Friday, 22 September 2023


GLENN COUNTY, Calif. — Caltrans is alerting motorists that the long-term closures of the north- and southbound Interstate 5 Willows safety roadside rest areas, or SRRA, in Glenn County have been extended to March 31, 2022.

The Willows rest areas have been closed since January for construction and were originally expected to reopen by Dec. 31. However, a time extension is required because of supply chain delays for materials needed to complete improvements to the facilities.

During the closure, northbound I-5 motorists will be directed to use the Red Bluff SRRA in Tehama County, about 42 miles north of Willows; please note the northbound Corning rest area is closed for maintenance work.

Southbound motorists will be directed to the Maxwell SRRA in Colusa County, about 34 miles south of the Willows SRRA.

Caltrans is investing more than $6.9 million to update the wastewater, water, and lighting systems at the Willows rest areas. TSI Engineering Inc. of North Highlands, Sacramento County, is the contractor for the project.

Weather or unexpected events may delay or prolong the work. 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 or download the QuickMap app from the App Store or Google Play.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division, having jurisdiction over the major transportation corridor of United States 101 throughout Northern California, will be executing a Major Corridor Enhanced Primary Collision Factor Enforcement Campaign on Thursday, Dec. 2.

This effort aims to reduce the number of injury and fatal traffic crashes on US-101 throughout Northern Division.

In 2019 and 2020, a total of 1521 crashes occurred on US-101 in Mendocino and Humboldt counties, causing 535 injuries and killing a total of 32 people. 

The primary causes for these crashes were determined to be speed, reckless driving, unsafe lane change, unsafe turning movement, following too close, distracted driving, and driving under the influence, with increased injuries and deaths from occupant restraint violations.

The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of safety, service, and security.

This includes the prevention of loss of life, injuries, and property damage resulting from traffic crashes through enforcement, education, engineering, and partnerships.

The CHP is promoting awareness and safe driving along this major corridor route. During the enhanced enforcement campaign, the CHP Northern Division will target US-101 in Mendocino and Humboldt counties with increased traffic safety operations to educate and, if necessary, take appropriate enforcement action on drivers who violate traffic laws along this major corridor route.

“The US-101 corridor within Northern Division is winding and mountainous, with many areas of undivided highway, increasing the frequency of traffic crashes,” said Northern Division Chief Greg Baarts. “Increased visibility, aggressive enforcement, and public education within the Areas along this corridor will contribute to improved safety for motorists traveling on US-101.”

The CHP reminds motorists to follow these basic traffic safety rules: always wear a seat belt, drive at a speed safe for conditions, eliminate distractions while driving, and always designate a sober driver.

Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins. Courtesy photo.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — On Friday, Oct. 8, the Mendocino County Office of Education and Mendocino County Public Health Department hosted a meeting of local K-12 educators where Public Health Officer Dr. Andy Coren complimented educators, saying that schools have effectively “stopped COVID at the door.”

As education and public health leaders reviewed COVID transmission data, they noted that of the 33 COVID cases identified in schools, all were attributable to community spread — not transmission at school.

“This is important because people need to know schools are safe for students and staff,” said Mendocino County Superintendent of Schools Michelle Hutchins.

She explained that since the beginning of the current school year, the goal of the California Department of Education, or CDE, has been to assure that students have access to safe, full in-person instruction.

During the 2020-21 school year, state education and health officials mandated at least six feet of distancing between students, requiring schools to implement a hybrid model where only half of students were allowed on campus at any given time.

When COVID transmission rates did not increase, the minimum distance between students was reduced to four feet. Again, thanks to risk-mitigation strategies such as vaccines, screening, quarantines, masks and hand-washing, transmission rates did not increase.

This school year, there is no minimum physical distancing requirement, and again, transmission rates have not increased. Therefore, on Nov. 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom has agreed to revisit the mask requirement in schools.

Hutchins said, “No one expects the governor to remove the mask mandate immediately, but he is looking at the data and assessing the options. Even after events such as Homecoming at some of our biggest schools, we haven’t seen an uptick in cases. We appear to be transitioning from a world in the midst of a pandemic to a world where COVID-19 is endemic. As more and more people are vaccinated, the hope is that we will be able to return to life without masks, as long as we keep washing our hands and staying home when we’re sick.”

Hutchins hopes people will recognize how safe schools are and consider applying for the many positions currently available. As of Oct. 11, there were almost 200 education-related vacancies in Mendocino County.

“If you’re looking for work, whether you have a high school diploma, a college degree, or a teaching credential, there are jobs available. Go to for details,” she said.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will hold its fifth redistricting hearing on Tuesday, Dec. 7, at 1:30 p.m. following the board’s approval of a final map on Nov. 18.

This action follows the extensive work of the board-appointed, citizen-based Advisory Redistricting Commission, or ARC.

The ARC, with assistance from county staff from the executive office, county counsel and GIS, assisted the board in the redistricting process by facilitating community outreach, identifying communities of interest from public input and drafting maps in accordance with the required criteria outlined in the California FAIR MAPS Act, California Elections Code section 21500.

