Wednesday, 28 September 2022

Regional

NORTH COAST, Calif. — On Tuesday State Sen. Mike McGuire said he has introduced legislation to stop what he said is one of the largest environmental threats the North Coast has seen in decades — a proposal from a secret, clandestine operation, hiding behind an anonymous LLC out of Wyoming, that wants to ship millions of tons of coal through the Northern California counties of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt.

The shadowy rail operation would utilize a portion of the now defunct North Coast rail route, which runs approximately 320 miles between Marin and Humboldt counties. The coal would then be loaded onto ships in Humboldt Bay, sold overseas, and burned.

Sen. McGuire's SB 307, which was introduced last week, would help stop that proposal, or anything like it in the future, in its tracks.

“This toxic coal train would run through the heart of so many thriving communities and along the Russian and Eel Rivers, which are the main source of drinking water for nearly one million residents,” Sen. Mike McGuire said. “This dangerous proposal must be stopped, which is why we have introduced SB 307. This critical bill will ban any state funding from being invested to improve the rail line for coal shipments north of Willits and it bans any state funding to build out a potential coal storage terminal at the Port of Humboldt. No way, no how are we going to let this happen.”

The secrecy behind the toxic coal train is completely offensive, as well as the fact these bad actors have met behind closed doors with some local officials to try and make this toxic dream a reality.

This anonymous group has also filed a request to kill the build out of the Great Redwood Trail. The Trail, which will be the longest contiguous rail-trail in America, would stretch from the bustling waters of San Francisco Bay to the fog-shrouded redwood shores of Humboldt Bay.

SB 307 explicitly states that state money cannot be spent to initiate, improve or operate rail service on the now defunct North Coast rail line north of the City of Willits. Further, it bans state money from being spent on the build out of any new bulk coal terminal facilities within the County of Humboldt.

In addition, Sen. McGuire has made significant progress on the Great Redwood Trail. SB 69, which was approved in the Assembly by a vote of 71-0 and then in the Senate by 38-0, will close down the North Coast Railroad Authority, or NCRA, once and for all, and transfer their property and rights to the Great Redwood Trail Agency and to Sonoma Marin Area Rail Transit, or SMART.

The Great Redwood Trail will meander through ancient redwoods, state and national wild lands, oak-studded golden hills and along our incredible rivers. The trail will also be an economic driver for the dozens of rural communities it runs through.

“Coal is the dirtiest and most damaging source of energy out there. It’s the number one cause of global warming and it’s the number one contributor to our climate crisis. The people of the North Coast won’t stand for this. We rallied against Big Oil to protect our coast from offshore drilling — and won. And we will win this fight against Big Coal,” McGuire said.

On Monday, Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that his nominee, Aldea Children and Family Services, has been chosen as the 2021 “Angel in Adoption” for California’s Fifth Congressional District.

This award is granted to people and organizations across the country who make lasting differences in promoting adoption, permanency, and child welfare.

“Aldea Children and Family Services is a critical lifeline for children who have faced trauma at home. Over the years, the staff there have helped nearly 4,000 people improve their lives and heal past trauma and we are so proud of their work. That’s why I am thrilled that Aldea has been chosen as this year’s Angel in Adoption for our district and proud to honor its work today.”

Based in Napa and Solano County, Aldea Children and Family Services is a Key Foster Family Agency that helps more than 3,900 people each year.

Aldea helps government agencies support children who are removed from their homes by finding them treatment, foster care and adoption services, and support and mental health treatment.

These services allow children to heal from past trauma and allow families to build healthy relationships.

The Angels in Adoption Program is run by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute and honors people and organizations that promote strong adoption, permanency, and child welfare programs across the county.

Each year they recognize individuals who are dedicated to these issues and make a deep national impact.

You can click here to learn more.

Thompson represents California’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties.

Working to bolster the state's response to the Caldor Fire, Governor Gavin Newsom today requested a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to assist wildfire response and recovery efforts in El Dorado County.

The request follows the Presidential Emergency Declaration California secured last week to support the Caldor fire response, and a previous Presidential Major Disaster Declaration to support counties impacted by the Dixie and River fires.

