Saturday, 01 October 2022

Regional

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday proclaimed a state of emergency for Alpine, Amador and Placer counties due to the Caldor fire, which has forced the evacuation of thousands of residents, including significant portions of South Lake Tahoe.

The governor earlier this month proclaimed a state of emergency for El Dorado County due to the fire.

“It is imperative that residents in the impacted areas stay safe and prepare to evacuate immediately if called for by local authorities. We thank all the heroic firefighters and first responders working around the clock to combat this rapidly spreading fire and to protect local communities across California this fire season,” said Gov. Newsom.

The governor on Monday also signed an executive order to support the state's wildfire response and recovery efforts.

At the request of several counties currently under a state of emergency due to wildfires, the order allows out-of-county emergency workers who are unable to cast ballots in their home precincts to be provided with provisional ballots, upon request, for the upcoming state election.

Among other provisions, the order also allows the waiver of regulations so that hospitals and other health facilities impacted by the fires can continue to provide care and services, and allows U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel to assist in removing hazardous debris from private properties damaged by fire, protecting public health and the environment.

Gov. Newsom last week announced that the White House approved California’s request for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration, including supports available to wildfire-impacted residents and assistance for state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery costs.

California also recently secured assistance to support the state’s response to the Dixie fire in Lassen, Butte and Plumas counties and the response to the French fire, Caldor fire, Monument fire, River fire and Lava fire.

Governor Newsom has activated the State Operations Center to its highest level and proclaimed a state of emergency in counties impacted by the Caldor fire, McFarland and Monument fires, Antelope and River fires, Dixie, Fly and Tamarack fires and the Lava fire and Beckwourth Complex fire.

The governor signed an executive order to support impacted communities and bolster wildfire response and recovery efforts. Cal Fire and Cal OES personnel are responding in concert with other federal, state and local agencies to address emergency management and mutual aid needs for the fires.

Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife received trail camera video from May 15 showing a collared gray wolf in southwest Kern County.

Though CDFW cannot confirm this at this time, it is possible the wolf could be OR-93 because of video evidence of the collar and the last known whereabouts of OR-93, which was in San Luis Obispo County on April 5.

Even though the video evidence is more than three months old, CDFW said it will immediately investigate the area for additional information in hopes of finding wolf DNA for analysis. CDFW will also conduct flyovers to attempt to connect to the collar through radio telemetry.

The trail camera has been recording wildlife use at a water trough on private property for three years. The camera was reset by the caretaker of the property in April but the images were not downloaded and provided to CDFW until early this week.

CDFW strongly encourages the public to be aware that the wolf population continues to grow in California and to know the difference between wolves and coyotes. Though gray wolves are generally much bigger than coyotes, they can sometimes be misidentified.

The agency encourages the public to review tips for differentiating between wolves, coyotes and dogs.

Though the video was black and white, wolf OR-93 also has a purple collar around his neck which should make the animal more identifiable.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered pursuant to California’s Endangered Species Act. It is unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap or capture gray wolves. Anyone who believes they have seen a wolf in California can report it to CDFW.

Gray wolves pose very little safety risk to humans. CDFW is working to monitor and conserve California’s small wolf population and is collaborating with livestock producers and diverse stakeholders to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts.

Gray wolf management in California is guided by CESA as well as CDFW’s Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California, finalized in 2016. More information is available on CDFW’s wolf web page.

Wolf OR-93, a male wolf born in 2019 who made headlines earlier this year, initially entered Modoc County on Jan. 30. After briefly returning to Oregon, he reentered Modoc County on Feb. 4.

On Feb. 24, he entered Alpine County after passing through portions of Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties.

On Feb. 25, he entered Mono County. In mid-March, he was in western Tuolumne County. By late March he was in Fresno County, and then entered San Benito County after crossing Highway 99 and Interstate 5.

He was in Monterey County on April 1 and his last collar transmission was from San Luis Obispo County on April 5.

Through April 5 he had traveled at least 935 air miles in California, a minimum average of 16 air miles per day.

OR-93 dispersed from the White River pack in northern Oregon.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom honored Galt Police Department Officer Harminder Singh Grewal, who died this week as the result of a vehicle crash.

