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Birders will be out over the next few weeks in Mendocino County for the annual Christmas-time bird count. The Ukiah Peregrine Audubon Society does this every year as part of a nationwide effort to see what species are around. Last year’s event wasn’t on a particularly good day to spot birds- it was cloudy and misty-but the 50 or so people who show up saw more than 35 thousand birds, including at least two which are considered rare in the Oak Manor Park area. You can learn more at an informational meeting at 7:00 this evening at the Civic Center on Seminary Avenue.

The state is slapping CVS with a big penalty for failure to pay the whole redemption value of recyclable bottles and cans. CalRecycle says 81 of the 848 CVS pharmacies in the state failed to refund the right CRV and so the chain has been docked 3.6 million dollars. It is the biggest penalty in years, according to the consumer group Public Watchdog. Officials say shortchanging even a few cents per container adds up, and amounts to an extra tax on consumers. Many private recyclers have closed because the price they can get for that scrap metal and plastic has dropped dramatically in the past few years. That’s left supermarkets and large stores as the only convenient places for many people to get their cash value back. Large stores without a recycling center within half a mile are required to take back the empties.

Hundreds of PG&E customers in Mendocino and Lake counties are getting ready for an evening in the dark. The scope of the public safety power shutoff isn’t as big as projected 24 hours ago, but it’s cold comfort to 173 customers in Mendocino County and another 12,000 or so in Lake County. The Mendocino Executive office says those outages are along Highway 175 in the Old Hopland area to the Sonoma County line. Lake County says most of its outages are in Hidden Valley Lake and Middletown areas. The power down started around 7:00 this morning and the all clear could come in the wee hours Thursday, with PG&E hoping to inspect and re-energize those lines within 24 hours for everyone.

The utility says the weather has cooperated, with winds not as high as projected and some parts of its service area even getting some badly needed rain. The Red Flag Advisory is still up for interior Mendocino County and much of Lake County until early Thursday. After that, fire weather conditions are expected to fall below threat levels, at least for the next few days.

The PG & E website has an interactive map and updates are being posted on government pages and social media channels.

Residents in Lake County’s Northshore area will have a chance to find out more about plans to slow traffic on Highway 20 in Nice, Lucerne, Glenhaven and Clearlake Oaks. There are actually two identical workshops planned December 4th from 4:00 to 5:00. One is at the Northshore Event Center, in Nice, the other is at the Northshore Fire Station in Clearlake Oaks. Final design work is under way for the project that will improve walking, biking and transit use along that road. The Lake Area Planning Council is involved in the job. A CalTrans grant is paying for it.

A “Neighborfest” has been announced by New Paradigm College, a hands-on planning workshop to be more prepared for emergencies. The event in partnership with North Coast Opportunities at “The Lucerne Castle” next Friday afternoon at 1. The college explains it, as neighbors celebrating together are more prepared for emergencies. Adding it’s designed to help neighborhoods organize their own events and festivals and apply for funding. Those who attend will learn how to plan, fund and host their own event. It’s free, but you have to register, visit: http://party.npc2020.net

Willits police say there were no threats to schools, but they’ve had a lock down. A call to the High School yesterday after a rumor a student might have a gun. When cops got there, they found the student was not on school grounds, but the school was placed on lockdown as a precaution just before 11 am yesterday morning. The student was found around 11 and detained. Police say the student had an airsoft pistol which they confiscated. They say there was never a threat and the child never entered school grounds.

The Downtown Streetscape Project in Ukiah is becoming a reality. Nearly a unanimous vote in favor of the project by the City Council. The Daily Journal reports the plan will reduce State street from two lanes to one, with a center left turn lane in each direction. It will also have wider sidewalks, safer crosswalks, new streetlights, more landscaping and benches to sit on. Temporary ramps will be installed for pedestrian access and no businesses will have to close. The project is going out to bid, then it has to come back to the City Council to decide who to work with. Construction is slated to start at the beginning of 2020.

An enthusiastic thumbs up by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to start collecting taxes from private campgrounds, RV parks, and tent sites. But that’s not it, as voters also have to approve the transient occupancy tax. Right now there’s a transient occupancy tax for “lodging establishments” for hotels, motels and the like. The election would take place on the presidential primary ballot, March 3, 2020. The county has indicated the tax revenue would be used for fire agencies in Mendocino County and the rest at the discretion of the Fire Chief’s Association.

A planning commissioner has been chosen in Clearlake. 3 people applied for the position and the City Council made their decision last night to appoint Erin McCarrick. She has a decade of experience working in politics and for nonprofits in North Dakota and South Dakota then came to Calif. for grad school. Lake Co News reports she moved to Lake County helping with local hiring after the Valley and Clayton fires. She’s also a consultant and owns two cannabis businesses: Clearlake Ventures, in Clearlake, and Cara Farms, in Potter Valley.

