Tuesday, 27 September 2022


John Louis Cea, 24, of Long Island, New York, was sentenced to state prison on Thursday, September 9, 2021, for grand theft and robbery cases committed in Mendocino County, California. Photo courtesy of the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — A New York man twice prosecuted and convicted of victimizing North Coast residents was sentenced Thursday to state prison.

John Louis Cea, 24, of Long Island earlier was convicted by plea on July 1 of felony grand theft of an amount of money over $950, as well as convicted of a separate crime of robbery in the second degree, also a felony, the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office reported.

Mendocino County Superior Court Judge Keith Faulder on Thursday sentenced Cea to 68 months in state prison, the maximum sentence allowed under California law for the two convictions when sentenced together.

Robbery is defined under California law as a violent felony so any work or other credits the defendant may earn toward early prison release will be limited to no more than 15% of the sentence.

Cea came to Ukiah in October 2020 and stole $32,000 from an elderly business owner who was fixing a private ATM he had set up in a local cannabis business, officials said.

Cea watched as the 85-year-old man went back and forth between his Prius and the cannabis store. When the man was not looking, authorities said Cea opened the hatchback and stole a spare money machine cartridge loaded with $32,000 in cash.

About six weeks later Cea and another New York man returned to Mendocino County, this time with the intent to steal marijuana. Cea met a young couple and convinced them to meet him and his partner at the Burger King parking lot in Willits with two pounds of marijuana. When the couple arrived at Burger King, Cea and the other man forcibly took the marijuana from the couple their marijuana without paying for it, the District Attorney’s Office reported.

The two men jumped into a rental car and recklessly fled north on Highway 101 while pursued by law enforcement. The vehicle eventually crashed into a building in Laytonville. Cea’s partner was arrested near the crash scene, but Cea was able to elude capture and escape back to New York. He was tracked down, arrested, and extradited to California, authorities said.

District Attorney David Eyster prosecuted the case, with the assistance of the Ukiah Police Department, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office, the Willits Police Department, New York law enforcement investigators, and the District Attorney’s own Bureau of Investigations.

The District Attorney’s Office offered special thanks to private citizen witnesses who called for law enforcement help and provided valuable information.

Those witnesses included a retired Sonoma County Sheriff’s deputy and the Lake County District Attorney’s Office’s chief investigator.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office said it has arrested a Ukiah man who stabbed a pet Chihuahua.

Diego Pulido, 26, was arrested following the incident, which the agency said occurred last week.

At 10:22 a.m. Aug. 29, the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office Communications Center received a 911 call regarding a disturbance in the 3900 block of Seiji Way in Ukiah, where the caller stated that someone had been stabbed.

Deputies arrived at the location within minutes and were advised by witnesses that a male subject, later identified as Pulido, had stabbed the family dog and possibly stabbed a 58-year-old family member.

The family member was preparing to leave the area with the family dog in order to obtain veterinary treatment upon the deputies’ arrival. Authorities said deputies summoned medical assistance for the family member and the dog.

The sheriff’s office said deputies were advised Pulido was currently inside of the residence.

Utilizing a patrol vehicle public address system, deputies were able to get Pulido to exit the residence.

When Pulido came out of the home, the deputies noticed he had what appeared to be blood on his hands, arms and clothing.

Deputies learned during the investigation that for unknown reasons, Pulido obtained a kitchen knife and stabbed the small family Chihuahua two times in the abdomen.

The family member also had blood on him, which initially led witnesses to believe he had been stabbed as well. However, the sheriff’s office said it was determined that the family dog had bitten the family member in the hand while trying to provide aid.

The family member took the dog to an out of county emergency veterinarian hospital where the dog received treatment and is expected to survive.

Pulido was ultimately placed under arrest for felony animal cruelty and booked into the Mendocino County Jail where he was to be held in lieu of $15,000 bail.

Jail records showed that Pulido remained in custody on Wednesday.

Over-pumping during drought can increase nitrate at public-supply wells. Public domain image.

Intensive pumping of aquifers during drought can speed up deterioration of groundwater quality, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The results highlight clean drinking water supply vulnerabilities in California and other western states currently experiencing record drought conditions.

“Water quality problems from legacy groundwater pollution could get worse, faster, when pumping increases during drought,” said Dr. Zeno Levy, a research geologist with the USGS. “This could lead to more public drinking-water wells being shut down if costly treatment or cleaner water sources to mix with are not available.”

Researchers examined 30 years of data from California’s Central Valley to find increasing nitrate concentrations at public drinking-water wells were more prevalent in areas where groundwater levels dropped rapidly during drought.

Nitrate is a contaminant from fertilizer typically present at elevated concentrations in shallow groundwater throughout the Central Valley due to decades of agricultural land use.

Scientists found that increased pumping from wells during drought can pull shallow, contaminated groundwater down to depths commonly tapped for public drinking-water supply.