“We’re working around the clock in close coordination with our federal partners to ensure South Lake Tahoe communities impacted by the Caldor Fire have the resources and supports they need during this difficult time,” said Gov. Newsom.

The Caldor fire, which has burned 218,459 acres to date, is now the 15th largest and the 17th most destructive wildfire in state history.

If approved, a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration will help people in the impacted county through eligibility for programs and support that can include housing assistance, food aid, counseling, medical services and legal services.

The request includes public assistance to help state, tribal and local governments with ongoing emergency response and recovery costs. The request also includes hazard mitigation, which helps state and local governments reduce the risks and impacts of future disasters.

California has secured Fire Management Assistance Grants, or FMAGs, from the Federal Emergency Management Agency to support the state’s response to the Dixie fire in Lassen, Butte and Plumas counties and the response to the French fire, Caldor fire, Monument fire, River fire and Lava fire.

Gov. Newsom has proclaimed a state of emergency in counties impacted by the Cache fire, Caldor fire, McFarland and Monument fires, Antelope and River fires, Dixie, Fly and Tamarack fires and the Lava fire and Beckwourth Complex fire.

The governor has also signed executive orders to support impacted communities and bolster wildfire response and recovery efforts. Cal Fire and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services personnel are responding in concert with other federal, state and local agencies to address emergency management and mutual aid needs for the fires.

Community members are invited to view a virtual open house video presentation for the State Routes 70-99 Comprehensive Multimodal Corridor Plan, or SR 70-99 CMCP.

The virtual open house outlines the process for developing the SR 70-99 CMCP, which is a long-term transportation plan for the corridors in Butte, Sacramento, Sutter and Yuba counties.

Future projects are aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving livability in the community through operational improvements, technological advancements and increased multimodal options such as bike and pedestrian facilities, local and express bus routes, and passenger and freight rail.

The CMCP also is developed with equity in mind to minimize impacts to underserved communities.

In addition to the virtual open house, a survey is currently underway through Sept. 30 to solicit valuable feedback from community members that will guide future project development.

The SR 70-99 CMCP covers approximately 90 miles of the SR 99 corridor — beginning in Sacramento County at the junction of I-5, ending in Butte County at the junction with the north end of Esplanade in Chico.

It also covers 56 miles of SR 70, beginning at the SR 99 junction in Sutter County, through Yuba County and ending at the junction of SR 191 in Butte County.

The corridor also includes the entire 5-mile stretch of SR 149 in Butte County, connecting both SR 70 and SR 99.

The SR 70-99 CMCP website is live and will include the virtual open house video and public survey through September 30 at www.Hwy70-99CorridorPlan.com.

For more information about the SR 70-99 CMCP, contact Will Schilling, corridor planning manager, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 530-821-8409.


NORTH COAST, Calif. — A Sunday head-on crash on Highway 101 in Mendocino County killed one man and injured four others.

Pending family notifications, the California Highway Patrol’s Ukiah Area office did not release the names of the five victims of the crash, which occurred at 11:04 a.m. Sunday on southbound Highway 101 north of the Ridgewood scale facility.

The CHP said officers were dispatched to the scene, arriving to confirm that the male driver of one of the two vehicles involved had died.

The 29-year-old Covelo man who died was driving a 2000 Acura Integra northbound in the No. 1 lane at approximately 70 miles per hour, the CHP said.

At the same time, a 29-year-old Olivehurst woman was driving a 2009 Dodge Ram pickup within the No. 1 lane southbound, also at 70 miles per hour, the CHP report said.

For unknown reasons, the CHP said the Covelo man allowed his vehicle to cross over the double yellow lines dividing the north and southbound lanes, heading directly toward the Dodge.

The left front of the Acura hit the left front of the Dodge, causing the pickup to hit a guardrail and overturn, the CHP said.

The CHP said the Acura came to rest on its wheels within the highway’s No. 2 southbound lane, while the pickup came to rest on its roof within the same lane, south of the Acura.

Firefighters helped the Dodge pickup’s driver and her three passengers — a 9-year-old boy and two girls, ages 7 and 4 — out of the truck, the CHP reported.

The pickup’s driver sustained major injuries and was taken to Adventist Health Howard Memorial Hospital for treatment, as were the children, who the CHP said had minor injuries.