Cops in Lakeport investigating a fake jewelry scam. Several victims approached by a man, described as possibly of Middle Eastern descent, about 5 foot 8, with a thin build and a short beard. The man says he was robbed and all he had left was a gold chain and ring and tried to sell it for $500, stating it’s really worth $3,000. One victim said he only had $128 and says the suspect gave him the jewelry, took his money and took off in a newer black Cadillac Escalade. The jewelry was found to be worthless. The jeweler who appraised it told police 8 different people brought him the same jewelry from people describing a similar situation, describing the same suspect.

Sonoma Clean Power is reportedly investigating what it would take, to take over, PG&E. The company is a public agency supplying renewable energy to Sonoma and Mendocino counties. Its board of directors voted unanimously for staffers to start exploring what it would look like for an acquisition of PG&E power lines and other equipment. It comes after the public safety power shutoffs, numerous deadly fires dating back to 2017 and the utility company’s bankruptcy filing earlier this year. A spokesperson for PG&E says their power facilities are not for sale and changing the company’s structure would not make for a safer operation.

Still no word what caused a fishing vessel out of Fort Bragg to capsize out of Jenner. The family that owned the vessel, Miss Hailee says there were no signs of trouble for the boat that turned over with 4 crew members aboard. 3 were rescued, a fourth has still not been found since their fishing trip last weekend. The man still missing has been identified as Arnulfo “Amigo” Santiago. The boat captain is still recovering from severe hypothermia. The Miss Hailee was a 54-foot wooden vessel built in Fort Bragg in 1970 owned by the Richard Kelley family. The story was that the crew were fishing off Fort Bragg before heading south and ran into trouble. The Coast Guard searched two days with no luck finding the still missing Santiago.

A better look for cell tower infrastructure when it comes to 5G wireless in Fort Bragg. The City Council has approved new aesthetic guidelines for the location and look of infrastructure for 5G wireless technology in city limits. Those at this week’s meeting brought up potential health threats from radiation and even how it might affect the beehives behind the Guest House. The City Manager says they’re following carefully written federal law for how local governments handle 5G technology. Earlier this year the City Council approved aesthetic guidelines for future wireless infrastructure but it was reportedly the only choice from FCC regulations passed in 2018, but they can decide on the look of the technology locally.

The legislature is trying to make it law for municipalities to be able to yank police officer badges for officers with a history of criminal activity or serious misconduct. This comes after an investigation across the state showed more than 80 working cops in Calif. have a prior criminal conviction. So the state public safety committee is considering the matter. The investigation showed California one of only five states that don’t “decertify” an officer for misconduct or revoke their license. The investigation also said some rural departments had a history of hiring the officers, others would not, specifically in the city of McFarland in Kern County where they had a ratio of one in five officers over the last decade, were either sued or fired from another department for misconduct or they’d been convicted of a crime.

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We are heading into this weekend in MUCH better shape than we were at the start of the week. CalFire reports progress at the Kincaid fire, saying it is 64 percent contained and on the Burris Fire, , calling it 94 percent contained, with full containment possible by Sunday. The number of people who can’t go home is also dropping substantially with 5 more evacuation warnings lifted in the Kincaid fire zone in Sonoma and Napa Counties. PG & E calls the public safety shutoff essentially over, but another 24,000 customers in Sonoma County have no natural gas service because of the risk of explosions and may not have their heating and cooking fuel back until Monday.

While the weather conditions have improved with cooler temperatures and no high winds expected, there is no RAIN expected anytime soon either, so officials are urging everyone to remember that even the smallest spark can still set off a major fire. That means things like being careful when using lawnmowers and other power equipment outside and not driving vehicles into dry grass or brush.

The Mendocino County Economic Development and Finance Corporation is offering a way for small business owners recover from this week’s shutoffs and prepare for future events like it that could take a toll on the bottom line. The organization has set up a special loan fund that will offer low interest loans at three percent up to $50,000 dollars for small business to recover losses or invest in emergency preparedness. EFDC director Heather Gurewitz calls it a community service for local business that have gone through though a tough time. There’s information about the loans and the qualifications at the website EFDC.org.

A Democratic congressman from California is calling for a public takeover of PG & E, saying the utility is putting its profits and its investors over public safety. Congressman Ro Kahana says the for profit utility model doesn’t work any more. Meanwhile, Govenor Newsom has created a new cabinet level position of energy czar to oversee the state’s utilities including PG & E and fix a system the governor thinks is broken.

Don’t forget it’s FALL BACK to Pacific Standard time on Sunday morning. California is one of several states looking at proposals to end the annual clock-changing ritual. Last year, voters overwhelmingly said YES to Proposition 7 giving the legislature the power to vote on going to Daylight Saving Time year round as long as congress approves. Opponents say a single time would be disrupting and confusing unless the 3 bordering states and Mexico do the same. Meanwhile, firefighting groups say you should also use the time change as a reminder to check to make sure your smoke alarms are working properly.

