing the Neptune Society saying it kept about $100 million dollars instead of keeping it for folks who signed up for prepaid cremation service plans. So some customers didn’t get full refunds when canceling contracts. The lawsuit also claims others, who may want a refund, wouldn’t be able to get their money at all.  The lawsuit also claims the company said it was using its own crematoriums but actually they contracted out the business and accelerated payments when customers died.

 

A stable real estate market in Lake County, according to the Lake County Association of Realtors. October numbers show a slight drop in both sales and prices compared to September., with sales also off by around 3 percent from last October. The median home price in the county is $269,000, up about $10,000 from last October. Association President Mary Benson tells the Lake County News that would be home buyers are finding it hard to get affordable insurance, so she says anyone looking at homes should factor that in as they peruse the market. Statewide figures show the median price for a new home in California is just over $600,000.

Lakeport police will be investigating how an empty abandoned vehicle ended up submerged in Clear Lake. A Facebook post from the Department of Public Works shows the vehicle being fished out of the water near the Third Street boat ramp in Library Park this morning, with an assist by a public works crew. So far, no word on who owns the SUV, or the circumstances surrounding its trip into the water.

Governor Gavin Newsom is off to Iowa to try to boost Senator Kamala Harris’ lagging presidential campaign. He has his work cut out for him though. Polls show the Senator well behind in the crowded Democratic field, with just over two months until the first caucuses and primaries.

Lots of communities are getting into the holiday spirit, with Christmas just over three weeks away. Among them, Kelseyville, where Main Street will come to light Friday evening starting at 5:30 with the 29th annual Christmas in the Country, featuring an 80 foot Christmas tree, wagon rides from a team of Belgian draft horses and the Christmas parade which steps off at 6:30. Santa will even find time in his packed schedule to be there too at 7:00.

The recent rain has been good for the dry ground, and good for spawning salmon in the Eel River too, Kym Kemp.com reports observers are finding more fish making it upstream, with their trip made easier by the rising water levels. Still, the odds are against the salmon making it to their spawning grounds or for any of their spawn surviving to adulthood to complete the cycle.

Rain wasn’t kind to those still living in temporary housing, more than a year after the Camp Fire.  The storm that barreled through with freezing temperatures and high winds in Butte County dropped snow last Tuesday. People living in trailers, cars or tents having to purchase generators to stay warm. Local reports that temporary housing continues for some who are back to their burned out lots because they have nowhere else to go. Officials in Paradise say there are about 500 living without permanent shelter after the fire and 150 or so have permits to live temporarily on their burned properties in Butte County. But there are more camping without permits too.

Adventist Health looks to be taking over Mendocino Coast District Hospital. An agreement has been approved by the board of directors for thirty years. There will be lease payments as part of an escrow account to get to about $25 million by 2024 for a seismic retrofit, or a new hospital. The Interim CEO for the hospital made the announcement, saying by getting the lease payments added to the deal, the hospital will have a good amount of money within ten years for the retrofit or a new hospital. Existing services will stay for at least two years and existing employment arrangements are staying in place for 90 days, then new contracts will be up for renegotiation next summer. The board was considering management of the hospital, but they needed further legal counsel on that part of the agreement.

A known gang member faces charges after a stop by Deputies turns up a gun. 18-year-old Daniel Ayala stopped early Sunday morning in Redwood Valley. Deputies recognized Ayala and found a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm handgun. He was on probation for prior weapons charge, so he was arrested on multiple charges, including the probation violation. He faces a possible felony charge for carrying a loaded firearm. He was booked into the Mendocino County Jail and held on $55,000 bail.

A man in Potter Valley’s been arrested on domestic violence charges. The Sheriff’s Dept. reports two people had an altercation, one had minor injuries. Several people apparently witnessed the fight between a man and woman, the woman with several injuries she says were caused by her boyfriend, Alfred Husary. Husary also had minor injuries on his face. Neither of them required medical attention at the scene for their injuries. Husary was arrested as the primary aggressor and charged with domestic violence battery and held on $25,000.00 bail.

A search is on at both the University of California and California State University systems for leaders. The two jobs open at the same time. The Press Democrat reports each of the university systems looking for leaders to take on admission demands, can increase student diversity, raise academic achievement, lower costs, secure stable sources of money and deal with challenging politics. The two positions announced after UC President Janet Napolitano and Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White announced they would each be leaving by next summer. The Cal State system is the largest in the country with almost 500,000 students on 23 campuses. The UC system has about 280,000 students.

