Sunday, 23 June 2024

Regional

A roadwork project will result in travel delays on Highway 70 in Butte County, California. Photo courtesy of Caltrans.

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. — Caltrans is alerting motorists to expect travel delays over the next two years on Highway 70 through the Cresta area of the Feather River Canyon due to construction.

Crews have set up an automated traffic signal to manage one-way traffic control from the Shady Rest area to one mile south of the end of the construction zone. Motorists can expect up to a five-minute delay.

In June and July, motorists can expect long delays because of rock blasting operations. Rock blasting may occur anytime from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays starting Thursday, June 1.

During these operations, motorists may expect a temporary closure of the highway and up to a three-hour delay around the construction area to allow the contractor to clear debris and ensure the roadway is safe for travel.

The rock blasting operations are part of a project to raise the existing roadway by five feet, shore up the embankment with rock material to protect against future flood damage and build a retaining wall along the hillside.

Caltrans advises motorists to expect travel delays along the Highway 70 corridor between Jarbo Gap in Butte County and the Greenville Wye in Plumas County. Caltrans and PG&E have projects scheduled at various locations in both counties.

Caltrans advises motorists to “Be Work Zone Alert.” The department will issue construction updates on Twitter @CaltransDist3 and on Facebook at CaltransDistrict3.

For real-time traffic, click on Caltrans’ QuickMap quickmap.dot.ca.gov/ or download the QuickMap app from the App Store or Google Play.

From left to right, California Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Director Charlton H. Bonham, Winnemem Wintu Chief Caleen Sisk and Cathy Marcinkevage, assistant regional administrator for NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region, on Monday, May 1, 2023. Photo courtesy of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries and the Winnemem Wintu Tribe signed agreements to restore Chinook salmon to the mountains north of Redding, California, on May 1, 2023.

The agreements support a joint effort to return Chinook salmon to their original spawning areas in cold mountain rivers now blocked by Shasta Reservoir in northern California.

The goal is ecological and cultural restoration which will one day renew fishing opportunities for the tribe that depended on the once-plentiful salmon for food and much more.

The tribe signed a co-management agreement with CDFW and a co-stewardship agreement with NOAA Fisheries, reflecting the way the two agencies describe accords with tribes. This three-way collaboration is a historic achievement that advances our common goals.

The agreements call for the agencies to include the tribe in decisions for salmon that have great meaning for the Winnemem Wintu. Three years of drought have taken a toll on endangered winter-run Chinook salmon, which migrate and spawn in the lower Sacramento River. The river can warm to temperatures that are lethal to their eggs.

During the summer of 2022, the tribe joined state and federal agencies in pursuing urgent measures to improve the odds for winter-run Chinook salmon, including transporting 40,000 fertilized eggs to the cold McCloud River above Shasta Reservoir.

Many hatched, swimming down the river for the first time since Shasta Dam was completed in the early 1940s. The tribe joined agency staff in collecting the juvenile fish before they reached the reservoir, which is populated with predators. Biologists then moved them downstream around the reservoir to continue to the ocean.

The agreements will advance recovery plans for the crucial species.

“This is an historic agreement that moves us one step closer to our goal of returning wild salmon from New Zealand and creating a volitional passage around Shasta Dam,” said Winnemem Wintu Chief Caleen Sisk. “It’s incredible that we can now share this vision with CDFW and NOAA. We have a long way to go, but there are now more good people working on it.”

“This is an historic day and it’s long overdue,” said CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham. “We can’t change the wrongs that were done in the past, but we have an obligation in the present to make it better. With this agreement we are bringing life back to the McCloud River.”

“By working together to share our knowledge and expertise, we can expand and accelerate our efforts to restore and recover Chinook salmon,” said Cathy Marcinkevage, Assistant Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. “This species is in crisis, and I am confident that we can together drive solutions that will truly make a difference.”

