2020 Year in Review: January-March

Jan. 2: UUSD retrofits lighting at schools. Since taking advantage of grant funding available through Proposition 39 and the California Clean Energy Jobs Act in 2017 and 2018, Ukiah Unified School District(UUSD) has retrofitted lighting at five schools and plans to do the same at remaining schools, as well as installing solar panels at various locations.

Jan. 3:Ag contracts shortened. Mendocino County has decided to shorten its Williamson Act contracts with agriculture landowners, starting in 2020, to raise more money in property taxes.

Jan. 4: First baby of 2020: it’s a boy. Ukiah’s first baby of 2020 is a boy!

Jan. 5:Cannabis dispensary seeks permit. At its next meeting Wednesday, the Ukiah Planning Commission will consider a permit for a new cannabis dispensary hoping to occupy an existing building near the downtown core.

First Ukiah baby of 2020, Daniel Ramos (photo contributed)

Jan. 7: Proposed dispensary seeks permit. With the Ukiah City Council upholding its appeal last year, a cannabis microbusiness and dispensary hoping to open on East Smith Street will go back before the Planning Commission this week.

Jan. 8: Guilty plea in Subway robbery. A Willits man who was shot by a customer while robbing a sandwich shop in Ukiah more than a year ago pleaded guilty to multiple felony charges Friday, the Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office reported.

Jan. 9:Elk’s mystery plane crash. On New Year’s Eve afternoon, calls started coming in to the Elk Store about a plane crash.

Jan. 10: Apartments ready for tenants. More than 30 new market-rate homes have been completed and are ready for tenants on North Main Street in Ukiah.

Jan. 11: City plans to hike building fees. At its next meeting Wednesday, the Ukiah City Council will be asked to consider a “comprehensive fee update” for the city’s Planning and Building divisions.

Jan. 12: Bill aims to speed fisheries’ relief. North Coast U.S. Rep. Jared Huffman (D-San Rafael) and Mississippi Reo. Steven Palazzo introduced a bill that is intended to speed up to the process of providing fisheries disaster relief to those affected.

Jan. 14: County looks at easing business license regs. Mendocino County is looking at possibly easing the Mendocino County regulatory process for business licenses to make regulations easier for small business owners in the county.

Jan. 15: Parking space changes proposed. The Ukiah City Council will today consider creating a no parking zone on West Stephenson Street, which was recently changed to allow traffic in both directions.

Jan. 16: City holds planning workshop. The Ukiah City Council is holding a special meeting tonight to discuss long-term land use policies and planning.

Jan. 17: Storm brings rain, snow to county. Rain and snow made some Mendocino County roads treacherous early Thursday, prompting the Willits Unified School District to cancel classes and the Eureka National Weather Service to issue a “Winter Weather Advisory” through 4 p.m. Jan. 16.

Jan. 18: W. Stephenson change delayed. The Ukiah City Council this week delayed voting on making changes to a short section of West Stephenson Street downtown that would have removed a parking space and loading zone, as well as permanently opened it up to two-way traffic.

Jan. 19: Legislator addresses pot tax reforms. Tax reforms intended to encourage consumers to buy cannabis from licensed businesses are in the works in Sacramento, and local members of the industry say, if passed, the reforms would have a positive impact.

Jan. 21: Wanted Air Force serviceman found dead. A Las Vegas resident who was serving in the U.S. Air Force and facing court-martial at the Nelis Air Force Base in Nevada was found deceased in Redwood Valley Sunday, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office reported.

Jan. 22: Damaged ponds waiting for repairs. Although the damage occurred nearly a year ago, the Ukiah City Council voted again at its last meeting to declare that repairs needed to the Wastewater Treatment Plant due to flooding last February were still deemed an emergency.

Jan. 23: Online street repair info improved. The City of Ukiah has been making changes to its website so information about how it is spending sales tax dollars on street repairs is easier for residents to find, Deputy City Manager Shannon Riley announced recently.

