Monday, 20 September 2021

Regional

Last week, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife received trail camera video from May 15 showing a collared gray wolf in southwest Kern County.

Though CDFW cannot confirm this at this time, it is possible the wolf could be OR-93 because of video evidence of the collar and the last known whereabouts of OR-93, which was in San Luis Obispo County on April 5.

Even though the video evidence is more than three months old, CDFW said it will immediately investigate the area for additional information in hopes of finding wolf DNA for analysis. CDFW will also conduct flyovers to attempt to connect to the collar through radio telemetry.

The trail camera has been recording wildlife use at a water trough on private property for three years. The camera was reset by the caretaker of the property in April but the images were not downloaded and provided to CDFW until early this week.

CDFW strongly encourages the public to be aware that the wolf population continues to grow in California and to know the difference between wolves and coyotes. Though gray wolves are generally much bigger than coyotes, they can sometimes be misidentified.

The agency encourages the public to review tips for differentiating between wolves, coyotes and dogs.

Though the video was black and white, wolf OR-93 also has a purple collar around his neck which should make the animal more identifiable.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered pursuant to California’s Endangered Species Act. It is unlawful to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap or capture gray wolves. Anyone who believes they have seen a wolf in California can report it to CDFW.

Gray wolves pose very little safety risk to humans. CDFW is working to monitor and conserve California’s small wolf population and is collaborating with livestock producers and diverse stakeholders to minimize wolf-livestock conflicts.

Gray wolf management in California is guided by CESA as well as CDFW’s Conservation Plan for Gray Wolves in California, finalized in 2016. More information is available on CDFW’s wolf web page.

Wolf OR-93, a male wolf born in 2019 who made headlines earlier this year, initially entered Modoc County on Jan. 30. After briefly returning to Oregon, he reentered Modoc County on Feb. 4.

On Feb. 24, he entered Alpine County after passing through portions of Lassen, Plumas, Sierra, Nevada, Placer, El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras counties.

On Feb. 25, he entered Mono County. In mid-March, he was in western Tuolumne County. By late March he was in Fresno County, and then entered San Benito County after crossing Highway 99 and Interstate 5.

He was in Monterey County on April 1 and his last collar transmission was from San Luis Obispo County on April 5.

Through April 5 he had traveled at least 935 air miles in California, a minimum average of 16 air miles per day.

OR-93 dispersed from the White River pack in northern Oregon.

On Friday, Gov. Gavin Newsom honored Galt Police Department Officer Harminder Singh Grewal, who died this week as the result of a vehicle crash.

“Jennifer and I offer our deepest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Grewal, a devoted public servant who worked selflessly to protect his community. Our thoughts are also with the fellow officer who was seriously injured and is recovering,” Gov. Newsom said.

On Sunday, Aug. 22, while en route to assist with the Caldor fire response in El Dorado County, Officer Grewal’s patrol car was struck head-on by another vehicle, severely injuring Officer Grewal and a fellow officer.

Officer Grewal succumbed to his injuries on Thursday, Aug. 26.

Grewal, 27, served with the Galt Police Department for two and a half years and was named Officer of the Year by the department in 2020.

He was a member of the honor guard and had recently been selected to be a motorcycle officer.

He is survived by his parents, Gurdip and Jaswinder Grewal; brother, Jasdeep Grewal, and sister-in-law, Kirandeep Grewal; and sister, Naudeep Sidhu.

In honor of Officer Grewal, Capitol flags will be flown at half-staff.

The California Highway Patrol’s Northern Division, having jurisdiction over the major transportation corridor of US-101 throughout northern California, is announcing a Major Corridor Enhanced Primary Collision Factor Enforcement Campaign on Thursday, Aug. 26.

This effort aims to reduce the number of injury and 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 23 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 represents a large portion of where traffic collisions are occurring,” 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.

Dean Michael Stevens, 54, of Ukiah, California, has admitted to robbing the Chase Bank branch in Ukiah on January 19, 2021. Courtesy photo.


NORTH COAST, Calif. — On Friday, a Ukiah man facing a jury trial admitted to committing a January robbery of a Ukiah bank.

Dean Michael Stevens, age 54, entered a no contest plea in Mendocino County Superior Court to the robbery, the Mendocino District Attorney’s Office reported.

A no contest plea to a felony charge is the same legally as a guilty plea, officials said.

Stevens also admitted a strike sentencing enhancement alleging a felony robbery conviction in Sonoma County Superior Court in 2015.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder accepted Stevens’ change of plea Friday afternoon.

Stevens’ trial on the charges was scheduled to begin Monday.

As part of the no contest plea agreement, the District Attorney’s Office required the defendant to agree to a 10-year state prison term.

Robbery is a violent felony so any work or good time credits earned by Stevens will be limited to no more than 15 percent of the prison time.

Formal sentencing is set for 9 a.m. Sept. 9.

The Ukiah Police Department reported that on Jan. 19 its dispatch received a report of a robbery that just occurred at the Chase Bank on State Street.

Officers responded to the bank and began an investigation, canvassing the area for the responsible subject. Within minutes of arriving at the bank, officers were provided with still photographs from the bank’s surveillance system that showed the man who committed the robbery.

A bank employee reported the male approached her bank window and verbally advised her that this was a “robbery” and to “Give me the money.” He did not show a weapon, but the employee was placed in a state of fear, based on the suspect’s words. She gave him more than $3,000 and he left the bank with the stolen money.

The Ukiah Police Department said its officers reviewed the surveillance photos and recognized the male subject from numerous prior contact as Stevens, who was known to be on Post Release Community Supervision through the Mendocino County Probation Department.