The new agreements call for the tribe to contribute traditional ecological knowledge, sharing insight as the tribe once did for Livingston Stone, who established the nation’s first Chinook salmon hatchery on the McCloud in 1872.

The tribe's oral history and Stone’s reports from the time recount the tribe’s deep cultural connection to winter-run Chinook salmon, as well as practical knowledge of the species.

The agencies agreed to make the tribe a “co-equal decision-maker” and CDFW has awarded a $2.3 million grant to support the tribe’s participation in salmon measures. Agencies also agreed to evaluate the potential reintroduction of Chinook salmon that were moved from the McCloud River in California to streams in New Zealand more than 100 years ago and have strong cultural and spiritual significance for the tribe.

In 2022, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) tested an experimental system for collecting juvenile winter-run salmon that hatch in the McCloud River as part of a larger-scale future reintroduction program.

DWR plans continued testing late this year. Recovery plans for the species call for an ongoing program of annual transplants of winter-run Chinook salmon to spawning habitat in the McCloud River, where they will be safer from the rising temperatures of climate change.

NOAA Fisheries recognizes highly-endangered winter-run Chinook salmon as a “Species in the Spotlight,” in need of focused recovery actions.

Returning the species to the McCloud River is a central element of the 2021-2025 Action Plan for the species, which is also listed under California’s state endangered species act.

Rachelle Resendez. Courtesy photo.

WILLIAMS, Calif. — On Tuesday, April 25, Rachelle Resendez will follow a proud tradition dating back to 1874 when William H. Williams became the first Postmaster of what was then known as the Central Post Office.

Resendez will raise her right hand to take the official Oath of Office as the Postmaster of the Williams Post Office at a 1 p.m. ceremony at the Williams Post Office, 801 E St. in Williams.

Post Office Operations Manager Paul Heroux will administer the oath.

Resendez, a proud six-year postal service employee, began her postal career in 2017 in Marysville as an Assistant Rural Carrier.

She went on to serve as a carrier in Colusa before stepping into management in the fall of 2019 as a supervisor.

In 2022, Resendez took on her most recent role as the acting Postmaster of Arbuckle before her promotion to the Williams Post Office.

As outlined in the USPS Delivering for America plan, the Postal Service is committed to modernizing and continually adapting to the evolving needs of all customers.

As the Postmaster of the Williams Post Office Resendez is prepared to serve her community with that development in mind.

“To me, a Postmaster is a leader. They are first in line for the hard work, first to seek out solutions to a problem, first to accept accountability for a mistake, and first to seek out new knowledge and ideas,” said Resendez.

“My goal as the Postmaster of Williams is to bring about positive growth. I would like the Williams Post Office to grow as both a business and as part of the community. I would like to see my employees grow both at home and in their careers. And I am committed to growing as a leader and as an asset to the Postal Service.”

Resendez resides in Colusa, where she enjoys spending time with her friends and family including husband, Roberto 40, and children Joseph 22, William 20, Peter 18, Roberto 16 and James 10.

In her free time Resendez enjoys reading, baking and crafting (wreaths, stickers, sewing, beadwork). She also enjoys volunteering in the local community and participating in charitable events.

As the Postmaster of Williams, Resendez supervises six employees and oversees the retail services and the daily distribution of mail and packages to 1,032 delivery stops, 1,302 PO Boxes, two rural delivery routes and one highway contract to a community of over 5,500 residents.

Carlos Villatoro. Courtesy photo.

NAPA COUNTY, Calif. — Napa County District Attorney Allison Haley announced on Thursday the hiring of former Napa Valley Register reporter Carlos Villatoro as the Napa County DA’s Office’s new public relations and media officer.

Villatoro comes to the DA’s Office from the Medical Board of California, where he led the board’s communication efforts as its public information manager.

As the DA’s new public information officer, or PIO, Villatoro will lead media relations and digital and in-person outreach efforts for the agency.

The newly created position is a critical part of the DA’s management team.