“Jennifer and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Grewal, a devoted public servant who worked selflessly to protect his community. Our thoughts are also with the fellow officer who was seriously injured and is recovering,” Gov. Newsom said.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, while en route to assist with the Caldor fire response in El Dorado County, Officer Grewal’s patrol car was struck head-on by another vehicle, severely injuring Officer Grewal and a fellow officer.

Officer Grewal succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, Aug. 26.

Grewal, 27, served with the Galt Police Department for two and a half years and was named Officer of the Year by the department in 2020.

He was a member of the honor guard and had recently been selected to be a motorcycle officer.

He is survived by his parents, Gurdip and Jaswinder Grewal; brother, Jasdeep Grewal, and sister-in-law, Kirandeep Grewal; and sister, Naudeep Sidhu.

In honor of Officer Grewal, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

At the request of the Federal Emergency Management Agency as Hurricane Ida makes landfall in Louisiana, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Sunday approved the deployment of urban search and rescue specialized personnel to the region to assist in life-saving disaster response.

California maintains robust search and rescue resources within the state and the deployment does not draw from resources in use to combat wildfires.

“As we manage the ongoing emergency response to wildfires and support impacted communities, California is carefully assessing and balancing resources to answer the call to aid our fellow Americans in a time of great need, as we have so often received support ourselves in recent years,” said Gov. Newsom.

Part of the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System, administered in California by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, the Oakland-based California/FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Force-4 will join with Urban Search and Rescue, or US&R, incident support specialists to assist with search and rescue operations for Hurricane Ida, which is currently a strong Category 4 hurricane.

The California/FEMA US&R Task Force being deployed to Baton Rouge, Louisiana is based in the Oakland Fire Department, with participation from several surrounding fire agencies.

The “Type 3” task force being deployed includes 35 members and 10 ground support personnel. These personnel are trained and equipped to provide water rescues and technical and canine search, rescue, medical and other specialized capabilities at the disaster.

In total, FEMA has requested and deployed 15 Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces from other states to the Gulf Coast through the National Urban Search and Rescue Response System.

Gov. Newsom and Cal OES have also approved deployment of several California-based US&R Incident Support Team members to help coordinate search and rescue operations across the Gulf Coast hurricane impact zone.

The Urban Search and Rescue-trained firefighters deployed from California to the Incident Support Team are members of various California/FEMA Urban Search and Rescue Task Forces, including California US&R Task Force 1, Los Angeles Fire Department; California US&R Task Force 3, Menlo Park Fire Protection District; and California US&R Task Force 7, Sacramento Fire Department.

Sunday’s deployment comes 16 years after the rescue capabilities of all eight California/FEMA US&R Task Forces were deployed to conduct search and rescue operations across the flooded city of New Orleans, Louisiana, when Hurricane Katrina struck, with simultaneous deployment of California-based US&R Team members to the adjoining and hard-hit state of Mississippi.

Dean Michael Stevens, 54, of Ukiah, California, has admitted to robbing the Chase Bank branch in Ukiah on January 19, 2021. Courtesy photo.


NORTH COAST, Calif. — On Friday, a Ukiah man facing a jury trial admitted to committing a January robbery of a Ukiah bank.

Dean Michael Stevens, age 54, entered a no contest plea in Mendocino County Superior Court to the robbery, the Mendocino District Attorney’s Office reported.

A no contest plea to a felony charge is the same legally as a guilty plea, officials said.

Stevens also admitted a strike sentencing enhancement alleging a felony robbery conviction in Sonoma County Superior Court in 2015.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted Stevens’ change of plea Friday afternoon.

Stevens’ trial on the charges was scheduled to begin Monday.

As part of the no contest plea agreement, the District Attorney’s Office required the defendant to agree to a 10-year state prison term.

Robbery is a violent felony so any work or good time credits earned by Stevens will be limited to no more than 15 percent of the prison time.

Formal sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 9.

The Ukiah Police Department reported that on Jan. 19 its dispatch received a report of a robbery that just occurred at the Chase Bank on State Street.

Officers responded to the bank and began an investigation, canvassing the area for the responsible subject. Within minutes of arriving at the bank, officers were provided with still photographs from the bank’s surveillance system that showed the man who committed the robbery.