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The Mendocino County Counsel is leaving. The Board of Supervisors announced Katharine Elliott has resigned to go to Nevada County for a job. Her last day is October 18th. Elliott was first a Deputy County Counsel, starting in April of 2015 after leaving private practice. She was quickly appointed Acting County Counsel and selected permanent County Counsel in March of 2016. She has worked on the County’s cannabis ordinances, advised the County on the creation of protocols and resolutions after several wildfires, and advised County departments, special districts and commissions on other legal matters.

Firelines reinforced on the fire outside Covelo, the Henthorne Fire which is burning in steep, rugged terrain. Firefighters have the fire 35% contained after burning 244 acres. Forward movement has been stopped and some firefighters are moving off the fire. In Plumas County, that giant fire near the town of Gennessee, the Walker Fire has burned more than 47,300 acres and is 20 percent contained. The Red Bank Fire in Tehama County is 75% contained after burning more than 8,800 acres with two structures destroyed. The fire was caused by a lightning strike.

After a Grand Jury report on the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District, the district speaks out on the findings. The Daily Journal reports the report was released in June calling for more transparency by the District. It goes on the say the city and Sanitation District asked for new sewer rates, and comments on the lawsuit between the two entities which ended up costing $9 million in legal and administrative fees and the city paying the district nearly $5 million after the lawsuit. It says also that there’s needless spending by the two agencies, that being the city and district, who are jointly responsible for a single sanitation system. The District Board Chair Theresa McNerlin responds that they disagree “wholly or partially” with 12 of the 14 findings and two of four recommendations won’t be happening.

A couple of jobs added in the Mendocino County DA’s office. This week the Board of Supervisors said yes to a full time Legal Services Supervisor, Senior Legal Assistant, and District Attorney Investigator, and there will also be a Sheriff’s Legal Assistant. The county is cutting the position of Office Services Supervisors. The positions duties are as follows: Senior Legal Assistant does paralegal work with a monthly salary of about 3,600- 4,400, the District Attorney Investigator was cut due to budgetary reasons and will be back on. The Sheriff’s Office Legal Secretary will be called a Sheriff’s Legal Specialist with differing job skills needed and a monthly salary between 3200-4,000.

Mystery around the sudden dismissal of the Middletown High School girls and boys cross country team coach Don Cobb. Cobb taking the teams to North Central League championships last year and just ahead of this year’s practices starting, he was relieved. This from the principal of the school who told the Record Bee newspaper Monday that it’s a personnel matter he can’t discuss. He added it was a “super sensitive matter.” The Assistant coach Anna Schneider will take over for the rest of the 2019 season. Cobb told the newspaper he accepted the decision and is moving on with his life.

Lake County considering a sales tax measure next year for road improvement. District 2 Supervisor Bruno Sabatier broached the subject at the meeting Tuesday talking about the poor condition of pavement throughout the County and said unless they add more money to the problem, roads probably won’t get much better in the next 10 years. The Public Works Director Scott De Leon says a one cent sales tax could help. Any sales tax measure put on the ballot next year needs a two-thirds supermajority to pass. The same thing has been in the works before and failed. District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown says it’s because residents in Lakeport and Clearlake voted against it.

Two women from Oklahoma accused of an ambush and murder plot have been arrested in Northern Calif. The two are sisters, 27 year old Tierzah Mapson and 28 year old Elise. They were arrested in Fortuna after both federal and state authorities found them at a campsite. Another sister and alleged co-conspirator, Charis Mapson, was arrested last week in Oklahoma. The three to be taken to Alabama after being accused there of trying to lure Tierzah’s ex, the dad of her child, and his new girlfriend to a remote area where dad was shot by one of the sisters. The trio face conspiracy, attempted murder and more. No word who did the shooting, but cops noted Charis was a former U.S. Marine marksman.

The Gov. joining 11 others to call on the federal government to act on gun reform. Newsom saying we’re at a tipping point and that Washington needs to step up and stop with the “empty rhetoric, listen and take meaningful action”. The Governors urging President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Congress to pass sensible gun legislation featuring four policies which have wide support by most Americans:

  • Pass Extreme Risk Protection Order legislation, commonly referred to as Red Flag laws, preventing individuals who pose a risk to themselves or others from purchasing or possessing a firearm;
  • Pass universal background checks closing the private gun sales loophole;
  • Outlaw assault weapons and high-capacity magazines; and;
  • Establish stricter reporting requirements to prevent those deemed by a mental health professional to be a danger to themselves or others from purchasing a firearm.

The Clearlake City Council apparently going to turn down bids for a couple of chip seal projects. The matter on the agenda for tomorrow night’s meeting to reject the bids for the double chip seal project in the Southwest Avenues. Apparently the two bids that came in were a lot more than what the city engineer estimated, $70,000.00. The matter to be tabled because this time of year, it costs more for this type of work, so they’re looking for rebids in the Spring. It would be paid for by the city’s Measure V road tax.