Jan. 24: Bond debt refinance progresses. Progress was made this week toward refinancing the debt that both the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District and the City of Ukiah are still paying for 2006 upgrades to the Wastewater Treatment Plant that serves all of their customers.

Jan. 25: Public’s help sought to ID pedestrian. The Mendcoino County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who was killed Sunday after being struck by a pickup truck while he was reportedly walking on Highway 101 just south of Ukiah.

Jan. 26: Volunteers needed for Jan. 30 point-in-time count. The Mendocino County Homeless Services Continuum of Care is a group of agencies and individuals that have a shared purpose to help address the needs of those who are experiencing or at risk of homelessness.

Jan. 28: Darren Brewster named Undersheriff. The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office recently announced that Darren Brewster has been named Undersheriff, following the promotion of former Undersheriff Matthew Kendall to sheriff.

Jan. 29: Council, planners meet today. The Ukiah City Council will be holding a joint meeting with the Ukiah Planning Commission today to hold another workshop on the update of the city’s General Plan.

Jan. 30: $6.7B proposed for natural resources. The state budget proposal delivered earlier this month by Governor Gavin Newsom includes billions of spending on natural resources and the environment.

Jan. 31: Olympiad students win in L.A., Seattle. Ukiah Unified School District has announced that two teams of Pomolita Middle School and Ukiah High School students recently brought home first-place honors and other medals from two regional Science Olympiad tournaments.

Feb. 1: $1M granted for construction program. Mendocino College and North Coast state Sen. Mike McGuire announced Friday morning that the college would receive $1 million in state grants to expand the college’s Career, Technical Education (CTE) construction program over the next three years and increase program opportunities for students.

Feb. 2:City, district vote to refinance bonds. The Ukiah City Council and the Ukiah Valley Sanitation District board of directors have both voted to move forward with plans to refinance the debt both agencies are paying on a project to upgrade the valley’s Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Feb. 4: Neighbors of lot oppose subdivision. City of Ukiah staff today will consider a proposal to divide an empty lot on North School Street into three parcels, a move that many neighbors oppose, saying it would create “horrific” congestion.

Feb. 5:Camping restriction ordinance updated. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday passed an urgency ordinance amending camping restrictions on public and private property to ease regulations on homeless people with no other reasonable place to go.

Feb. 6: State calls for cannabis QR codes. The State Bureau of Cannabis Control has proposed emergency rules requiring that cannabis retailers and transport vehicles us QR code stickers so potential customers and law enforcement can scan to check if the products are part of the regulated market.

Feb. 7:Fire destroys Brush St. building. A fire that destroyed a structure on Brush Street early Thursday morning was the second suspicious blaze there in the past week, according to the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority.

Feb. 8: Small plane crashes into Humboldt Bay. Multiple agencies responded Thursday morning to reports of a plane that crashed into Humboldt Bay just after 7 a.m.

Feb. 9:County sued over wildlife program. Project Coyote and the Mendocino Nonlethal Wildlife Alliance earlier this week filed a lawsuit against the county of Mendocino in the Superior Court of California over the county’s certification of a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) and adoption of an Integrated Wildlife Damage Management Plan.

Feb. 11: Community gets to meet the lambs. Hopland Research and Extension Center held its annual Meet the Lambs event Saturday, giving the public the chance to learn more about the sheep and lambs that live on the Extension Center land.

Feb. 12: Dispensary gets another hearing. The Planning Commission will conduct a hearing today to consider a permit for a new cannabis dispensary and cultivation operation near downtown Ukiah.

Feb. 13: Steelhead are ‘top athletes’. In football, you have diverse athletes from your typically tall and thin wide receivers to your stout and muscular offensive lineman.

Feb. 14: Bench planned to honor Baldwin. A bench honoring longtime Ukiah City Council member and open space advocate Phil Baldwin will soon be added to the City View Trail.

