Ukiah Has New City Council Member and Mayor

Ukiah’s new City Council member is getting settled in. Last week incumbents Jim Brown and Maureen Mulheren were joined by newly elected City Council member Juan Orozco during a swearing-in ceremony at City Hall in Ukiah. Also during that meeting, Mulheren was named the next mayor of Ukiah, as former Mayor Kevin Doble stepped down. He announced prior to the November election that he would not run for re-election this year, to spend more time with his family.

Recent Rains and Cooler Temps Bring Cal Fire Transitions

Permits are no longer required for certain residential burn piles in Mendocino County. Now through approximately May 1, 2019, residents may burn piles no larger than 4-feet by 4-feet without acquiring a burn permit. However, prior to burning, you must check to make sure it is allowed on that day.

The recent rains and cooler temperatures have lowered the threat of wildfires and allowed the Mendocino Unit of Cal Fire to transition to the winter burning season.

Those same conditions have allowed Cal Fire’s Sonoma Lake Napa Unit to transition out of peak fire season. The agency says they will continue to monitor weather conditions closely and will maintain the ability to increase staffing should the weather conditions change.

Statewide in 2018, Cal Fire and firefighters from many local agencies battled more than 6,228 wildfires within the State Responsibility Area that burned over 876,225 acres.

Autopsy Scheduled on Body Found in Eeel River

The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said is investigating after the discovery of a body last week in the Eel River. The remains were found by a wildlife photographer Wednesday afternoon, just south of the Humboldt/Mendocino County line in Piercy. Investigators say the body appeared to be that of a white male adult, over 6 feet tall, with a heavy build. They think the body had been in the water for a week or more. The missing person’s vehicle was also located. They continue working to identify the body. An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow.

Lakeport Police Investigate Burglaries

Lakeport police are investigating several burglaries. On Saturday, a significant amount of stolen mail and some packages with contents removed were recovered. The mail was from 33 different addresses mostly south of First Street in the City of Lakeport and some from Highway 175 west of the City. Police are working to contact the owners of the mail.

Lakeport Police are also looking for the suspect for felony burglary and grand theft. At 6:45 AM yesterday morning, a person wearing a black hood & mask entered the back of Renee’s Cafe and took a purse belonging to an employee. At the time of the incident the staff were preparing to open for customers. See a video of the theft on the Lakeport Police Department’s Facebook page.

A $5000.00 reward has been offered for information resulting in arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Anyone with information is asked to call investigating Officer Kaylene Strugnell at 707-263-5491, email her at kstrugnell@lakeportpolice.org, send an anonymous message from your cell phone by texting the words TIP LAKEPORT followed by your message to 888777 or send the department a private Facebook message.

Home Destroyed by Fire in Lucerne

A home was destroyed in a fire in Lucerne this weekend. Northshore Fire units responded quickly to the blaze in the 6200 block of Roland Drive at around 7:45 Saturday night – fire crews had the fire out in about a half hour. Mop took a several hours and was complicated by downed power lines.

Ukiah Man Arrested for Bank Robberies

A Ukiah man was is in custody after committing at least 2 bank robberies. The Cloverdale Police Department reports that 37-year-old Travis R. Strickland, 37, of Ukiah, was arrested on Tuesday following a robbery at the Exchange Bank in Cloverdale. The bank employee pulled an alarm, and officers responding to the bank spotted the suspect’s vehicleand successfully conducted a “high-risk stop.” Strickland is also linked to a previous bank robbery, at Cloverdale Chase bank on November 16th. After more investigation, Strickland has been connected to three other bank robberies, in Ukiah, Healdsburg and Santa Rosa. The robbery in Ukiah happened at the Chase Bank on South State St. on August 7th.

Valadez Named Interim Registrar of Voters

The Lake County Board of Supervisors has appointed Maria Valadez as interim registrar of voters. Longtime Registrar Diane Fridley is retiring at the end of this calendar year after a 41-year career in elections. Valedez will take over on December 29th.

Negie Fallis Sentenced for Felony Firearm Charge

The primary suspect in the disappearance of Covelo woman Khadijah Britton, has been sentenced to four years in state prison for being a felon in possession of a firearm. In October, Negie Fallis pled no contest to the charges. He was sentenced yesterday. His girlfriend, Antonia Bautista-Dalson, pleaded no contest in October to being an accessory by assisting Fallis elude law enforcement by attempting to hide the firearms that Fallis unlawfully possessed. She’ll be sentenced on December 11th.

McGuire Meets with Local Students

It’s been a busy week for Mike McGuire. On Monday, he took the oath of office again to serve his second term as State Senator. Then yesterday McGuire became an honorary Eagle while visiting with students at Lucerne Elementary. He also talked with students about their top concerns, which included: Fires, homelessness, housing, Clear Lake water quality, litter, and high quality schools.

Lakeport Man Sentenced for Human Trafficking

A Lakeport man sentenced yesteday to prison for human trafficking, may only have to serve half the sentence. After a plea deal, 37-year-old Sam Lindsey Massette was sentenced to 20 years for two counts of human trafficking for the purposes of prostitution and two counts of pimping women in prostitution, and ordered to register as a sex offender for life. But due to credits and time served, Massette is expected to serve about nine years in prison. Two of his victims objected to the plea agreement. Massette, and his wife, Krystina Pickersgill, were arrested in June for forcing teenage girls into prostitution. She was sentenced to probation with a maximum prison sentence of 12 years if she does not comply.