One of the Lake County Supervisors has been appointed to the State Board of Fire Services. Governor Newsom has appointed District 1 Supervisor Moke Simon to the panel of 17 who reports to the California State Fire Marshal. The Marshal is the chair of the board which also has representatives from local governments, the fire service and firefighter associations, the insurance industry and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. They look at various issues including fire protection and prevention, developing technical and performance standards for training of fire service personnel, coming up with policies for the certification system for the California Fire Service, advising the State Fire Marshal on regulations, and work like an appeals board on the application of California State Fire Marshal regulations.

The Gov. gets legislation to overhaul how California approves charter schools. The Press Democrat reports the state Assembly passed it 56-16 so that no more charter schools are authorized by the state, it would instead be up to individual school districts and county governments.  It also means charter school teachers need to be credentialed and those already teaching have to be credentialed, if they’re not, within five years. The author of the bill, Democratic Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell of Long Beach says it means more flexibility for school districts and their communities. Right now there are about 1,300 charter schools in Calif. which are publicly funded.

A man in Northern Calif. busted after stashing weapons and ammo in a bunker. The Red Bluff Daily Record reports Gary Stiles was nabbed Monday on weapons violations and surrendered the guns found in the bunker due to a restraining order filed against him because several people say he harassed them. That’s who tipped cops off. The man’s steel survival bunker was found about 10 feet underground. That’s where dozens of handguns, rifles and shotguns, including illegal semi-automatic rifles; 50 high-capacity magazines and as much as 50,000 rounds of ammo were found.

DA’s and Public Defenders are planning to strike in Mendocino County. The Mendocino County Public Attorneys Association negotiating a new deal with the Board of Supervisors since last fall, their contract ended this past January. The union says it made an offer to the county’s negotiating lawyer and got no response until last month, but negotiations have mostly gone nowhere. The union says while the board gave itself a 17 percent raise last year, public servants continue to struggle as the county continues to pay out of market rates, 35-45 percent less than comparable markets. The union says it thinks they’re at an impasse. The union says the latest offer was for 4% more, and that’s unacceptable.

Police have arrested a man in Fort Bragg after a couple of shootings they say were to lure young people. Police say the shootings July 10th and 11th didn’t hurt anybody, but some buildings were hit. Police collected evidence there and went around the neighborhood looking for probationers and parolees with possible gang ties. They arrested one person for a parole violation who they say may be involved in six shootings since March. They say 32 year old Harry Mila was trying to get youngsters to engage with him in gang-like behavior and warn if you see him around your kids, it’s not good.

A wildfire we told you about in Napa is fully contained. The Canyon Fire was 100% contained yesterday after breaking out Monday afternoon on Wragg Cyn Rd and Hwy 128 at Lake Berryessa. Another fire, the Marshview fire in Solano County started yesterday on I-680 and Marshview Rd. near Cordelia. The two fires together burned 64 acres. The two fires are under investigation.

Nuisance vehicles in Fort Bragg are going to be pulled, but there’s still no ordinance on public camping. The City Council said yes to the first reading of the “nuisance vehicles” ordinance in order to remove cars from city streets. Vehicles abandoned, unregistered and inoperable or used for storage or camping can be cited. And the council tabled a vote to ban most camping in town, and ban sleeping in cars in the Central Business District, and other rules. But the Mayor pulled it from the agenda saying they’d return to it again in the future.

A packed Lakeport School Board meeting with parents, students and others discussing what should be done with leftover bond money. There’s more than 1.3 million dollars left over in the fund. The Record Bee reports some speaking wanted a pool, or others wanted a fitness center. One estimate for a new pool came in at just under 2 million, that was without locker rooms and American Disabilities Act accessibility bathrooms. Some at the meeting complained there could be no swim team without a pool, and others simply wanted air conditioning added to the gymnasium. The board president speaking to the standing room only crowd saying the discussion on air conditioning should be talked about, but later. The board also discussed their budget and the possibility of laying off some people, including a high school counselor, computer tech, crossing guard, and special education para-professional.  

The three investor owned utility companies in Calif. have all said they’d be open to putting money into a new fund to cover the costs of future wildfire disasters associated with their equipment. San Diego Gas & Electric already agreed to put money into the $10.5 billion dollar fund and Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric agreed yesterday. It’s not agreed yet what each will put up yet, because rules for the plan it depends on the company’s individual risk of catastrophic wildfire and prior history with safety. P,G&E is reportedly paying more than the others, but only after it gets out of bankruptcy. And San Diego Gas & Electric will pay the least.