A bank employee reported the male approached her bank window and verbally advised her that this was a “robbery” and to “Give me the money.” He did not show a weapon, but the employee was placed in a state of fear, based on the suspect’s words. She gave him more than $3,000 and he left the bank with the stolen money.

The Ukiah Police Department said its officers reviewed the surveillance photos and recognized the male subject from numerous prior contact as Stevens, who was known to be on Post Release Community Supervision through the Mendocino County Probation Department.

Officers researched prior contacts with Stevens and were able to identify a vehicle that Stevens had been contacted in within the prior week. A “be on the lookout” was broadcast to surrounding law enforcement agencies, advising that Stevens was wanted for the robbery. This BOLO included the identifying information for the vehicle associated with Stevens.

Just after 1:30 a.m. the following day, an on-duty Mendocino County Sheriff’s sergeant contacted the Ukiah Police Department to advise that he located the vehicle in the parking lot of the Travel Lodge on North State Street.

Ukiah Police officers arrived at that location, confirmed the vehicle matched the one associated with Stevens and also confirmed that Stevens was a registered guest at the motel.

The officers and the sergeant contacted Stevens in a motel room and searched the room and the vehicle as they are allowed to do under Stevens’ Post Release Community Supervision terms.

Authorities said the search resulted in officers locating a bag of cash, the same clothing as worn by the man who committed the robbery and other evidence that connected Stevens to the robbery. Stevens was subsequently arrested without incident and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.

District Attorney David Eyster prosecuted the case.

The law enforcement agencies that developed evidence in the case were the Ukiah Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the State Parole office.

Deb St. Cyr. and Ken Wells are co-leaders for the newly formed Redwood Trails Alliance. Courtesy by PINE Photo.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Redwood Trails Alliance has been created through the union of the Sonoma County Trails Council and the Redwood Empire Mountain Bike Alliance.

In November 2020 the Board of Directors of both corporations agreed to join forces and to pursue their common mission as the Redwood Trails Alliance with an initial board of directors combined from both nonprofits.

By joining forces, the new Trails Alliance will be able to increase the quality and quantity of our
local trails for more trail users while respecting the environment we visit.

Their work includes education, advocacy and trail projects which are funded by memberships, donations, and income from trail construction and training services.

Trails Alliance projects have included trail design, construction and maintenance.

The group is currently working at several Sonoma County Regional Parks, including Helen Putnam in Petaluma, Foothill in Windsor and Taylor Mt. in Santa Rosa and recently completed trail work at Napa County’s Moore Creek Park.

The new organization will be co-led by Ken Wells and Deb St. Cyr.

Wells, the alliance’s trails director, has been on trails all his life with over three decades of trail advocacy and construction experience. His efforts have been recognized with a long list of awards.

St. Cyr is the alliance’s executive director and comes to the partnership with over 20 years of volunteering with nonprofits.

Powered by a passion for the outdoors, St. Cyr stepped into the trail building and mountain bike
advocacy world after a devastating wildfire destroyed her home, community and local trail system.

The Ken and Deb partnership creates a powerful combination of organizational skills, nonprofit knowledge and trail construction experience, establishing a solid foundation to build more and better trails for all.

With the substantial experience, knowledge and resources that is now the Redwood Trails Alliance, the organization is a respected leader of the trails community in the North Bay.

The Trails Alliance recognizes the environmental and social challenges our communities face, as well as the critical role being outside provides for our mental, physical and social wellbeing.

It provides the essential link to the natural world — trails.

The Trails Alliance is committed to the creation and stewardship of a network of durable and enjoyable trails to enable people to visit our amazing landscapes.

Visit the group’s website and follow it on Instagram and Facebook.

Upcoming Calendar

1Oct
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
1Oct
10.01.2022 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Konocti Challenge
1Oct
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
20th annual Falling Leaves Quilt Show
1Oct
10.01.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop
1Oct
10.01.2022 11:00 am - 6:00 pm
Lakeport Harvest Festival
1Oct
10.01.2022 4:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Harvest Dinner and Silent Auction
Peace and Plenty Farm
1Oct
10.01.2022 5:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Luau on the Creek

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