PG&E says their public safety power shutoffs were a success. The utility says while power was out in Red Flag warning weather, there were no damaging wildfires. But the company has not denied the possibility that a failed transmission line could have been the cause of the massive Kincade fire in Wine Country. There’s no official cause of the fire, but there was a report by PG&E about a problem at a transmission tower near where the fire started last month. The Press Democrat reports electricity was apparently still flowing thru less vulnerable transmission lines. In bankruptcy court, the utility company reported “no fatalities and no structures destroyed in any wildfire that may have been caused by PG&E distribution lines” in all of 2019.

New rules being considered in Lakeport for wireless communications for small cell facilities. The City Council is considering new rules after a Federal Communications Commission ruling a year ago for smaller, tightly grouped together cell service facilities for “5G” cell service. So now the City of Lakeport has an urgency ordinance for basic guidelines to follow the new federally-backed “small cell” idea. The cell infrastructure could be grouped in with existing cell tower rules. The City Council is looking for comments from the public on the proposed ordinance.

Almost 4 dozen families got Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings thanks to the kindness of strangers. Clearlake United Methodist gave 47 families a turkey and all the rest with donations from the city of Clearlake, Clearlake Police Association and Golden State Water Co. Lake Co News reports the city of Clearlake and Golden State Water Co. provided the turkeys and Clearlake Police got all the sides and pies. There were holiday services at the church yesterday with live music and video.

A carjacking suspect is dead after getting put in a restraint by sheriff’s deputies outside Sebastopol. Sheriff’s officials say deputies meant to make him unconscious following a chase yesterday morning. The man was reported to have experienced a medical emergency after being put in handcuffs and he was rushed to Petaluma Valley Hospital, where he died.

Developers are fighting back against a new Windsor regulation that bans natural gas in new homes. The county is getting sued by developers who aren’t ok with the city requiring that most new homes use electric appliances for cooking and heating instead of natural gas technology. They claim the ban violates state environmental law and ignores the increased use of generators by folks who live in homes that don’t have gas.

SMART will be offering free rides for all passengers during limited service through December 1st. The free rides on five northbound and five southbound trains from San Rafael to the Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport.

The Placer County Sheriff’s Office is warning folks about a credit card skimming operation going on in Auburn. Deputies say that they have found several skimmers at numerous gas stations throughout the area. Multiple pumps had the skimmers embedded in them, so it was pretty much impossible to know what was happening. At this time, the Sheriff’s Office recommends monitoring your bank account and credit cards for unauthorized transactions. The suspects have been known to use the stolen credit card info to buy gift cards. If your card or statements have been affected, contact the sheriff’s office. To avoid skimmers, go inside and pay the cashier; and, better yet, use cash.

Seven people are displaced from their home following a Thanksgiving Day apartment fire in Fairfield. Flames broke out yesterday morning on Gregory Street. Firefighters were able to get it under control relatively quickly, but four units were destroyed. Investigators say the fire was accidental and caused by the soldering of pipes. Damage is estimated at 100-thousand dollars.

With Black Friday sales going on across the nation, the Regional Park District in the East Bay wants people to come visit their parks instead of shopping. District officials said on Thursday that they are waiving fees for activities at their parks during Black Friday in an effort to encourage people to spend the day outdoors. This has been a tradition for the East Bay Regional Park District. This is the fifth year in a row for the event called “Green Friday.”

Humane Society Silicon Valley is helping save animals across California thanks to a Petco grant. The organization got a grant from the Petco Foundation in September. They used the 61-thousand-dollar grant to buy a truck that helps re-home homeless dogs and cats awaiting adoption in shelters throughout California. It travels between northern and southern parts of the state, relieving shelters of dogs and cats that struggle to find a home.

Folks in the South Bay who are looking to adopt a pet are in luck. Humane Society Silicon Valley is launching its Home for the Holidays adoption program today in which any adult animal at its three locations has adoption fees of just twenty bucks. The program highlights animals that have been with the organization for a long time or have special needs. People can take advantage of the offer through January 5th.

Fire officials are warning folks to make sure your fireplaces are cleaned and inspected every year before firing them up in the winter. Several house fires this time of year are started after someone starts a fire without having their chimney cleaned and properly inspected.