 

More than a dozen local governments in Northern California have agreed to settle with PG&E after their equipment was blamed for starting fires. The settlements with government bodies including Paradise and Butte County worth up to $1 billion have to be approved by the judge overseeing the Pacific Gas & Electric bankruptcy case. A mediator reportedly helped negotiate the deal which would give the town of Paradise $270 million, $252 million for Butte County, and $47.5 million for the Paradise Recreation and Parks District. The deal after several days of mediation in San Francisco with a retired Judge and 14 public entities who had claims from the 2015 Butte Fire, the 2017 North Bay Fires and the 2018 Camp Fire.

PG&E’s plan to cut power during fire weather events could leave Ukiah in the dark too. The city has its own Electric company, but as the Daily Journal reports the energy is delivered over high voltage transmission lines used jointly by several California utilities. So the “Public Safety Power Shutoffs” resulting in “high-risk transmission lines” being turned off could mean folks are in the dark in Ukiah too. This will be addressed at the City Council meeting tonight.  The newspaper reports city staff noting they will work hard to restore electrical services for customers as quickly as possible, but also note that customers should prepare for no power for up to 48 hours at a time.

The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors hearing about code enforcement from the Department of Planning and Building Services. Improvements to that department have mean less complaints than last year. The Daily Journal reports violation notices are also on the decline year over year. There are a couple hundred open code enforcement cases, mostly due to unpermitted construction and grading, cannabis complaints, unauthorized development, and problems with structures.

Good news for a couple of high school teams from Ukiah who went to a National Competition for underwater robotics. The teams represented Northern Calif. at the SeaPerch Challenge in Maryland. The “Torque Team” was 7th and “H2Bros” finished 29th out of 84 high school teams. The program is to build Remotely Operated Vehicles out of a kit and those who win have to be top of their game in physics, engineering and math. The Daily Journal reports it’s Ukiah High’s third year in a row to go to Nationals.

A greenlight in Lakeport for the city to declare anyone with dry weeds, brush and other vegetation declared a public nuisance. The City Council tells city staff to find a way to encourage the hazards be removed using current citation procedures to get folks to comply. It’s all to reduce the risk of wildfires. The Lakeport Fire Protection District putting pressure on property owners to get rid of the vegetation off vacant and large lots, sending notices last month with a June 1st deadline to get the weeds and brush removed. The city then inspected the properties to see if they were in compliance and found about 100 were not, but there were also late season rains, which added more weeds.

The Teacher of the Year has been named in Lake County. An education specialist and resource teacher from Mountain Vista Middle School, Kerry Smith ets the honor. The school principal says Smith is “positive, funny, kind, exciting, friendly and helpful”. She also was touted for her teaching skills for students who get independent education plans. She teaches grades 6-8, working with math teachers and general education students struggling with math. Smith and other Teachers will be honored in October at an Excellence in Education Awards Dinner in Lakeport.

The Lake County Public Works director has been names as the interim Water Resources director. The Board of Supervisors has named Scott De Leon as interim Water Resources director. Lake Co News reports the board announced De Leon accepted the appointment until there’s a full recruitment for the job. The last Water Resources director, David Cowan is moving back to his home state of Texas to be the watershed manager, where he says he can be closer to his grandkids.

A kidney doctor in Lakeport has lost his license due to a sex assault case. Lake Co News reports the Medical Board of California revoked Dr. Mohamad Moutaz Almawaldi’s license last week after he pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of sexual battery. He got three years probation and he has to register as a sex offender, that’s what led to the loss of his license. It all goes back to the case from August 2017 where a former employee of Almawaldi’s says he forcefully kissed her and pulled down her shirt. He was arrested last year in the case and later indicted. The case was then reported to the Medical Board of California.

Some fire starts in the Mendocino National Forest after a recent lightning storm in the Yolla Bolly Wilderness. Lake Co News reports the fire was spotted Monday from the Anthony Peak Lookout. It has been named the East Fire and was reported about 43 miles west of Red Bluff and charred 40 acres so far. Smokejumpers were assigned to the fire which is burning in the Yellow fire scar from back in 2008. Another fire’s being monitored, the Haynes fire.

The Gov. has apologized to California Native American Peoples for violence, mistreatment and neglect against them over many years. Gov. Newsom has also announced he’s started the Truth and Healing Council for Native Americans to tell their side of events between the state and tribes. Newsom says the state has to “reckon with our dark history” after Native Americans suffered violence, discrimination and exploitation which had been sanctioned by the state over many years.  The Governor’s new council will be led and convened by his tribal advisor. There will also be representatives from tribes, state and local agencies and other relevant non-governmental stakeholders.

A new chief has been named for the Russian River Fire Protection District. Sonoma County Fire Chief Mark Heine of Windsor will take over, managing 11 firefighters who work on about 20 square miles along the Russian River between Forestville and Monte Rio. The same Chief was named for Windsor and Rincon Valley, then added the Bennett Valley and Mountain fire agencies. The four agencies all consolidated and known now as the Sonoma County Fire District. The Russian River district has not had a chief since the end of 2017, when the last Chief Max Ming was fired without public explanation.

