Wednesday, 26 January 2022

Regional

The Hyatt Powerplant at Oroville Dam in Butte County, California. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Water Resources.

OROVILLE, Calif. — The Department of Water Resources announced Tuesday that hydropower generation has resumed at the Hyatt Powerplant at Oroville Dam in Butte County.

The power plant was taken offline Aug. 5 due to historic low lake levels driven by the state’s ongoing severe drought conditions. Recent storms have boosted lake levels and provided colder water in the reservoir to allow operations to resume.

Currently, the powerplant is utilizing one generating unit to produce electricity and supply it to the state’s electrical grid managed by the California Independent System Operator. Outflows from the plant and generation will initially remain low due to reduced agricultural demands and improved delta salinity conditions. DWR anticipates an average outflow of about 900 cubic feet per second which will generate approximately 30 megawatts of power. As lake levels rise and demands increase, additional units will be brought back online.

“This is a significant milestone as California sees some relief from drought conditions,” said DWR Director Karla Nemeth. “Providing clean hydropower to the state energy grid allows DWR to assist in meeting the state’s clean energy goals.”

DWR completed major maintenance activities while the powerplant was offline to ensure the plant maintains its reliability and is available for water deliveries and power generation. DWR continues to manage Lake Oroville to balance storage needs with requirements for Delta outflows, water quality, and public health and safety requirements in an effort to conserve as much storage as possible in the event of another dry year.

To learn more about DWR’s power production operations, visit https://water.ca.gov/What-We-Do/Power.

Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin is urging motorists to avoid nonessential mountain travel until weather conditions improve.

Caltrans has closed 45 state highways since December 24 due to record snowfall in the Sierra Nevada.

While Caltrans has reopened 29 highways — including Interstate 80 and U.S. Highway 50, the main gateways to Lake Tahoe — roadway conditions remain challenging with extensive delays and chain controls in effect.

“The safety of the traveling public is always Caltrans’ top priority,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Please avoid traveling to the Sierra unless absolutely necessary. If you must travel, make sure you’re prepared.”

Under the direction of Governor Gavin Newsom, the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services, or CalOES, has activated the State Operations Center to monitor storm conditions and coordinate all necessary assistance.

Caltrans is coordinating with CalOES, the California Highway Patrol, local law enforcement, the Nevada Department of Transportation and the National Weather Service to respond to changing conditions and keep roadways safe for travel.

In response to the record snowfall, Caltrans has redirected all available crews into the mountains to reopen roadways, bringing operators from as far away as the Bay Area to assist.

The department has 1,350 field staff clearing mountain highways, working 24/7 in 12-hour shifts, and has deployed more than 600 snowplows statewide.

Caltrans has recorded more than $22 million in storm damage to state highways during the current winter storm, not including snow and fallen tree removal costs. Hundreds of trees have fallen onto highways, slowing the snow removal process.

Caltrans shared the following safety tips for motorists who must travel to the mountains:

• Before heading out, check Caltrans QuickMap for the latest road closure and chain control information.
• Carry chains and be ready for winter driving conditions.
• Make sure your vehicle is in good working order by checking your brakes, wipers, antifreeze, heaters, and exhaust systems before you leave.
• Do not try to go around highway closures by using secondary roads.

And when you’re on the road, please remember:

• Slow down and Be Work Zone Alert as Caltrans crews, California Highway Patrol officers, and other emergency responders are out trying to help control traffic and clear the roads.
• “Don’t Crowd the Plow” — tailgating or trying to go around snow plows can result in potentially dangerous situations.
• Have an emergency kit in your vehicle that includes blankets, water, food, a shovel, gloves, a flashlight, and sand or kitty litter to provide traction in case your vehicle becomes stuck.
• Bring cash in case power is unavailable for credit card transactions.
• Keep your phone charged in case you need it in an emergency.

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday announced four $50,000 rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the perpetrators of unsolved murders in Fresno, San Pablo, Visalia and unincorporated Butte County.

California law authorizes the governor to offer rewards in certain unsolved cases for information leading to apprehension of the perpetrators.

Law enforcement agencies may ask the governor to issue rewards in certain unsolved cases where they have exhausted all investigative leads to encourage individuals with information about the crimes to come forward.

Public assistance is vital to law enforcement, and rewards may encourage public cooperation essential to apprehend those who have committed serious offenses.

Monday’s rewards issued by the governor involve the following cases:

Butte County: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of Marc Thompson. On Sept. 3, 2014, the 25-year-old was fatally shot while parked in a remote and wooded location. The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has exhausted numerous investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about this murder to contact Butte County Sheriff’s Sgt. Patrick McNelis or Det. Tristian Harper at 530-538-7671.

Fresno: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of Jacqueline Flores. On July 27, 2021, the 25-year-old mother was in her vehicle with her six-year-old daughter when she was fatally shot. The Fresno Police Department has exhausted all investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about this murder to contact Fresno Police Department Detective Miguel Alvarez at 559-621-2441, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Det. Ben Barnes at 559-621-2421, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

San Pablo: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murder of Shawn Tillis. On June 12, 2020, the 27-year-old father was fatally shot in his vehicle outside of an apartment complex. The San Pablo Police Department has exhausted all investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about this murder to contact San Pablo Police Department Sergeant Robert Brady at 510-215-3295, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Det. Anthony Biama at 510-215-3133, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Visalia: A $50,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction for the murders of Jose Hernandez, Blake Medeiros and Isaiah Rule. On May 5, 2020, 19-year-old Hernandez, 19-year-old Medeiros and 18-year-old Rule were fatally shot in their vehicle outside of a high school. The Visalia Police Department has exhausted all investigative leads and requested that a reward be offered to encourage any individuals with information about these murders to contact Visalia Police Department Det. Robert Meier at 559-713-4211.