Officers researched prior contacts with Stevens and were able to identify a vehicle that Stevens had been contacted in within the prior week. A “be on the lookout” was broadcast to surrounding law enforcement agencies, advising that Stevens was wanted for the robbery. This BOLO included the identifying information for the vehicle associated with Stevens.

Just after 1:30 a.m. the following day, an on-duty Mendocino County Sheriff’s sergeant contacted the Ukiah Police Department to advise that he located the vehicle in the parking lot of the Travel Lodge on North State Street.

Ukiah Police officers arrived at that location, confirmed the vehicle matched the one associated with Stevens and also confirmed that Stevens was a registered guest at the motel.

The officers and the sergeant contacted Stevens in a motel room and searched the room and the vehicle as they are allowed to do under Stevens’ Post Release Community Supervision terms.

Authorities said the search resulted in officers locating a bag of cash, the same clothing as worn by the man who committed the robbery and other evidence that connected Stevens to the robbery. Stevens was subsequently arrested without incident and booked into the Mendocino County Jail.

District Attorney David Eyster prosecuted the case.

The law enforcement agencies that developed evidence in the case were the Ukiah Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office and the State Parole office.

Deb St. Cyr. and Ken Wells are co-leaders for the newly formed Redwood Trails Alliance. Courtesy by PINE Photo.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Redwood Trails Alliance has been created through the union of the Sonoma County Trails Council and the Redwood Empire Mountain Bike Alliance.

In November 2020 the Board of Directors of both corporations agreed to join forces and to pursue their common mission as the Redwood Trails Alliance with an initial board of directors combined from both nonprofits.

By joining forces, the new Trails Alliance will be able to increase the quality and quantity of our
local trails for more trail users while respecting the environment we visit.

Their work includes education, advocacy and trail projects which are funded by memberships, donations, and income from trail construction and training services.

Trails Alliance projects have included trail design, construction and maintenance.

The group is currently working at several Sonoma County Regional Parks, including Helen Putnam in Petaluma, Foothill in Windsor and Taylor Mt. in Santa Rosa and recently completed trail work at Napa County’s Moore Creek Park.

The new organization will be co-led by Ken Wells and Deb St. Cyr.

Wells, the alliance’s trails director, has been on trails all his life with over three decades of trail advocacy and construction experience. His efforts have been recognized with a long list of awards.

St. Cyr is the alliance’s executive director and comes to the partnership with over 20 years of volunteering with nonprofits.

Powered by a passion for the outdoors, St. Cyr stepped into the trail building and mountain bike
advocacy world after a devastating wildfire destroyed her home, community and local trail system.

The Ken and Deb partnership creates a powerful combination of organizational skills, nonprofit knowledge and trail construction experience, establishing a solid foundation to build more and better trails for all.

With the substantial experience, knowledge and resources that is now the Redwood Trails Alliance, the organization is a respected leader of the trails community in the North Bay.

The Trails Alliance recognizes the environmental and social challenges our communities face, as well as the critical role being outside provides for our mental, physical and social wellbeing.

It provides the essential link to the natural world — trails.

The Trails Alliance is committed to the creation and stewardship of a network of durable and enjoyable trails to enable people to visit our amazing landscapes.

Visit the group’s website and follow it on Instagram and Facebook.

NORTHERN CALIFORNIA — Out of an abundance of caution, the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Cache Creek Casino Resort executive leadership have decided to delay grand opening plans originally scheduled for September.

Concerts will also be postponed until further notice. This difficult decision was made with the health and wellness of guests and employees as our top priority.

The concerts postponed include Train, the Beach Boys, Clint Black, and Boyz II Men.

New dates will be announced once confirmed.

Although these events are postponed, the casino, hotel, and its amenities — including the South Tower with its luxury suites, Ensō sushi and the newly reconfigured C2 Steak and Seafood — remain open at this time with appropriate COVID-19 protocols in place.

“We take our responsibility as leaders in Northern California’s hospitality industry seriously. The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and Cache Creek Casino Resort will remain vigilant on behalf of the health and safety of guests and employees, as we have done throughout the pandemic,” tribal and casino leadership said in a statement.

Even before public health officials called for it, Cache Creek Casino Resort was among the first properties to close in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation continued to provide full pay and benefits to staff for months, throughout that closure.

Once vaccines became available, the Yocha Dehe Fire Department hosted several on-site vaccine clinics, providing more than 2,000 vaccine doses to casino and tribal employees, as well as the rural Capay Valley community.

Tribal leadership and resort management said they will continue to work with county and state public health officials to inform future decisions regarding events, ticketed entertainment and all other operations at Cache Creek Casino Resort.

Cache Creek Casino Resort, owned and operated by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation, is located 40 miles northwest of Sacramento and 80 miles from the San Francisco Bay Area in Brooks. It features more than 600 four-diamond luxury hotel rooms, thousands of exclusive slot machines, hundreds of table games, 10 dining experiences, world-class nightlife, a full-service spa and an 18-hole championship golf course.

Upcoming Calendar

20Sep
09.20.2021 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Lake County 29'ers Cribbage Club Meeting
21Sep
09.21.2021 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Lake County Farmers’ Finest Tuesday market
22Sep
22Sep
09.22.2021 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Lake and Mendocino Stand Down and Resource Fair
22Sep
09.22.2021 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
First 5 Lake County Commission
23Sep
09.23.2021 9:00 am - 11:00 am
Savings Bank drive-up shred event
23Sep
09.23.2021 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Westside Community Horse Park planning meeting
24Sep
09.24.2021 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Visitor Center tour
25Sep
09.25.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Visitor Center tour
26Sep
09.26.2021 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Clear Lake State Park Visitor Center tour

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