Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Regional

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — With negotiations between city and Glenn County officials yielding no new agreement to cover law enforcement services, the city of Willows is about to be left without law enforcement services.

Beginning at 11:59 p.m., Monday, Oct. 16, the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office will no longer provide law enforcement and animal control services to the city of Willows.

The sheriff’s office will continue to provide dispatching services and respond only to felonies in progress. Routine calls for service will be transferred to the City of Willows.

Following several months of negotiations, the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office and the city of Willows have been unable to come to an agreement on the contract for law enforcement services for the city of Willows.

Since July, there has been no contract for law enforcement services in effect for the City of Willows.

The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office said it has continued to provide services to the city of Willows in good faith, however, the Sheriff’s Office has been unable to bill for the actual costs of the services, which exceed $700,000.

The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office is unable to continue providing law enforcement services to Willows without adequate funding from the city.

County officials said the sheriff’s office cannot continue to shoulder the cost of city services without significant impacts to county services, county residents, and risks to officer safety.

The city of Willows jurisdiction accounts for approximately 50% of our total law enforcement caseload. The cost of providing services has increased significantly since 2017 due to increased wages, benefits, and inflation on supplies, equipment, and transportation.

Per government code 51350, the county must contract for actual costs for services and cannot provide services at a discounted or lower rate than actuals, therefore, providing services at a reduced rate to the city is not an option.

“We continue to negotiate with the city of Willows to provide essential law enforcement services. A potential solution being explored is an option to provide phased law enforcement coverage by the Sheriff’s Office until the City Police Department could be reinstated,” the sheriff’s office said.

Citizens with questions regarding law enforcement services in the City of Willows should contact the City of Willows at 530-934-7041 or in person at City Hall 201 N Lassen St. Willows.

The Employment Development Department, or EDD, announced Tuesday it has awarded more than $648,000 for the Supply Chain and Worker Readiness Program, an integral part of Humboldt County’s groundbreaking offshore wind energy project.

The program is designed to facilitate workforce development efforts over the entire offshore wind project lifecycle and will utilize funds for research, community preparation, and workforce partner development.

The funding will also be applied towards the education and capacity building of local businesses to meet Humboldt County’s long-term workforce needs while this new industry is established.

“This offshore wind project will give regional workers access to industry-focused training, supportive services, and employment opportunities,” said EDD Director Nancy Farias. “As our economy evolves, EDD and its regional workforce development partners are focused on preparing California’s workforce for these new opportunities.”

The program will be administered by Humboldt County’s Economic Development Division in tandem with the Humboldt County Workforce Development Board, or WDB.

WDB staff will work with program beneficiaries to develop an emerging offshore wind workforce by connecting beneficiaries with partner grants, loans, and technical assistance.

While offshore wind is expected to create jobs within construction and skilled trades, such as manufacturing, fabrication, welding, construction, and safety, it also has the potential to grow other local industries including medical, housing and childcare.

To meet the extensive demands of the long-term offshore wind project, the Program will provide supportive services to Humboldt County as it strategically plans to integrate this new industry into its community.

Specialized training and education will be made available through partnerships with Cal Poly Humboldt, College of the Redwoods, and labor unions.

These programs will provide direct path opportunities that transition participants into employment with businesses that are part of the offshore wind system supply chain. In addition, the program will support widespread community education and outreach pertaining to offshore wind energy.

Funding for this grant was provided through the discretionary funds made available to Governor Gavin Newsom in accordance with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act and administered by the EDD and the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency.

For more information on this program, contact Humboldt County’s Economic Development Division Director Scott Adair at 1-707-476-4800.

SACRAMENTO — Sen. Bill Dodd, D- Napa, is calling for transparency regarding the acquisition of thousands of acres of farmland in Solano County by a group of Silicon Valley billionaires for development of a new city.

“Solano County contributes greatly to California’s reputation as being America’s breadbasket, so people in my district are understandably alarmed at a shadowy investment group buying up large tracks of farmland, purportedly to build a new city,” Sen. Dodd said.

“But we don’t really know what’s going on because the investors have not shared anything with locals,” Dodd said. “While California certainly needs more housing, we need to be intentional about how and where we develop. We need to be able to continue to produce food and avoid suburban sprawl. I’m calling on these developers to be fully transparent in their dealings and to abide by state and local land use regulations. Trying to subvert agricultural protections, public scrutiny and thoughtful decision making doesn’t fly.”

Sen. Dodd was speaking Tuesday about the Flannery Associates land purchases during an informational hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee entitled “Navigating Threats to California Agriculture.”

The hearing can be found here.

Dodd represents the Third Senate District, which includes all or portions of Napa, Yolo, Sonoma, Solano, Sacramento and Contra Costa counties.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — The city of Willows and the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office are trying to come to an agreement on a new contract for services, but officials said they’ve been unable so far to agree on terms, which could result in law enforcement services in Willows coming to a halt later this month.

The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office has provided law enforcement services to the city of Willows since 2017 under a contract for services. This contract expired on June 30.

Following several months of negotiations, the Sheriff’s Office and the city of Willows have been unable to come to an agreement on the 2023 contract for services.

Due to increased costs to provide services and increased caseload within the city of Willows jurisdiction, the total cost of the contract has increased.

The city of Willows jurisdiction accounts for approximately 50% of the sheriff’s office’s total law enforcement caseload. This increase in costs and caseload must be accounted for in the contract renewal, officials said.

Per government code 51350, Glenn County must contract for actual costs for services provided and cannot provide services at a discounted or lower rate than actuals. Additionally, the sheriff’s office said it will not sacrifice officer safety by agreeing to staffing levels below the minimum required.