A man from Potter Valley has been killed after a solo car crash on the 101 north of the Sonoma County line. The CHP reports the man in his mid 40’s, was headed north towards Mendocino County yesterday afternoon around 5:30 at about 80 mph then he lost control of his pickup, skidding off the road, across the lanes again, then hit a rock and rolled over. His truck then landed back right side up on the highway. But he was found dead inside the truck without a seatbelt on. Nobody else was with him at the time. CHP investigating why the crash happened.

The latest count of homelessness in Butte County shows a spike, because of the Camp Fire, but other reasons too. The spring count in the latest point in time report released Monday shows homelessness up by 16 percent. The report shows the Camp Fire pushed many into homelessness, some staying in FEMA mobile homes and others even sleeping in cars, on the street or in a park. The homeless count on March 28th is a national survey required by all local municipalities in order to get money from the fed. It’s conducted by local Continuum of Care agencies. Those in Butte County found without shelter because of the Camp Fire, never homeless before, some said they had been in the past.

A new report by UC Berkeley shows many Californians don’t know how the state should tackle the housing shortage. The report by the college’s Institute of Governmental Studies shows 47 percent of Californians disagree on how to handle the situation, but in the Bay Area the majority said the state should get more involved. There’s a bill in the state Senate currently demanding cities build more housing and allow for more density. State planners say the state has a housing deficit of 3.5 million units because cities are not putting in more housing to meet state guidelines. Some in the Berkeley study said they thought the state should offer housing subsidies to help low- and moderate-income homebuyers. Others said there should be more multi-family development and still more said more rent control should be approved. Others say none of that would even solve the problem.

 

A lively meeting with representatives from the United States Navy regarding military testing and training set for the fall of next year. Navy officials at Dana Gray Elementary School last Friday with a packed room, mostly folks not happy about the plan off the north coast. The meeting set up where officials were one on one with attendees, which the Advocate reports, was not a popular format. But some broke off into a large group, peppering officials with questions across the room. The meeting about how ocean animals might be affected by the training and testing. Some asked about whales washing up dead in the U-K, but it’s not known why the animals died. And the vice-chair of the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors brought a letter from the board, in opposition of the testing.

Send comments through June 12th to nwtteis.com or by mail to:

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The City of Ukiah will stop chalking the tires of cars parked in certain areas. It comes after the city of Saginaw, Michigan in court about chalking tires, had the practice ruled unconstitutional. In Ukiah there’s only one parking enforcement officer chalking tires downtown and handing out tickets. The city reportedly spends $60,000 a year on the fines and penalties and work associated with chalking and ticketing downtown. Chalking is supposed to stop next year after the city council decided to use parking meters downtown instead. The Daily Journal reports the city’s aware of the Saginaw case, and are investigating if that could be a thing in Calif. eventually too.

A patch of Riverside Park has burned due to a campfire. Several burned logs and trees near the Russian River reported by park goers April 23rd. Staffers with the City of Ukiah went to the park to investigate the area which they reported was about 200-square-feet in size. The Fire Authority says they think the fire began from someone cooking or warming themselves and it probably spread in the middle of the night.

The new county budget a topic of discussion with the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors this week. The latest quarterly budget report discussion ahead of budget hearings June 4th and 5th. The Daily Journal reports the presentation showed some departments over budget, including the County Counsel, Economic Development Dept., Court Collections, Human Resources, Public Defenders, Alternate Defender, Sheriff-Coroner, County Jail, and Animal Care. But staff at the meeting saying there’s money to cover the overages. The County CEO says even though some departments are projected to go over budget, staff will help those departments figure out how to lower costs.

A woman from Ukiah lost on Cow Mountain after a hike, spends the night there. The Sheriff’s Office reports the 56-year-old is a “well-known and avid hiker” who went out on Sunday afternoon near the gun range on Cow Mountain and got lost in the dark. Deputies went out looking for her. She says she could hear them, but couldn’t signal them or get thru some thick foliage to get to them. So she spent the night out there and Monday morning Search and Rescue teams went out, but she had already made it out at first light. The Sheriff’s office reminding to always have emergency supplies with you. The same morning, they helped a couple who got stuck in the snow, driving thru the Mendocino National Forest, reminding folks to check the forecast before heading out.

PG&E reports on their new approach to fire season with a Wildland Fire Mitigation Plan. A representative from the utility company with a presentation for the Lakeport City Council Tuesday saying there are multiple projects they’re working on including monitoring wildfire risk at an operations center in real-time. He says they’re installing as many as 1,300 weather stations before 2022, Lake County has four of them. The company also helping to install about 600 high-definition cameras. Lake County got one of the cameras.

The Lakeport City Council says yes to a nearly $200,000 makeover of City Hall. They’re working to put in American Disability Act-compliant access for the administration and finance payment counter, remodeling some offices in the planning department and making room for more storage in the council chambers. Bridges Construction came in at more than the allotted amount but amended their bid after talking with the city engineer. They were the lowest and only bidder.