Previous groundwater research has focused on the risk of wells being overdrawn and running dry during drought. The new study provides a major advancement to understanding the related consequences to water quality caused by over pumping.

The study is unique in that it looked at regional linkages between groundwater use and quality, rather than local patterns at the scale of individual wells. This research was undertaken as part of a cooperative effort between the USGS and the California State Water Resources Control Board’s Groundwater Ambient Monitoring and Assessment Program.

The study "Critical aquifer overdraft accelerates degradation of groundwater quality in California’s Central Valley during drought" is published in Geophysical Research Letters.

Around-the-clock, one-way traffic control will be in effect on Highway 99 north of Gridley, California, from Friday, September 17, to Monday, September 20, 2021. Map courtesy of Caltrans.

Caltrans is alerting motorists about around-the-clock one-way traffic control next weekend on State Highway 99 about 10 miles north of Gridley in Butte County.

Crews plan to conduct one-way traffic control from 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17, to 5 a.m. Monday, Sept. 20, in the Cottonwood Creek area.

Motorists may expect traffic back-ups and 20-minute delays during peak travel times. Caltrans advises motorists to use alternate routes.

Flaggers at each end of the construction zone will be utilized along with a pilot car. Motorists are reminded that pilot vehicles are to be followed at all times within the project zone for the safety of construction crews and travelers.

Failure to follow pilot vehicles may result in a $220 citation with traffic fees doubled in construction zones. The California Highway Patrol will be on site, monitoring traffic safety during construction.

The following weekend, Nelson Avenue will be closed at Highway 99 from 8 p.m. September 24 to 5 a.m. September 27. Nelson Avenue residents will be detoured to Highway 162 then to Wilbur Road to connect with Nelson Avenue.

The extended closures will allow crews to construct a new highway alignment leading to the newly built Cottonwood Creek Bridge. Teichert Construction of Sacramento is the contractor on the $8 million bridge project.

Weather or unexpected events may delay or postpone work.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — Cal Fire said that firefighters are continuing to monitor hot spots from a fire incident that began on Monday night in Healdsburg.

At 8:10 p.m. Monday, Cal Fire’s Sonoma-Lake-Napa Unit along with local agencies throughout Sonoma County responded to multiple vegetation fires throughout the Healdsburg area, officials said.

Cal Fire said crews were initially dispatched to a reported vegetation fire off Bailhache Avenue, followed by additional fires located north and west of Healdsburg.

The final fire was reported off West Dry Creek Road just before 10 p.m., Cal Fire said.

By 11:30 p.m. Monday, 15 fires were located and contained after burning approximately six acres, according to Cal Fire’s report.

Cal Fire said the largest fire of the night was located off Chiquita Road and was contained after burning approximately two acres.

At the peak of firefighting operations approximately 80 fire personnel were assigned to the fires including 20 fire engines, six water tenders and three bulldozers, Cal Fire reported.

Crews remained in the area on Tuesday night, where Cal Fire said they were continuing to monitor for hot spots.

Cal Fire said each fire within this incident is under investigation, with more information will be released when it becomes available.

Anyone with information about the fires is encouraged to contact the Cal Fire Tip Line at 1-800-468-4408. Callers can remain anonymous if they wish.

NORTH COAST, Calif. — State Sen. Mike McGuire is raising the alarm about what he said is one of the largest environmental threats to face the North Coast in decades.

A secret, clandestine operation — hiding behind an anonymous LLC out of Wyoming — wants to ship millions and millions of tons of coal from Montana, Utah and Wyoming through the Northern California counties of Marin, Sonoma, Mendocino, Trinity and Humboldt, McGuire said.

McGuire said 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.

“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,” McGuire said. “These mighty waterways are also home to some of the most sensitive ecosystems on Earth, which include numerous endangered species.”

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, McGuire said.

He said 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.

Sen. McGuire has made significant progress on the Great Redwood Trail over the past several years.

The trail system would meander through ancient redwoods, state and national wildlands, 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.

“California banned coal-fired power plants for good reason,” McGuire said. ”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.”

He added, “I’m here to promise that, no matter how many billions of dollars these coal barons throw at this project, we’re going to stop this dangerous proposal and put a nail in the coffin of coal, and we will continue to move the Great Redwood Trail forward.”

Sen. McGuire is expected to make an announcement in the coming days about new legislation he’ll be carrying to help stop Big Coal in their tracks.

Upcoming Calendar

09.27.2022 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Clearlake Planning Commission 
09.28.2022 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Levee and flood risk workshop
09.29.2022 7:30 am - 8:30 am
Rotary Club of Middletown
09.29.2022 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Local Hazard Mitigation Plan update meeting
10.01.2022 7:00 am - 11:00 am
Sponsoring Survivorship annual walk and run
10.01.2022 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Konocti Challenge
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 1:00 pm
Farmers' Market at the Mercantile
10.01.2022 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
20th annual Falling Leaves Quilt Show

Mini Calendar



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