The sheriff’s office has continued to meet with city management to discuss this issue and has provided documentation for the increased costs as well as the required increase in staffing to meet the law enforcement needs of Willows.

The sheriff’s office has also presented alternative solutions to the city of Willows including a transition plan for the restart of city provided law enforcement services. This transition plan would come with phased law enforcement coverage by the Sheriff’s Office until the City Police Department could be reinstated.

Currently, there is no contract for law enforcement services in effect for the city of Willows. The sheriff’s office continues to provide law enforcement services within the city limits, however, has been unable to bill for the services provided since July 1. Currently the costs incurred exceed $600,000.

If the sheriff’s office and the city of Willows are unable to come to an agreement by Oct. 16, contracted law enforcement services, including animal control, will end in the city of Willows. The sheriff’s office said it will continue to provide dispatching services and respond only to felonies in progress.

The sheriff’s office said it remains committed to finding a solution that ensures the safety of the residents of Willows as well as the safety of its deputies.

For additional information regarding this matter, including the letters to the city of Willows dated Sept. 1, 22 and 25, 2023, can be read below.

Letters to City of Willows 9-1 Thru 25-23 by LakeCoNews on Scribd

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced on Sept. 15 that households impacted by power outages due to a public safety power shut-off in California that occurred Aug. 30 through Aug. 31, 2023, could be eligible for replacement of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP/CalFresh benefits.

This is one of many recent steps USDA has taken to ensure California residents in need have food to eat.

Rather than require SNAP households to report food losses individually, USDA allowed the state of California to approve automatic mass replacements for residents of certain counties and zip codes who lost food because of the power outage.

USDA authorized the mass replacement of 25 percent of regular benefits for households that were issued in August 2023.

The waiver request applies to eight zip codes in the following five counties: Colusa, Glenn, Humboldt, Shasta, and Tehama. More details will be made available through the  California Department of Social Services.

USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service works to end hunger and improve food and nutrition security through a suite of more than 16 nutrition assistance programs, such as the school breakfast and lunch programs, WIC and SNAP.

Together, these programs serve 1 in 4 Americans over the course of a year, promoting consistent and equitable access to healthy, safe, and affordable food essential to optimal health and well-being.

FNS also provides science-based nutrition recommendations through the co-development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. FNS’s report, “Leveraging the White House Conference to Promote and Elevate Nutrition Security: The Role of the USDA Food and Nutrition Service,” highlights ways the agency will support the Biden-Harris Administration’s National Strategy, released in conjunction with the historic White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health in September 2022.

To learn more about FNS, visit www.fns.usda.gov and follow @USDANutrition.

Firefighters on one of the wildland fires caused by lightning in Northern California. Photo courtesy of the National Park Service.

ORICK, Calif. — On the afternoon of Aug. 14, a thunderstorm rolled through Northern California that started numerous wildfires.

Quick responses from multiple agencies and partners were able to slow or stop many fires, but several have developed into large, uncontrolled wildfires.

Within the southern portion of Redwood National and State Parks three fires were detected, and the park responded with full suppression tactics.

Two of the fires, the Glen and the Devil, are both 100% contained and in patrol status.

The Glen fire smoldered in several redwood trees and was controlled primarily with an innovative sprinkler system, pioneered by local California Department of Parks and Recreation staff, installed over 100 feet up in the trees.

The third fire, named the Lost fire, burning in the Lost Man Creek watershed, is now over 700 acres and 0% contained.

A fast response from federal crews, Cal Fire and Green Diamond Resource Co. prevented the fire from burning into private timber lands. Additional crews have continued to arrive, with over 400 firefighters working to contain the spread of the fire to an area as small as possible.

A majority of the Lost fire is in second growth forest that was logged and replanted decades ago. However, the westernmost flank has reached old growth, where fire activity has diminished in the more humid environment.

All these fires are part of the Six Rivers Forest Lightning Complex and Redwood Lightning Complex that is being managed by California Incident Management Team 2.

More information and daily updates on the fires can be found here.

The same thunderstorm on Aug. 14 also started fires that are burning outside the north-eastern border of the park.

These fires are part of the Smith River Complex, and are being jointly managed by California Incident Management Teams 13 and 15. Information about this complex of fires can be found here.

While these fires are outside the boundary of Redwood National and State Parks, they have multiple impacts to park operations.

The primary access highway to the area, Highway 199, has been closed for several days and is not expected to reopen to normal conditions for many days to come.

The main electrical transmission lines to the area were also de-energized to prevent new fire starts and to protect responders working in the area.

This outage has caused the closure of the Hiouchi Visitor Center, Jedediah Smith Campground, and Mill Creek Campground.

Howland Hill Road has also been closed at the request of emergency responders to improve safety and travel routes for incident personnel.

“Our primary concern and focus on these incidents is the safety of firefighters and the public,” said Redwood National and State Park Superintendent Steve Mietz stated. “Multiple organizations are coming together to aggressively engage the fires in ways that ensure everyone can go home when the fires are out. I am proud of the collaborative spirit from our neighbors and partners who have come to help the park during this tough time. We are grateful for the support and understanding of park visitors at this challenging time.”

A full list of impacts and closures within the park can be found here.

\Additional updates are regularly posted on the Facebook pages for Redwood National and State Parks and the Six Rivers Forest.

Upcoming Calendar

19Jun
06.19.2024
Juneteenth
19Jun
06.19.2024 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Free veterans dinner
22Jun
06.22.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
22Jun
06.22.2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Love of the Land Dinner
25Jun
06.25.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
29Jun
06.29.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
2Jul
07.02.2024 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
4Jul
07.04.2024
Independence Day

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