The Acura’s driver was pronounced dead minutes after authorities arrived on scene, the CHP said.

The CHP said the crash’s cause remains under investigation, however, they’ve determined that neither alcohol nor drugs were involved.

Anyone with information about the crash is asked to contact the CHP’s Ukiah Area office at 707-467-4420.

Email Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Follow her on Twitter, @ERLarson, or Lake County News, @LakeCoNews.

Christopher James Bettega, 23, of Covelo, California, was arrested on Wednesday, September 8, 2021, for murder. Mendocino County Jail photo.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — Authorities have arrested a Covelo man on suspicion of the murder last week of his cousin.

Christopher James Bettega, 23, was arrested on Wednesday for killing William Daniel Bettega, 25, also of Covelo, according to a report from Sgt. Luis Espinoza of the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office.

Espinoza said that at 1:30 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 4, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Dispatch Center began receiving calls for service concerning a reported assault and possible kidnapping in an unknown area of Covelo.

The reports initially identified cousins Christopher Bettega and William Bettega as being the reported victims. At the time of the call, the location of William Bettega was unknown, Espinoza said.

Mendocino County Sheriff's deputies began to respond to Covelo and while they were responding, Espinoza said a separate call for service regarding a deceased person was dispatched.

Espinoza said the Covelo Fire Department had been dispatched to an injured male on the roadway near the intersection of Crawford and Henderson roads. When they arrived, they determined the subject was deceased and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office was requested to respond.

When the deputies arrived at the deceased male's location, Espinoza said it was believed — based on evidence located at the scene — that the person was struck by a motor vehicle.

The deceased man was later identified as William Bettega, Espinoza said.

Espinoza said Mendocino County Sheriff's Office detectives were dispatched and assumed control over the investigation.

Based on the suspected nature of the death, sheriff's detectives requested and were assisted by an investigator from the California Highway Patrol Northern Division Investigation Services Unit. Espinoza said CHP officers assisted in documentation of the death scene.

A patrol deputy assisting sheriff's detectives located a vehicle in the Short Creek drainage just east of Biggar Lane in Covelo, Espinoza reported.

Espinoza said evidence consistent with a recent collision involving a pedestrian was located on the exterior of the vehicle. The vehicle was identified as being primarily utilized by Christopher Bettega.

Several people were contacted and interviewed over the next four days during the course of this investigation, he said.

On Wednesday, sheriff's detectives and patrol deputies served a search warrant at a residence near the intersection of Biggar Lane and Mendocino Pass Road in Covelo. At the conclusion of the search warrant, based on the information learned during the investigation, Espinoza said Christopher Bettega was arrested for murder.

Christopher Bettega was booked into the Mendocino County Jail on Wednesday afternoon. He’s still in custody in lieu of $1 million bail, according to jail records.

While this investigation is ongoing, Espinoza said there is no information suggesting the existence of any additional suspects and no evidence so far to support the initially reported kidnapping incident.

Espinoza said the investigation is still active and sheriff's detectives are asking anyone with information related to Christopher Bettega’S and William Bettega's activities on the night of Friday, Sept. 3, and during the early morning hours of Saturday, Sept. 4, to contact the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office.

Sheriff's detectives ask any person or business with surveillance video which depicts a lifted white Chevy Silverado traveling on downtown Covelo roads between the hours of 12 a.m. and 1:30 a.m. on Sept. 4 to contact them.

An anonymous message can be left on the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Tip-Line by calling 707-234-2100.

The Mendocino County Sheriff's Office thanked the California Department of Justice Eureka and Santa Rosa Bureau of Forensic Services Criminalists; CHP Garberville and CHP Ukiah Offices; CHP Northern Division ISU and Multi Disciplinary Investigation Team and the Mendocino County District Attorney's Office Investigators for their continued assistance during this investigation.

Upcoming Calendar

28Sep
09.28.2022 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Levee and flood risk workshop
29Sep
09.29.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
29Sep
09.29.2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan update meeting
1Oct
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
1Oct
10.01.2022 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Konocti Challenge
1Oct
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
1Oct
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
20th annual Falling Leaves Quilt Show
1Oct
10.01.2022 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Weekly writing workshop

Mini Calendar

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