More information on the Governor’s Reward Program can be found here.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — Sen. Mike McGuire’s legislation to stop one of the largest environmental threats the North Coast has seen in decades — a proposal from a secret, clandestine operation that wants to ship millions of tons of coal through Northern California — passed with bipartisan support in the Senate Transportation Committee on Tuesday.

“The proposed toxic coal train is an environmental disaster in the making. The midwest coal would travel through the Sierras, across the Golden State through the heart of our thriving communities, ancient redwoods, and directly along the banks of the Eel and Russian rivers which are the main drinking water source for nearly one million residents,” McGuire said on Tuesday after the vote. “It is crucial we stop this dangerous proposal – it transcends politics, and I am grateful for the bipartisan support today.”

SB 307 will protect California by preventing all state funding from initiating improvements on the now defunct North Coast rail line north of the City of Willits.

Further, it bans state money from being spent on the buildout of any new potential bulk coal terminal facilities at the Port of Humboldt.

The bill passed in the Senate Transportation Committee with an 11-0 bipartisan vote.

The bill will now be sent to the Senate Appropriations Committee for approval.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — A head-on crash on Tuesday evening killed one man and injured three others, and resulted in one arrest after authorities said they believed it involved driving under the influence.

The California Highway Patrol’s Ukiah Area office said the wreck occurred on Talmage Road just east of Hastings Road in rainy conditions.

The man who died in the wreck was not identified in the CHP’s initial Tuesday night report, pending notification of next of kin.

The CHP said it received a call for service regarding the head-on collision at 6:43 p.m. Tuesday.

The responding officers found two vehicles with major damage, with one of them having unresponsive occupants inside, the CHP said.

Based on witness reports and the initial investigation, the CHP said Phillip Harrison, 38, of Potter Valley was driving his 2019 Ford Fusion westbound on Talmage Road.

Heading eastbound at the same time was Ezequiel C. Guzman, 35, of Ukiah, who was driving his 2001 Chevy Malibu with two passengers, the CHP said.

For reasons the CHP said are so far unknown, Guzman allowed the Chevy to travel across the opposite lane and directly into the path of Harrison’s Ford.

The CHP said the Chevy’s right front impacted the right front of the Ford, causing major intrusion into the Chevy’s right side passenger compartment.

Medical personnel responded to the scene, extricating Guzman and one of his passengers, Jesus Nava-Sandoval, 32, of Ukiah. The two men were transported to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital via Adventist Health Ukiah Valley with moderate injuries, the CHP said.

Medics transported Harrison to Adventist Health Ukiah Valley with moderate injuries, according to the CHP report.

Despite efforts by medical personnel, Guzman’s right front passenger died of his injuries at the scene. The CHP said he was later extricated from the vehicle and transported to Eversole Mortuary.

The CHP said Guzman was arrested following the crash. Investigators believe that alcohol and/or drugs contributed to the wreck.

Neither Guzman nor his passengers were wearing their seat belts, while Harrison was wearing his seat belt, the report noted.

The crash remains an active investigation. Anyone with information pertaining to it is asked to contact the Ukiah CHP office at 707-467-4420.

Email Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.

Royce Hiner, Medal of Valor awardee and highway maintenance leadworker for Caltrans District 2. Courtesy photo.

The state of California has awarded Caltrans Highway Maintenance Leadworker Royce Hiner with a Governor’s State Employee Medal of Valor for courage in the face of danger. Hiner received the Silver Medal of Valor for risking his life to save another.

“Many honorable servants to the state of California risk danger as part of their everyday duties. But occasionally someone goes beyond the line of duty to display extraordinary courage in the face of danger,” said Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin. “Royce Hiner is one such public servant. We honor and thank him for his bravery and are proud to have him in our Caltrans family.”

Hiner was traveling to a routine maintenance call on July 25, 2018, on Interstate 5 near Corning, when he encountered a van that was on fire.

He stopped to help the driver, who was frantically trying to put the fire out. Hiner advised the driver to stay clear from the van as he worked to free a dog that was still in the vehicle.

Hincer was pulling the man away from the vehicle when it suddenly burst into flames. Hiner ensured the man remained safe until first responders arrived at the scene.

The State Employee Medal of Valor Award is the highest honor California bestows on its public servants. Governor Edmund G. Brown Sr. presented the first awards in 1959.

Today nearly 700 state employees have earned that honor for displaying bravery, courage, and selflessness in the face of danger.

Upcoming Calendar

26Jan
01.26.2022 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
First 5 Lake Commission
26Jan
01.26.2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Sierra Club Lake Group community meeting
27Jan
01.27.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
29Jan
01.29.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele
31Jan
01.31.2022 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
1Feb
02.01.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
2Feb
02.02.2022 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
History Roundtable
3Feb
02.03.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
5Feb
02.05.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele

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