A body was discovered Thursday night after a fire near Middletown. Fire crews received the call of a fire on Grange Road at around 6 pm, when they arrived, they found an RV engulfed in flames right beside the home. Unfortunately, the firefighters didn’t have any water supply. At 6:30, crews were able to search the RV finally and found the body. The fire was tapped out shortly before 6:40 pm. At this time, no information has been made available.

The two men charged with the murder of a Lucerne man made their first court appearance on Tuesday. 49-year-old Daniel Ford and 35-year-old Michael Shaffer who allegedly killed 70-year-old Nicky Smith last Saturday morning and left his body on the side of the road near Lakeport. Both men were arrested that evening and are facing numerous charges of murder committed during an attempted robbery, kidnapping, and carjacking. The Lake County News reports that District Attorney Susan Krones said that this wasn’t a random killing Smith had prior contact with both Ford and Shaffer. The two are at the Lake County Jail without bond.

Mendocino County Law enforcement arrested a man in connection to the hit-and-run death of a skateboarder back in July. 21-year-old Calum Pulido got hit by a car on Little Lake Road near the intersection of Highway 1 in Mendocino. According to the Press Democrat, 36-year-old Ricky Santos was arrested Wednesday and charged with being an accessory. Santos was the passenger in the car, CHP is still searching for the driver 41-year-old Gina Bean.

The Kincade burn area is under a Flash Flood Watch with a storm expected to roll in sometime tomorrow, bringing heavy rains that could last until early Monday morning. That could trigger flash flooding in the northern Sonoma County-area that was scarred by wildfires back in October.

The Clearlake Police Department initiated ‘Operation Drive Safe,’ special enforcement that focused on traffic-related violations on Tuesday. Between 8 am until 6 pm, regular patrol, including five additional officers, racked up a total of 74 traffic stops. Ten criminal, 27 moving, and 17 parking citations were issued and 11 arrests. Officials with the Clearlake PD want to make sure that local drivers and visitors from out of town get to their holiday destinations safely; plus, it makes Clearlake a cleaner, safer city.

The Ukiah Salvation Army needs Bell Ringers for its annual Red Kettle Campaign in Mendocino County. The posts set up this year in Ukaih will be at Safeway, Walmart, Lucky Supermarket, and Raley’s and in Willits (Will-lets) at the Grocery Outlet. The money raised in Mendocino County stays in the county to help with a variety of programs ranging from food pantries, emergency food and housing services, seasonal fundraising, and so much more. Each volunteer session is two hours, and volunteers are protected from the elements throughout the time.

The 12th annual “Wreaths Across America” commemoration in Lake County is Saturday, December 14th. Every year millions of Americans gather to remember the fallen and honor those who serve and teach the next generation about the value of freedom. The National Wreaths Across America Day event takes place in local and national cemeteries in all 50 states. In Lake County, ceremonies are being held at Hartley, Kelseyville, Lower Lake, Middletown, St. Mary’s, and Upper Lake.

A federal bankruptcy court judge rejected Pacific Gas & Electric’s latest attempt to change the state law that requires utilities to pay for the damage caused by wildfires if ignited by their equipment. Utilities used to be able to recoup their losses by raising rates, but two years ago the Public Utilities Commission rejected a request from San Diego Gas & Electric to do so after their equipment sparked major fires in the region. PG&E can still appeal the decision.

Homeless people at the Joe Rodota Trail homeless camp in Santa Rosa now has access to toilets. Portable toilets and hand-washing stations are now at the encampment, which houses at least 170 people. An advocate group worked to get the facilities, which were delivered earlier this week.

Two Sonoma County residents are being identified as the victims of a deadly crash in San Jose. The bodies of 22-year-old Dominique Uribe and 26-year-old Giovanni Broussard was found last week off Highway 101. An investigation shows their vehicle left the highway and started rolling, hitting at least one tree before stopping. It wasn’t immediately known why the vehicle left the road.

The California DMV made millions last year from selling drivers’ personal data. Data obtained by Motherboard, Vice’s tech news site, found the DMV made over 51-million dollars by selling driver’s information to interested parties during 2018 to 2019 fiscal year. Drivers’ names, addresses, and car registration information were some of the data being sold.

Needy families were given plenty of goods after the nation’s largest timed turkey trot in the Bay Area. This is the event’s 15th year and it drew over 22-thousand runners and raised an estimated 900-thousand dollars. According to officials, the race has raised over eight-point-seven-million dollars for five charities over the course of its fifteen years.