AM News for Wednesday, 12.18.13
Connecticut, last week, became the first state to pass legislation to make companies say if their products contain genetically modified organisms or GMOs. GMOs are commonly found in corn, soy, canola and sugar.
However, Connecticut's law only goes into effect after a combination of northeastern states with a combined population of at least 20 million, including Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, adopt similar laws.
Officials said the bill also includes language that will protect local farmers to ensure regional adoption of the new labeling system before it will require local farms to analyze and label genetically engineered products.
With little prospect of significant rain for the rest of the year, the Sonoma County Water Agency is asking the state for permission to slash the amount of water it releases into the Russian River in hopes of preserving Lake Mendocino, which is down to 30%..
So dry are the conditions statewide that state and federal lawmakers sent letters last week to Gov. Jerry Brown, asking him to declare a drought emergency, and to President Barack Obama, asking for a federal disaster declaration.
If the agency maintains its current release rate and the winter turns out to be critically dry, water managers could find themselves with no water to release next summer, spelling major trouble for the cities, farmers and wildlife that rely on the upper reaches of the Russian River.
Conservationists say it could interfere with the spawning of endangered coho salmon and steelhead trout.
But the risk of reducing river flows today pales in comparison with the damage that would be done if the reservoir were to run completely dry in 2014, leaving the whole upper watershed parched.
The city of Ukiah supplies itself from wells during the winter and doesn't expect major disruption from the agency's plans.
After about two hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Walter Miller of attempted murder Monday evening in Superior Court for shooting at a pursuing sheriff's deputy from a speeding car.
Miller, 43, was convicted of first-degree attempted murder, assault with a firearm, witness intimidation, being a felon in possession of a firearm and that he has two prior strikes under California's Three Strikes Law.
Driver Christopher Skaggs allegedly sped away from Mendocino deputy Darren Brewster when he stopped the 1995 Thunderbird he drove. During the ensuing high-speed chase, Miller shot at Brewster's patrol car, hit the radiator and disabled the car about two miles onto Highway 253, the Boonville Road, south of Ukiah.
Regarding Miller's testimony, juror Raymond Gates said, "I wanted to believe some of the stuff he said, but he incriminated himself. Sometimes he didn't say enough; sometimes he said too much, and he lied about stuff."
"This is a very serious case," Mendocino DA David Eyster, said the case was about "whether we will allow someone to attempt to kill one of our police officers."
Miller is due back in court Feb. 7 for sentencing. Thanks to Tiffany Reveille & the UDJ for this story.
Linda Williams reports in The Willits News that California's Employment Development Department is notifying 222,000 Californians their federal unemployment insurance benefits will run out on Dec. 28. This federal program provides unemployment insurance payments after the state benefits of 26 weeks have been exhausted.
The program expires at year end unless Congress votes to reauthorize it.
The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens is again hosting the Festival of Lights, which runs through Sunday, Dec. 22. Hours are 5 to 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 19 through Sunday, Dec. 22. There is an admission fee, however children age 15 and under are admitted free. No pets are allowed.