AM News for Thursday 10.24.13
More than a year after his arrest, federal prosecutors have charged a local biologist , Ron LeValley, with
conspiring to embezzle funds from the Yurok Tribe.
Mad River Biologists founder Ron LeValley is due to make his initial appearance in S. F. federal court
October 29th on a charge alleging that he conspired with former Yurok Tribe Forestry Director Roland
Raymond to steal $870,000 from the tribe through a complex scheme of false and inflated invoices and
payments for work that was never performed.
LeValley and Sean McAllister, one of the company's biologists, were charged by the Del Norte County
District Attorney's Office with conspiracy and
embezzlement in February 2012. State charges against the pair were dismissed in January to make way
for federal prosecutions. McAllister had not been
charged federally .
Raymond pleaded guilty to a single count of
conspiring to embezzle from an Indian tribal
organization and faces a maximum sentence of five
years in federal prison and a fine of more than $1.5
million when he is sentenced Nov. 5. He cooperated with the federal investigation targeting LeValley and McAllister.
The scheme allegedly saw LeValley and McAllister
submit at least 75 false invoices between 2007 and
2010, billing the Yurok Tribe for wildlife surveys their company never performed.
In a contentious meeting Tuesday in the town of
Mendocino, the county BOARD OF SUPERVISORS approved the Mendocino Town Plan Update. At issue was designation of the town as a “Sensitive Coastal Resource Area” (SCRA) which would have allowed
whatever is usually designated as a “project” to be appealed to the California Coastal Commission.
Board Chair Dan Hamburg made a motion (seconded by Fort Bragg Supervisor Dan Gjerde) to approve
the Town Plan with the controversial SCRA provision.
The motion failed 2-3 with only Hamburg and Gjerde in favor. The same motion without the SCRA designation then passed on a 4-1 vote, with only Hamburg opposed.
A compromise on tourist rentals had been worked out in advance, with Vacation Home Rentals capped at ten and Single Unit Rentals (a second residential
unit rented on a short term basis) capped at 20. The Art Center, which had been approved for 19 units in
the 1992 town plan received approval for their 13
existing units, plus one they plan to build.
In a sweeping cultural shift, a majority of Americans now favor legalizing marijuana use, according to a
Gallup poll released Tuesday. The survey showed
that 58 percent of 1,028 respondents supported
legalization, with 39 percent against.
Just three years ago, 50 percent of respondents opposed legalization.
Gallup credited much of the surge to political
independents, whose support for legalization jumped from 50 percent to 62 percent in less than a year.
Americans older than 65 remain the only age group
that opposes marijuana legalization, with 53 percent against.
Uruguay, set to become the first country to legalize
the sale of marijuana, has established the state price for legal and government-controlled pot at around $1 a gram.
A senate vote to legalize the sale of the drug is
expected in mid-November.
The Adventist Health organization which operates
Howard Memorial in Willits and Ukiah Valley medical Center, has applied for
a full-scale HMO license, believing it could better serve its rural patient base by offering a Medicare Advantage
They determined that a full license would be
beneficial in three particular counties — Mendocino,
Tuolumne and Kings — where there is little or no market penetration of Medicare Advantage HMOs.
In Mendocino County, there are roughly 19,300
Medicare eligible residents. The effort does not
include Adventist Health operations in Napa and
Adventist Health expects approval for the three
counties within in the next six months and hopes to
begin enrollment next October and to take effect
Jan. 1, 2015.