Saturday, 21 May 2022

Community

LUCERNE, Calif. — California Water Service’s Redwood Valley District customers received a total of $147,210.79 in bill credits to resolve remaining unpaid water bill balances incurred during the height of COVID-19.

Cal Water secured funding from the California Water and Wastewater Arrearage Payment Program, which enabled water suppliers to apply for financial support on behalf of customers unable to pay their water bills.

In late November 2021, Cal Water had requested more than $20 million in relief from the Program’s administrator, the State Water Resources Control Board, for customers with past-due balances incurred between March 4, 2020, and June 15, 2021, across its service areas.

The utility received the requested funding amount and will apply credits to affected customers’ accounts by the end of March. Customers are being notified directly if a credit will be applied to their accounts.

Customers with remaining balances that predate the pandemic or have accrued after June 15, 2021, can take advantage of Cal Water’s interest- and penalty-free payment plans or extensions, subject to certain terms and conditions, to help prevent them from becoming subject to potential disruptions in water service in the future. Income-eligible customers may also enroll in Cal Water’s Customer Assistance Program, which provides qualifying customers a discount on their monthly service charge.

“At Cal Water, we recognize the financial impact COVID-19 has had on many of our customers. To reduce the burden caused by the pandemic, we applied for funding from the state of California to help offset customers’ past-due balances incurred during the pandemic,” said District Manager Evan Markey. “We believe that these credits will help give peace of mind to many of our customers who continue to struggle financially and encourage them to apply for our other financial assistance programs, if needed.”

Cal Water serves about 3,600 people through 1,900 service connections in Lucerne and parts of Duncans Mills, Guerneville, Dillon Beach, Noel Heights and Santa Rosa and about two million people through 492,600 service connections in California.

The utility has provided water service in the area since 2000. Additional information may be obtained online at www.calwater.com.

With the threat of a destructive wildfire season looming, legislation advanced today from Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, that would enhance wildfire prevention in California through implementation of a $20 million prescribed fire claims fund.

“Prescribed burning is one of the most effective means of wildfire prevention, which is why I wrote the law last year to encourage greater use of this proven technique,” Sen. Dodd said. “My new bill continues our efforts to encourage greater use of prescribed fire by ensuring those who practice this time-tested technique can have some protection from any unintended costs. I thank committee members for seeing the value in this proposal.”

Prescribed fire, also known as controlled burning, has been used for centuries to clear tinder-dry trees and brush that are known to fuel runaway wildfires.

Rarely do prescribed fires escape their bounds and cause damage to neighboring properties. If they do, Sen. Dodd’s new bill, Senate Bill 926, would establish a fund to help cover costs.

It is a followup to Senate Bill 332, written by Sen. Dodd and signed into law last year, which protects landowners and prescribed fire managers from having to pay fire suppression expenses unless they have acted with gross negligence.

SB 926 is sponsored by The Nature Conservancy. It passed the Senate Natural Resources committee with overwhelming support.

“Returning beneficial fire to the landscape is essential to both forest health as well as reducing the impacts of megafires to our communities,” said Jay Ziegler, director of policy and external affairs at The Nature Conservancy. “SB 926 will establish a prescribed fire claims fund allowing for the implementation of $20 million included in last year’s budget for this purpose. This measure is critical to reducing the risks and impacts of massive and severe wildfires that are only expected to grow with climate change.”

"Reintroduction of ‘good fire’ — prescribed burns — is an important component of strengthening the resilience of our forests and communities to climate changed fueled wildfire and drought,” said Michael Wara, director of the Climate and Energy Policy program at Stanford University. “With SB 926, Sen. Dodd proposes a practical path to overcome one of the major barriers -- lack of available insurance coverage -- that has kept many private prescribed burners on the sidelines and slowed down work that will keep all Californians safer during wildfire season.”

Pictured, Lake County Women’s Civic Club Past President Julie Hernaez, Center President Helen Finch and President Elect Kimberly Baldwin. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Women’s Civic Club.

KELSEYVILLE, Calif. — The Lake County Women’s Civic Club celebrated its 101st anniversary on Friday, March 4, at the monthly meeting held at Riviera Hills Country Club.

More than 40 women came together to celebrate this accomplishment.

There was a beautiful cake provided by Riviera Hills Country Club to kick off the birthday celebration.

Club members said the restaurant’s manager, Kevin, and his team have gone above and beyond for this club for years and this event was extra special to be presented with the beautiful 101st birthday cake.

They also said it was nice to be able to celebrate the club’s birthday all month long, after not being able to do something in person last year.

The Lake County Women’s Civic Club is committed to giving back to Lake County for years to come.

The group will be hosting its Mad Hatter Luncheon on April 23 at Boatique Winery. Help make the 101st year of service a success by purchasing tickets or providing a donation item. Contact Kerry Moore at 707-364-6165 for more information.