Feb. 15: Cannabis facility wants to expand. The City of Ukiah Tuesday will consider a request from a cannabis processing and distribution facility to expand its operations in the south end of town.

Feb. 16: Permit for cannabis dispensary approved. In a less-than-enthusiatic ruling, the Ukiah Planning Commission this week approved a permit for a proposed cannabis dispensary that will include cultivation in three suites of a building along East Smith Street near the Ukiah Library.

Undersheriff Darren Brewster (left) and Sheriff Matthew Kendall (right) during the announcement of Brewster as Undersheriff. Photo by: submitted.

Feb. 18: Skatepark finally breaks ground. The Laytonville Skatepark underwent the official first stages of construction on Jan. 22 of 2020 after two decades of visioning, campaigning and fundraising by the local skateboarding community.

Feb. 19:Streetscape contract on agenda. In one of the last steps before the State Street “Road Diet” can begin, the Ukiah City Council today will consider awarding a contract of nearly $6.5 million for the project.

Feb. 20: Fire starts in shipping container. The Ukiah Valley Fire Authority responded to a fire on Leslie Street Wednesday morning that appeared to have been a warming or cooking fire left unattended.

Feb. 21:Six vehicles crash at Green Bridge. Two people were injured when six vehicles collided on Highway 101 near the Green Bridge just south of Hopland on Thursday morning.

Feb. 22:Retech moving to Buffalo, N.Y. The Ukiah-based Retech announced recently it is moving its headquarters to New York state.

Feb. 23:Students may receive more aid under a new proposal. California college students would receive significantly more state aid to pay for non-tuition expenses like housing, books and food under proposed sweeping changes to the state’s financial aid system.

Feb. 25:MCSO warns of phone scam. On Wednesday, the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office received reports that citizens in the Ukiah area were receiving fraudulent telephone solicitations for donations, the MCSO announced in a press release.

Feb. 26: Day shelter report on agenda. The Ukiah Planning Commission tonight will hear the first report on operations at the Homeless Services Day Center on South State Street, an update required to be presented by city staff every six months for at least the first two years as part of the permit granted to Redwood Community Services.

Feb. 27:Living with cougars in the county. Mountain Lions were the subject at the February Mendocino Coast Audubon Society meeting.

Feb. 28:Fire safe meetings planned. Ukiah Valley Fire Fuel Reduction Project Community Meetings will be held on Monday, March 9 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ukiah City Council Chambers, 300 Seminary Ave.

Feb. 29: Ukiah woman arrested in stabbing. Mendocino County sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a disturbance at a residence in the 100 block of Faull Avenue in Ukiah at 12:16 a.m. Sunday, the sheriff’s office stated in a press release.

Bench honoring Baldwin Jane Baldwin, at left, said Low Gap Park was one of her brother’s favorite places. (Justine Frederiksen – Ukiah Daily Journal)

March 1: Appeal filed against subdivision. An appeal of a recent decision by the City of Ukiah to allow one parcel on North School Street to be split into three has been filed by Council member Jim Brown.

March 3:explosives found near Dumpster. Three explosive devices were found near a Dumpster in Ukiah early Monday morning, the Ukiah Police Department reported.

March 4: Airport encampments on agenda. At its meeting tonight, the Ukiah City Council will consider an “urgency ordinance” designed to address the homeless encampments near the Ukiah airport.

March 5:UUSD Measure A falling short. In the first numbers released by the Mendocino County Elections Office Tuesday night, the ballot measure asking voters to approve $75 million in funding for upgrades to Ukiah schools was falling short.

March 6: Zero cases of coronavirus locally. Mendocino County officials held a press conference Thursday morning to update the public about their preparedness plans for COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus.

March 7:Non-lethal wildlife option explored. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors has authorized the Wildlife Ad Hoc Committee, consisting of Supervisors Dan Gjerde and John Haschak, to work with county staff to bring back options for a strictly non-lethal wildlife management service in Mendocino County.