At the Dec. 7 regular meeting, the Board of Supervisors will consider introduction and adoption of an ordinance to repeal and replace Mendocino County Code section 2.08, and attach the Final Map and description of the boundaries of the five supervisorial districts.

Meetings are live streamed and available for viewing online one the Mendocino County YouTube page, at or by toll-free, telephonic live stream at 888-544-8306.

The public may participate digitally in meetings in lieu of personal attendance. Comment may be made in any of the following ways: via written comment to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., through our online eComment platform at, through voicemail messaging by calling 707-234-6333, or by telephone via telecomment.

Information regarding telecomment participation can be found here.

For more information, contact the County Executive Office at 707-463-4441 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Fall leaf color at the Chico Seed Orchard in Chico, California.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — Beginning Monday, Nov. 8, the pedestrian gate at the Chico Seed Orchard will be open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except on federal holidays.

These hours coordinate with sunrise and sundown after daylight savings ends on Sunday, Nov. 7.

The hours for the drive-through gate remain the same throughout the year, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors are not allowed on the property after dark.

The Chico Seed Orchard is located on 209 acres at 2741 Cramer Lane in Chico.

There is a one-mile, self-guided and accessible nature trail that meanders through a unique botanical area in Edgar Slough.

Officials would like to remind pet owners that dogs must be on a leash at all times.

The orchard is part of the Mendocino National Forest. Please see Forest Order 08-20-01 and the associated map for public use, parking and closed areas at the Chico Seed Orchard.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation has partnered with the Sierra Club, Yolo County Farm Bureau, and local residents in a lawsuit to challenge a Yolo County cannabis ordinance.

Proponents said the lawsuit does not seek to stop cannabis cultivation and related businesses in Yolo County, or to prevent county residents from profiting from the cannabis industry.

Instead, they said it would simply require the county to comply with California environmental law by evaluating the full and real impacts of cannabis cultivation, and mitigate those impacts, before adopting an ordinance regulating it.

Adhering to this process is what the California Environmental Quality Act requires, and these same requirements apply to every other regulated land use.

“The cannabis industry has a place in Yolo County, just as cannabis has a place in the medicine cabinets of many people in California,” the Tribal Council of the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation said in a statement on the lawsuit. “But sensible cannabis permitting can’t happen until the county is clear-eyed about the problems overconcentration creates, especially in sensitive areas around schools, near cultural heritage sites, and in smaller communities like those in the Capay Valley.”

The “green rush” to the Capay Valley — which is composed of rural communities west of Interstate 505 from Madison through Rumsey — created widespread blight and land uses incompatible with the organic farming practices and ecotourism for which the area is known.

Additionally, the Capay Valley’s location in the northernmost part of the county makes cannabis farms there difficult to reach and more expensive to regulate for inspectors and sheriff deputies, including deputies subsidized by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation.

With more than half of the grows concentrated in the Capay Valley, local residents have become unduly burdened, the lawsuit’s proponents said.

The suit stems from what the proponents said are flaws in the environmental review process that produced a cannabis land use ordinance the Yolo County Board of Supervisors adopted.

One key flaw cited by the groups who are suing is the county's refusal to compare the impacts of cannabis cultivation to Yolo County's rural environment and agricultural landscape before the grows existed.

By proceeding in this fashion, the county's environmental document necessarily missed significant cannabis industry impacts, the proponents said.

While the county agreed it made sense to protect the upper Capay Valley from an over concentration of grows, its ordinance allows cannabis grows to now concentrate in the lower Capay Valley, burdening small rural communities, schools and businesses, particularly in Madison and Esparto, the lawsuit proponents said.

These communities are among the poorest and most diverse in the county, with Esparto and Madison having the highest percentage of Latino residents (55.3% and 76%, respectively), and with Madison ranking as the most impoverished.

The groups bringing the suit said Yolo County’s rulemaking is unclear even on the issue of the Capay Valley’s boundaries, which is defined one way in some legal documents, and another way in the proposed ordinance.

The plaintiffs said cannabis cultivation poses adverse impacts for residential rural communities, also arguing that its production is fundamentally incompatible with traditional agriculture in Yolo County, and the county needs to account for that reality through appropriate mitigation.

The full extent of the increased costs and harms created by the industry cannot be known because the county refused to consider impacts of cannabis cultivation authorized as of 2017, without any environmental review. The lawsuit filed Thursday seeks to correct that error.

Upcoming Calendar

09.23.2023 9:00 am - 12:00 pm
California Coastal Cleanup Day
09.23.2023 9:00 am - 5:00 pm
Lakeport Splash-In at Clear Lake
09.23.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
09.23.2023 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Passion Play fundraiser
09.24.2023 11:00 am - 3:00 pm
Acme Foundation 25th anniversary celebration
09.26.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at Library Park
09.27.2023 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Town hall on homelessness
09.28.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center
09.30.2023 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.05.2023 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
Middletown Art Center

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