Kevin, general manager of Riviera Hills Country Club. Photo courtesy of the Lake County Women’s Civic Club.

Since 1921 the club has worked diligently to raise funds that are donated to community projects. These donations include senior projects, scholarships, city beautification, children’s health and welfare, and historical education.

This year they have budgeted for these items:

• Veterans Honor Guard;
• Hospice Services of Lake County;
• Hope Harbor/Elijah House;
• Family Resource Food Basket;
• Toys 4 Tots Toy Drive;
• Community relief at the boards discretion;
• Two $1,000 scholarships for graduating high school seniors;
• Members bring canned food items and donate money each meeting to be distributed to food cupboards around the lake;
• $10,000 donation to a worthy community project.

In recent years they have been able to contribute $10,000 each to these worthy causes (many more are not listed):

• Rocky/Jerusalem/Valley Fire Relief Fund.
• The Friends of the Library AND the Veterans Honor Guard.
• Victim Witness Program of Lake County for a heating and cooling system.
• Westside Community Park.

Be sure to check out the Lake County Women’s Civic Club Facebook page and give them a like to stay up to date on the latest community activities, donations, events and more.

Following the driest first three months of a year in the state’s recorded history, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday took steps to drive water conservation at the local level, calling on local water suppliers to move to level two of their water shortage contingency plans, which require locally-appropriate actions that will conserve water across all sectors, and directing the State Water Resources Control Board to consider a ban on the watering of decorative grass at businesses and institutions.

In an executive order signed Monday, the governor ordered the State Water Resources Control Board, or SWRCB, to evaluate the adoption of regulations banning irrigation of “non-functional” turf (or grass), such as decorative grass adjacent to large industrial and commercial buildings.

The ban would not include residential lawns or grass used for recreation, such as school fields, sports fields and parks.

The Department of Water Resources estimates this ban alone will result in potential water savings of several hundred thousand acre-feet. An acre-foot of water serves the needs of approximately three households for a year.

“While we have made historic investments to protect our communities, economy and ecosystems from the worsening drought across the West, it is clear we need to do more,” said Gov. Newsom. “Today, I am calling on local water agencies to implement more aggressive water conservation measures, including having the water board evaluate a ban on watering ornamental grass on commercial properties, which will drive water use savings at this critical time. Amid climate-driven extremes in weather, we must all continue to do our part and make water conservation a way of life.”

As the drought persists into a third year and conditions worsen amidst dry, hot weather, the order called on the SWRCB to consider requiring urban water suppliers to activate, at a minimum, Level 2 of their customized Water Shortage Contingency Plans.

These plans, required by state law, are developed by local water agencies to navigate drought and each plan is customized based on an agency’s unique infrastructure and management.

Triggering Level 2 of these plans involves implementing water conservation actions to prepare for a water shortage level of up to 20 percent. For example, in many communities, this would mean reducing the number of days that residents can water outdoors, among other measures.

To further conserve water and strengthen drought resiliency in this critically dry year, the Governor is encouraging suppliers, where appropriate, to consider going above and beyond the Level 2 of their water shortage contingency plans, activating more ambitious measures.

The governor has also ordered state agencies to submit funding proposals to support the state’s short- and long-term drought response, including emergency assistance to communities and households facing drought-related water shortages, facilitating groundwater recharge and wastewater recycling, improvements in water use efficiency, protecting fish and wildlife, and minimizing drought-related economic disruption.

The executive order includes several other provisions that will protect all water users:

• Ensuring vulnerable communities have drinking water: Cuts red tape so communities that need access to emergency hauled or bottled water can get it immediately

• Safeguarding groundwater supplies: Requires local permitting authorities to coordinate with groundwater sustainability agencies to ensure new proposed wells do not compromise existing wells or infrastructure, as 85% of public water systems rely heavily on groundwater during drought; streamlines permitting for groundwater recharge projects that help to refill aquifers when rains come.

• Protecting vulnerable fish and wildlife: Expedites state agency approvals for necessary actions to protect fish and wildlife where drought conditions threaten their health and survival.

• Preventing illegal water diversions: Directs the water board to expand site inspections in order to determine whether illegal diversions are occurring.

The Governor’s California Comeback Plan invests $5.2 billion over three years to support the immediate drought response and build water resilience, including funding to secure and expand water supplies; bolster drought contingency planning and multi-benefit land repurposing projects; support drinking water and wastewater infrastructure, with a focus on small and disadvantaged communities; advance Sustainable Groundwater Management Act implementation to improve water supply security and quality; and support wildlife and habitat restoration efforts, among other nature-based solutions.

Earlier this month, Gov. Newsom advanced an additional $22.5 million to bolster the state’s drought response. Of this funding, $8.25 million will be used to increase educational and outreach efforts, including through the Save Our Water campaign, which is providing Californians with water-saving tips via social media and other digital advertising.