The Gov. releases his latest budget proposal with another surplus in the budget. The last budget in January carved out more money for schools, childcare, affordable housing, health care, wildfire prevention and paid some pension debt. The budget bill is passed in June each year. He is proposing no more sales tax on diapers and feminine products, increasing a state tax credit for low-income families with young children, adding more childcare money and two weeks of paid family leave for any parent of a newborn to the six already in place. No word how the state will cover that.

The Mayor Clearlake Nick Bennett retiring as he moves out of state due to health reasons. Lake Co News reports Bennett made the announcement last night at the end of the city council meeting. They were working on commercial cannabis rules and equipment needs for the Public Works Department, then he announced it would be his last meeting as he was leaving Lake County this Sunday. He’s served on the council since 2016. A special meeting called for Monday to talk about how to fill the seat.

A man from Southern California exposed to asbestos in Ukiah has won $3 million dollars in court. 80-year-old Ervan Groves sued D.W. Nicholson Corp., who did work at Masonite Corp. where he worked from 1964-1999. He has terminal cancer he says was caused by asbestos exposure after D.W. Nicholson installed mechanical, electrical and piping equipment at Masonite. His lawyer says D.W. Nicholson never told Masonite employees they might have been exposed to asbestos, then didn’t clean up the asbestos they left behind.

The U.S. government once again trying to get oil and gas drilling leases approved on wide swaths of federal land off-limits since environmentalists sued in 2013. The Press Democrat reports the Bureau of Land Management finishing the plan for oil and gas leases on as much as 800,000 acres of the Central Valley and Central Coast. They also recently finished a draft plan for drilling on more than 1 million acres around Bakersfield. Environmentalists sued the Obama administration looking for new drilling and now criticizing the latest efforts. The BLM says their plan would be for as many as 75 new wells drilled over the next 20 years with a small amount of that as fracking.

The latest state budget shows the legal marijuana market is not paying the state what was anticipated. The Newsom administration reportedly revising what it expects to collect from cannabis tax revenue through June 2020. The state expecting $223 million less than projections last quarter. The Press Democrat reports that means there was slower-than-expected marijuana sales due to a still thriving black market and state regulators playing catch up with demand for licensing. But the Gov. says he thinks it’s going to take five to seven years for the legal market to reach its potential.

The Mendocino Historical Review Board is meeting without their Chairman, who recently resigned in protest. The Mendocino Beacon reports the former chair John Simonich resigned April 12th in a letter with multiple complaints including a lack of support from the Planning and Building Dept. Apparently it’s nothing new though, folks complaining about the support before and recent increases in project fees. The Director of the Planning and Building Dept saying they’re not going to prevent board members from places items on the agenda, which are currently in review and might have delayed the agenda being flushed out.

Talks about switching to renewable energy and a debt management policy on the agenda of the Mendocino City Community Services District. Directors looking over the proposed 2019/20 budget last week and talked renewable energy, the debt management policy after bids came in for the treatment plant upgrade. They also discussed granny unit fees. The proposed budget for the next Fiscal Year at nearly $836,000, about $9,200 more than last year due to higher wages, retirement costs, fuel and permitting fees, insurance and more. The board considering switching from PG&E to the Sonoma Clean Power Greenfield Program which will cost a couple grand more a year.

A dead child reportedly found at McKinleyville High School. Reporter Kym Kemp with details after a scanner report that a janitor found a juvenile’s body on the school’s quad. The news site says it had not yet independently verified the report. The scanner reporting police, fire and medical personnel had reported to the scene along with the coroner. Parents reported getting emails and auto calls the school would be closed today. The school’s Facebook page did however verify, that school was indeed closed.

The Gov. has announced a withdrawal of permit applications from his predecessor’s administration for a double tunnel water project. Gov. Jerry Brown’s $19 billion tunnel project under the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta. As we reported earlier, Gov. Newsom’s administration withdrawing permits and instead going for a much smaller project with one tunnel for which the administration wants to start environmental studies on. The Natural Resources Secretary releasing a statement saying the smaller project will help build California’s water supply resilience.

Heavy winter rains great for the drought and snowpack. The latest test of the Sierra Nevada, this season’s final snow survey, shows nearly double amount of snow we normally get this time of year. Surveyors with the Department of Water Resources out yesterday morning, measuring almost 28 inches of water. That’s around 188 percent of the historical annual average for the area. The Water Resource Dept. director says cities and farms will be getting ample water supplies this summer.

The latest report on cleanup efforts for several fires at the end of last year. The State’s Consolidated Debris Removal Program reports pulling more than 900,000 tons of debris out of damaged properties due to the Camp, Woolsey and Hill Fires. The Camp Fire Debris alone was 600,000 tons so far. They’ve cleared almost 1,900 sites from the fire impacted area as of May 1st. They report clearing an average of 100 properties per day. They’ve got Household Hazardous Waste out of several thousand sites, part of Phase II of their work. They’ll continue as weather and safety conditions allow.

