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More than a dozen states including Calif. have filed a lawsuit against the federal government for trying to block food stamps for nearly 700,000 Americans. The Calif. Atty. General Xavier Becerra says nobody should have to choose between a hot meal and paying their rent. The states and Washington, D.C., along with New York City say the Trump administration did not properly follow the required steps to put the wide ranging rules in place. It’s not the first time Calif. has sued the Trump Administration, there are 65 lawsuits in all.

Lawmakers are trying to reform the Cannabis industry’s tax code. Assemblyman Rob Bonta has introduced a bill to “suspend the state’s cultivation tax and reduce the excise tax from 15% to 11%” over 3 years”. Bonta says it’s to stop the black market by reducing the difference in pricing from illegal sales to the legal market. He says the illicit market is still undercutting the legal market and businesses complying with state regulations. His bill would temporarily reduce the tax burden on licensed businesses. There are reports that only 10% of the 1,700 cannabis dispensaries in Los Angeles are properly licensed.

Congressman Jared Huffman along with another 38 Members of Congress from both parties sent a letter to FEMA to drop a claim against PG&E and its settlement to pay survivors of the 2017 and 2018 Northern California wildfires. The multi-billion dollar fund agreed to by the utility company so thousands still without a permanent home can rebuild. Those signing including Mike Thompson say they think FEMA shouldn’t be trying to recoup any money as its owed first and foremost to survivors still trying to rebuild their lives. They say it could undermine FEMA’s reputation as an honest and fair partner.

A community meeting is set by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors Cannabis Ad Hoc Committee in Laytonville. The community meeting is an update and for the public to be able to share any recommendations they have for the Ad Hoc Committee on possible changes to the County’s Cannabis Cultivation Ordinance. The board had asked the Committee to review the Ordinance and report back with possible revisions to streamline certain requirements. The meeting is Wednesday at 6:00 p.m. at Harwood Hall.

The new Mendocino County census website has been launched. ‘Mendocino Counts! 2020 Census’ at http://www.mendocinocounts.org. The county says it has all sorts of excellent resource information about the 2020 Census which officially starts April 1st. It happens every decade to see how many members of Congress a state can have. It also informs how more than $675 billion in federal funding should be shared amongst the counties in Calif. The website is in both English and Spanish, featuring a frequently asked questions section. There will also soon be a link to the online census questionnaire and a phone number for other questions. Right now they’re accepting job applications through the site.

At a meeting of the Lakeport City Council, they’ll discuss applying for state grant money to improve park bathrooms. The meeting tomorrow night at City Hall where the Public Works Director is set to ask the council to adopt a resolution so the City Manager can send in a grant application to the Division of Boating and Waterways for just over $184,000 to pay to replace the bathrooms at the First and Third street boat ramp. They also want a public hearing regarding the Community Development Block Grant program and to discuss an application which asks for up to $3,500,000. The meeting will also cover storms and the recent public safety power shutoffs.

An Air Force serviceman who ran away from court-martial proceedings in Las Vegas is dead. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s office reportedly got into a standoff with a 32 year old serviceman after the Air Force requested help. They say he shot himself outside a car after a chase Sunday morning that ended in Redwood Valley. The court martial was taking place last Friday at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas. Before the airman was sentenced, he ran from authorities, so a warrant was issued for his arrest. The CHP tried nabbing him outside Ukiah, but he wouldn’t stop. Air Force Special Agents tried finding him on Reeves Canyon Road, where they located his Jeep Wrangler. Deputies got back up with a drone, which saw a person inside the vehicle. Then a single shot was heard. A SWAT team came out and found the man on a hill near the jeep dead from a gunshot out of a high-powered rifle.

(UPDATE)

On 01-20-2020 the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Coroner’s Division was able to contact the wanted service member’s legal next of kin and notify them of the his death.
The wanted service member’s identity is releasable to the public and he has been identified as Kevin A. Larson (34 year-old male from Las Vegas, Nevada).

A special meeting of the Lake County Board of Supervisors and department heads has been called. On Wednesday morning the meeting on revenue generation and economic development for future sustainability. It’s happening Wednesday at 9 a.m. at the Lower Lake Town Hall on Main St.

An accident has taken the life of a man trying to cross Highway 101. The man hit at Burke Hill was declared dead on the scene near Ukiah. Paramedics tried CPR to no avail. The man reportedly waving his arms as he tried walking across the northbound lane. A truck hit him going at least 65 mph.

A special event planned in Covelo two years after a local woman disappeared after a fight with her ex-boyfriend. The event for Khadijah Britton a day after the two year anniversary of her disappearance. There have been searches continuing and flyers and banners up across the area where she vanished. There’s also a reward of more than $100,000 for information on where she may be and that could lead to an arrest. The event at the Rec Center at 1 p.m. on Saturday, February 8th with guest speakers, food, a silent auction, and more. The young woman last seen being shoved into a car at gunpoint by her ex, Negie Fallis, who has been sent to prison on a felony firearm possession charge in a separate case connected to Britton.

A woman in Calpella has been arrested after reports of a domestic violence incident. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reports getting a call, but say they didn’t notice any obvious disturbance. Then about fifteen minutes later, they got a call to Ukiah Valley Medical Center to look into a domestic violence dispute in the Calpella area and found a 27 year old man and 13 year old girl being treated. The man said he was dating 22 year old Jessica Pingree who was attacking him and when the 13 year old tried to intervene, she was also attacked. So Pingree was arrested for domestic violence battery and willful cruelty to a child and booked on $25,000.00 bail.

A man in Boonville’s been arrested after reports of a domestic violence incident. Mendocino Deputies responded December 23rd after a woman says she was attacked by her husband Lamberto Magnaperez,. She also told deputies the man had been abusing her for two years. Deputies spoke to Magnaperez and say they developed probable cause to believe Magnaperez’s wife. He’s charged with domestic violence battery and was booked into Mendocino County Jail where he was held on $25,000.00 bail.

A young woman in Ukiah’s been arrested after reports a man was seen banging on someone’s front door, holding a gun. Mendocino deputies say they spoke to 18 year old Natalie Carrascosantana who they say told them there was no disturbance and she didn’t see anyone with a gun. Her boyfriend was found inside and gave deputies a different story. They ended up arresting Carrascosantana for domestic violence battery against her boyfriend.  Deputies found a gun in the home, but say there was no evidence it was used in the incident. Carrascosantana was being held on $25,000.00 bail.

 

 

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.

category 94.5 K-Wine News]

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.

Virus-free. www.avg.com

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:

Naval Facilities Engineering Command Northwest

Attention: NWTT Supplemental EIS/OEIS Project Manager

3730 N. Charles Porter Ave.

Building 385, Admin, Room 216

Oak Harbor, WA 98278-3500

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.