The Governor’s California Blueprint proposal includes $750 million in additional drought funding, $250 million of which was set aside as a drought reserve to be allocated in the spring, based on conditions and need.

More information on the state’s response to the drought and informational resources available to the public are available at https://drought.ca.gov/.

SACRAMENTO — On Wednesday the Rural County Representatives of California, or RCRC, celebrated its 2022 officers and presented its Rural Leadership Awards at their installation reception earlier this month.

The official oath of office for the 2022 RCRC officers was administered by California State Senator Brian Dahle on Jan. 12 through a virtual meeting of the RCRC Board of Directors. The reception celebrating the new officers was delayed until March 9 due the pandemic.

During the reception, Nevada County Supervisor Dan Miller was recognized as chair with Butte County Supervisor Doug Teeter as first vice chair and Monterey County Supervisor Chris Lopez as second vice chair. Mono County Supervisor Stacy Corless remains an officer as immediate past chair.

The 2022 installed officers will lead the organization in championing policies on behalf of California’s rural counties.

“I am honored to lead RCRC this year with the assistance of my colleagues from counties across the state. The work we do through RCRC is critical to advancing the interests of rural counties and promoting a greater understanding about the unique challenges our communities face,” said Supervisor Miller.

In addition to the celebration of RCRC’s 2022 officers, Rural Leadership Awards were presented on behalf of two public officials who have demonstrated an understanding of, and distinctive leadership regarding, rural county issues.

Former California Public Utilities Commissioner Martha Guzman Aceves was recognized as the first recipient of the 2021 Rural Leadership Award. In her role Commissioner Guzman Aceves worked on broadband and utility access and affordability programs for disadvantaged communities.

“It was my pleasure to recognize Martha Guzman Aceves as a recipient of our 2021 Rural Leadership Award,” said Supervisor Miller. “Her leadership on broadband access before the CPUC has made numerous infrastructure funding measures possible this year and significantly advanced efforts to reduce the digital divide in our rural communities.”

“The leadership by RCRC over the last three years in driving innovative and sustainable solutions is what yielded such massive reforms over the last two-years,” said Martha Guzman Aceves, “Getting to solutions that actually benefit people is what local government does best and I thank you all for your service.”

Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry (D-Winters) was announced as the second recipient of the 2021 Rural Leadership Award. Aguiar-Curry was recognized for her efforts to bring increased internet connectivity to her rural Assembly district and for championing Assembly Bill 14, helping to subsidize last mile infrastructure construction in unserved and underserved areas of the state.

“Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry has demonstrated significant leadership in the passage of Assembly Bill 14 and through her advocacy for broadband deployment,” said Supervisor Corless. “Her efforts to increase broadband access for all, including hard to reach communities, make her the embodiment of a rural leader.”

“It is an honor and pleasure to accept this recognition from RCRC,” said Assemblymember Aguiar-Curry. “Our rural communities suffer from a lack of access to health care, the economy, education and more. Broadband connectivity is key to fixing so many of those needs.”

She said her rural county supervisors and RCRC’s great staff were absolutely critical in winning the day and securing a generational investment of $7.5 billion in providing Internet for all through her Assembly Bill 14, Senate Bill 4 (Senator Gonzalez), and Senate Bill 156.

Pictured from left to right, Kelseyville Elementary School Librarian Crystal Noel, Konocti Women's Service Club Second Vice President Judy Michaels, Principal Travis Perkins and Konocti Women's Service Club President Anna Hess. Courtesy photo.

LAKE COUNTY, Calif. — On Tuesday, March 8, the Konocti Women's Service Club presented a $1,000 check for the purchase of books for the library at Kelseyville Elementary School.

Also, on March 8, the Konocti Women's Service Club donated $1,000 worth of school supplies to benefit the staff and students at Mountain Vista Middle School in Kelseyville.

The Konocti Women's Service Club is a nonprofit organization of wonderful women who are dedicated to helping the children of Lake County.

The group’s motto is "For Kids’ Sake.”

Pictured from left to right, Konocti Women's Service Club Second Vice President Judy Michaels, Mountain Vista Middle School Principal Scott Conrad, teacher Beth Garcia and Konocti Women's Service Club President Anna Hess. Courtesy photo.

Upcoming Calendar

23May
05.23.2022 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
23May
05.23.2022 5:00 pm - 6:30 pm
Scotts Valley Advisory Council
24May
05.24.2022 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Rotary Club of Clear Lake
25May
05.25.2022 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Annual invasive weed tour
26May
05.26.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
28May
28May
05.28.2022 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cobb Estate Sale
28May
05.28.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Steele
28May
05.28.2022 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Rodman Preserve public hours
29May
05.29.2022 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Cobb Estate Sale

Mini Calendar

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