 

A home burns in a fire in Fort Bragg. It happened April 23rd in the 23000 block of Highway 1 around 9 p.m. The fire reportedly started in an out-building then spread to the two-story house which was destroyed. Firefighters protecting the area around the home, allowing the house to burn as the people who owned the home watched. The Advocate newspaper reports the outbuilding, where it started, also burned to the ground. The paper reports firefighters couldn’t contain and cool the house fire after it went through the roof, finding the home would be a total loss. Fire officials say the fire started due to a portable generator being used for electricity which sparked.

The Board of Directors of the Mendocino Coast District Hospital votes on revising their request for health care organizations to partner with the hospital or for a total buy out. There are five health care organizations reportedly interested in a purchase or partnership. A board member reports an attorney reported they thought the board had violated the Brown Act regarding their decision to stem the financial problems at the hospital. The Interim Chief Executive Officer says it was the will of the board to send out requests for proposals, after having individual discussions with board members.

The Fort Bragg City Council gives the go-ahead for the Mendocino County Digital Infrastructure Plan to be approved. The plan covers the years 2019-2025, looking to get high-speed internet infrastructure at 95 percent by 2025 in the county. The Economic Development and Financing Corporation is working on getting fiber technology to remote areas in the county which can be done as fast as two to five years. So the City Council is putting language in their resolution on the matter to prioritize burying fiber underground instead of fixed wireless due to potential unknown health effects caused by wireless have a discussion.

It’s official, tomorrow is Star Wars Day. It’s May 4th, so you can officially use the phrase May the 4th Be With You! It’s all in honor of the new Disneyland theme park set that’s opening after Memorial Day. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Daly authoring the bill in support of what he says is the biggest single-site expansion in Disney’s history. It’ll bring in several hundred permanent jobs and is expected to pull as much as $14 million in tax revenue for the city of Anaheim every year.

A major loss for PG&E due to wildfires. The latest earnings report for the giant utility company for the first quarter of the year. The first-quarter profits down 69 percent while the company faces massive claims against it due to wildfires in 2017 & 18 and its recent bankruptcy case. The company reports $136 million, as opposed to $442 million the first quarter of last year. The company blames their losses because they have to now inspect their entire electrical system. And due to the rising costs of cleaning up and making repairs after the Camp Fire in Butte County. PG& E reported just over $4 billion in the first quarter. It’s believed the fire was caused by the utility company’s equipment.

A $10,000 grant has been awarded to the Middletown area from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Challenge America grant to pay for workshops for outdoor sculptures in Middletown. The money going to EcoArts of Lake County or the Middletown Art Center. The Director of the Center says they’re thrilled for the recognition which goes to support projects in underserved populations, places where people don’t always get to experience art because of geography, ethnicity, economics or disability. The project known as “Locus” features sculptures at Middletown Trailside Park and Rabbit Hill, which were both blackened by the Valley Fire. For more info: visit www.MiddletownArtCenter.org/Locus.

People are complaining about an expanding homeless camp in Ukiah. The Daily Journal reports the encampment at the corner of South State Street and Observatory Avenue leading to multiple complaints to police. One resident of the city telling the newspaper, it was just a tiny four by six area, but now it looks like a mini-apartment, saying she’s called police to see it’s now about 20 feet long now, calling it a health risk. Police tell the newspaper there were no criminal violations and that it’s on private property where the property owners are allowing them to stay, and it’s not in a public right of way. The Chairman of the Ukiah Planning Commission also complaining about the encampment and the city’s response at the February meeting of the commission.

Storm drains being worked on in the City of Ukiah after massive rains this winter. Crews out at South Orchard Avenue. The project should be done today. After a storm drain stopped working on Peach Street, crews had to dig it up and found another one in disrepair that needed replacing. It’s all ahead of repaving planned from East Gobbi to Ford Street. It was an urgency item on the City Council’s agenda last month for an expenditure of nearly $270,000.

After putting an ordinance in place against rental housing price gouging in Lake County, the measure’s rescinded. The Lake County Board of Supervisors put the measure in place after the October 2017 Sulphur Fire. They say it worked and the District Attorney’s Office didn’t prosecute anyone for price gouging. This week the board canceled the ordinance so property owners can institute some modest price increases due to increasing costs. Lake Co News reports District 5 Supervisor Rob Brown wanted the ordinance rescinded so property owners could have increases for deferred maintenance and other costs.

As part of Governor Newsom’s direction to overhaul the state’s water delivery infrastructure, a state agency withdrawing permits for a project so it can be smaller. The California Department of Water Resources wants to take back the proposed permits for the so-called Water Fix project and start an environmental review instead for a single tunnel project through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. It’s reportedly needed to protect water supplies after sea-level rise and saltwater intrusion into the Delta.