Archives for December 2019

Sheriff Tom Allman Retiring

Mendocino County’s longtime serving sheriff is stepping down at the end of the year. Sheriff Tom Allman says his retirement will be effective on December 28th. He says the decision was made based on many things, but says one of the most important, is the fact that Matt Kendall, is a good undersheriff who is ready to take the helm. Allman says it’s been his honor to work for Mendocino County as a lawman since 1985, and to have been the Sheriff for the past 13 years.

Allman says he’s not moving from the area and intends to spend a lot of time focused on improving the mental health services throughout the county. The current ambulance crisis is another project which Allman says he will be working on.

Serial Bank Robber Further Convicted

A man already convicted of multiple bank robberies in Sonoma County was additionally convicted by plea yesterday morning of a Mendocino County bank robbery. The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office reports that 38-year-old Travis Ryan Strickland, formerly of Ukiah, entered a no contest plea to the felony charge that he robbed the Ukiah branch of Chase Bank on August 7, 2018. Strickland will be back in court and formally sentenced on January 10th.

Wreaths Across America Truck Coming Through Lakeport

Lakeport Police Department & Lakeport Fire Protection District will be escorting the Wreaths Across America truck through downtown City of Lakeport this afternoon. The Wreaths are delivered to Hartley and St. Mary’s cemeteries for the Wreaths Across America event on Saturday. The truck will be coming through between 3:30-4PM.

PG&E Adds Dozens of New Weather Stations HD Cameras to Monitor Wildfire Conditions

As part of its Community Wildfire Safety Program, PG&E reports that they’ve now installed more than 600 weather stations and 130 high-definition cameras across its service area. PG&E says they will continue to expand these networks in high fire-threat areas to enhance weather forecasting and modeling and improve the company’s ability to predict and respond to extreme wildfire danger. The stations and cameras are use when the utility company make decisions on Public Safety Power Shutoffs.

Men Accused in Lake County Murder Case Appear in Court

Two men accused in a Lake County murder, did not enter pleas in the case during a recent court appearance. 39-year-old Michael Sean Shaffer, and 49-year-old Daniel Wayne Ford were arrested after 70-year-old Nicky Smith, of Lucerne was found dead near Scotts Valley Road last month. It’s alleged that Ford and Shaffer murdered Smith while “committing or attempting to commit” robbery, kidnapping and carjacking. Smith’s Toyota Tundra pickup, which was taken during the incident, has still not been recovered. Both men remain in Lake County Jail without bail. Their next court appearance is January 7th.

Opening of Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed Again

The opening of the commercial Dungeness crab season in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties continues to be postponed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Results of the December 3rd quality test continue to show crab are below the minimum testing guidelines established by the Tri-State Dungeness Crab Committee and are not yet ready for harvesting. Additional testing will occur by Dec. 20 to determine whether the season can open on Dec. 31st.

Helicopter Saw Trimming Trees in Brooktrails Community

Pacific Gas and Electric is extending the use of a helicopter saw to trim trees in the Brooktrails community northwest of Willits through tomorrow. Officials say dense fog affected flights earlier this week. A helicopter saw, or heli-saw, is a series of circular saws suspended from a high-performance helicopter used to trim the tops and sides of trees near high voltage transmission and distribution lines. PG&E uses the heli-saw in remote areas PG&E will prune the limbs to prevent future power outages and to increase public safety.

PG&E Stock Rises on News of Settlement with Fire Victims

PG&E’s stock rose yesterday as shareholders reacted to the recent settlement with fire victims. The stock gained after the company announced that it has reached agreements for resolving wildfire claims. Also, it will make payments worth $1 billion to 18 different public entities as part of a Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization.

2 Police Chiefs in Mendocino County Retiring in 2020

Two Police Chiefs in Mendocino County will be retiring in 2020. This week, Fort Bragg Police Chief Fabian Lizarraga announced during this week’s city council meeting that he will step down on May 1st, 2020. He’s served since March of 2015.

Willits Police Chief Scott Warnock will step down effective March 2, 2020. Warnock became the Interim Police Chief for Willits in December of 2016, then was appointed the permanent Chief of Police in April of 2017. The Fort Bragg City Manager says a recruitment process for a new Police Chief will begin immediately.

Fort Bragg Man Honored for Saving Family from Fire

Fort Bragg issued a city proclamation this week honoring the heroic actions of a resident. On the night of November 24th, Ricardo Garcia was driving home when he noticed a house was on fire. He called 911, and after seeing no one was outside the home, Garcia went in to wake everyone. Inside the smoke-filled home, he saw a little girl staring at the fire less than 10 feet away from her. Garcia grabbed the girl and covered her with a blanket. He also got 2 of her siblings and her mother safely out of the house.