March 8:School bond measure may fail. For a generation, school bonds have been more or less a slam dunk in California.

March 10: Coronavirus tests now available. Mendocino County Health and Human Services Agency said on Sunday in a press release that there is now an expanded coronavirus (COVID-19) private availability of testing.

March 11: Streetscape forum set for Thursday. The City of Ukiah is hosting another community forum Thursday on the upcoming Streetscape Project, likely the last public meeting held before work on the project begins.

March 12: County moves forward with water project. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to continue with the Redwood Valley Water Infrastructure Retrofit Project, authorizing the Mendocino County Department of Transportation to advertise for bids and to award a contract to the lowest bidder for the construction and improvements.

March 13: Showers, snow expected in county. Showers and snow are in the forecast for Mendocino County this weekend, prompting the National Weather Service in Eureka to warn of potentially hazardous conditions in the higher elevations of Mendocino and Lake counties, but particularly in Humboldt and Trinity counties.

March 14: Social distancing: ‘greatest weapon’. Though she stressed multiple times this week that there are currently “no cases of COVID-19 in Mendocino County,” Health Officer Noemi Doohan is recommending that everyone practice what she called “social distancing,” or avoiding contact with others.

March 15: Purple Pipe passes ‘mock frost’. Likely just in time for the real thing, a “mock Frost” event was held this week to test the capacity of the city of Ukiah’s recycled Water System, also called the Purple Pipe.

March 17: Many bars still open on Monday. It was mostly business as usual at the Forest Club in downtown Ukiah Monday, with a few notable exceptions.

March 18:City closing most facilities. While all essential szervices such as water, sewer, electricy and public safety will still be provided, the City of Ukiah announced Monday that it will be making changes to address concerns about the spread of COVID-19 that include modifying services and closing many facilities to the public.

March 19: Shelter-in-place order issued. Mendocino County announced that starting Wednesday, March 18, at 10 p.m., the county will have a shelter-in-place order in effect for the entire county.

March 20:COVID-19 case confirmed in county. Mendocino County Publi8c Health Wednesday evening confirmed the first case of the coronavirus(COVID-19) in Mendocino County.

March 21: Plowshares takes precautions. Plowshares will continue to serve meals in their community dining room as well as through their Meals-on-Wheels program during the shelter-in-place ordered in Mendocino County in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

March 22: School buses delivering lunches. Some school buses were driving through Ukiah Friday, but they weren’t picking up kids: they were delivering lunches.

March 24: New hemp ordinance considered. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors will meet today at 9 a.m. to discuss and possibly vote on establishing a hemp ordinance in the Mendocino County code, allowing a temporary pilot program for the cultivation of industrial hemp in parts of Mendocino County.

March 25: More county facilities closed. Most facilities inside Low Gap Regional Park were roped off Monday, and by Tuesday morning barricades were set up in the parking lot with signs advising people to “Keep Out.”

March 26: County issues nes Shelter-in-place order. At 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan issued a revised Shelter-in-place order, ratcheting up restrictions on the public’s movements and activities, and providing more clarity regarding the definition of highrisk patients.

March 27: Two families displaced by fire. Two Ukiah families were displaced Wednesday night when a fire started in an apartment on South Dora Street, the Ukiah Valley Fire Authority reported.

March 28:County provides testing update. The Mendocino County Publi8c Health Office said on Friday morning that the total number of coronavirus tests conducted so far is 177, and there are still only two positive tests.

March 29: City wants homeless sheltered. Describing the growing numbers of homeless individuals in Mendocino County during the COVID-19 pandemic as a “crucial issue” that is putting the rest of the population, particularly first responders and medical providers, at an increased risk of being exposed to the virus, Ukiah City Manager Sage Sangiacomo has been pressing county leaders to formulate a mitigation plan.

March 31: Fourth case confirmed in county. A fourth case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in Mendocino County was announced by Public Health Officer Dr. Noemi Doohan Sunday.

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