“Bringing Carlos onto our team signals our intentional efforts to keep the public informed, engaged and apprised about what we do to keep our community safe,” Haley said. “This includes case updates, public safety tips and crime trends. His technical skills will also help modernize and streamline the presentation of evidence in the courtroom, allowing the Napa DA’s Office to advocate for the public and crime survivors with increased sophistication.”

Villatoro is no stranger to Napa. He graduated from Napa High School in 1994 and worked as a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register for nearly seven years before becoming the editor of the Patch website in Dixon.

During his time with the Register, Villatoro also served as the editor of Napa Valley Hispanos Unidos, the Register’s Spanish-bilingual newspaper.

Prior to his career in government communications, Villatoro served as a social media assignment editor for CBS 13 (KOVR-TV, West Sacramento).

Villatoro graduated from California State University at Sacramento with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and communications and is bilingual and bicultural.

In 2010, Villatoro was named Napa Valley’s Hispanic Citizen of the Year.

POINT ARENA, Calif. — The Bureau of Land Management invites the public to participate in “Celebrate the Coast,” from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Saturday, May 6, at Point Arena.

The event is free to the public and activities will be happening along the coastal trail between City Hall and the Lighthouse.

Mendocino College Field Station, found along the trail, will be offering an open house.

The BLM Ukiah Field Office is hosting the event in partnership with the Friends of Point Arena-Stornetta Lands, Point Arena Lighthouse, city of Point Arena and Mendocino College.

"Our coastal partners are vital in managing Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands,” said Ukiah Field Manager Nicholas Lavrov. “Their dedicated stewardship is an inspiration to visitors in caring for the Monument for future generations."

Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands was the first shoreline unit of the California Coastal National Monument. In 2014, the California Coastal National Monument Gateway Partners successfully advocated for these public lands to be added to the Monument.

This is a celebration of grassroots efforts to expand the Monument to include these coastal bluffs, tide pools, dunes, coastal prairies, riverbanks, and the mouth and estuary of the Garcia River.

The public can begin at either Point Arena Lighthouse, 45500 Lighthouse Road (just north of Point Arena), or the Point Arena City Hall, 451 School St.

More details about “Celebrate the Coast” can be found online here.

Situated along the rugged Mendocino County coastline adjacent to the town of Point Arena, the Point Arena-Stornetta unit offers spectacular views of coastal bluffs, sea arches, the estuary of the Garcia River and sandy beaches and dunes with eight miles of marked paths.

For more information about the California Coastal National Monument, please visit online at https://www.blm.gov/programs/national-conservation-lands/california/california-coastal.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said human remains found nearly two years ago near Willits have been identified as belonging to a Texas man.

The remains are those of Thaddeus Keegan Bradley, 27, of San Antonio, according to a report from Capt. Greg Van Patten.

On Sept. 20, 2021, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was notified of the presence of human remains underneath Underpass Road at the intersection of North Highway 101 in Willits, California, Van Patten said.

He said a motorist who was traveling through Mendocino County had stopped at the location and located the human remains while walking their dog.

Sheriff's detectives were summoned to the scene and a coroner's investigation was initiated to determine the identity of the human remains and the cause/manner of death, according to the report.

Van Patten said sheriff's detectives collected a DNA sample from the human remains and submitted the sample to the California Department of Justice Jan Bashinski Laboratory in Richmond, California.

On April 11, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the California Department of Justice that a DNA match had been made on the human remains submission, Van Patten said.

He said the DNA analysis identified the human remains as being those of Bradley, who had been living a transient lifestyle prior to death.

His mother reported Bradley missing to the Arcata Police Department in July 2022, Van Patten said.

Van Patten said familial DNA samples were obtained during that time and entered into the National Combined Missing and Unidentified System by the Arcata Police Department.

On April 11, after official identification of Bradley's remains, the coroner's investigation was concluded with his death being classified as an accidental death due to acute methamphetamine toxicity, Van Patten said.

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