AM News Monday 8.19.13
Over 5,000 firefighters are on the frontlines of the 10 major wildfires burning
in California. While firefighters are making good progress, weather conditions
could pose a challenge in the coming days as gusty winds, dry lightning and
high temperatures are forecasted.
possibility of dry lightning in combination with gusty winds for coastal
counties from Mendocino south to Monterey. The warning goes into effect
today at midnight and is expected to last through Wednesday.
morning for Northern California. The thunderstorms are expected to initially
be dry, which will heighten the fire danger, but should begin to bring some
rainfall by midweek.
Sunnier conditions, with no expectations of precipitation, are forecast for
next Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Lake County transit workers voted Thursday to call off their strike and
unconditionally return to work, just days before they were to be replaced
Teamsters union representative Mark Gleason said drivers hoped to restore
full public transportation services to Lake County immediately. Christie
Scheffer, chief operating officer of Paratransit Services, said service would
not be restored that quickly.
She said there are administrative concerns to work out, such as how many
of the striking employees will be taken back.
The company has hired and trained new employees who were expected to
start driving buses on Friday. The new employees are expected to be
retained, Scheffer said.he company has five days to work out a variety of
issues. The strike over wages has been in effect since July 29.
Four routes, operated by managers and employees who crossed picket
lines, have been in operation.
The Mendocino County District Attorney’s Office reached a plea agreement
with a convicted killer that avoids a new trial in a case tarnished by a
forensic pathologist’s conflicting testimony.
Timothy Elliott entered a guilty plea to voluntary manslaughter after
Mendocino Judge Ann Moorman granted him a new trial, citing lack of
credibility on the part of Dr. Jason Trent, a contract medical examiner for
Mendocino and Lake counties.
Elliott, 40, of Hopland, has served five years of a 16 years-to-life sentence
for the slaying and now faces a maximum of seven years in prison when
sentenced Sept. 10. Dr. Trent no longer serves as Mendocino County’s
Trent is being replaced after he recanted contradictory statements he
made in court on the Elliot case, that caused a retrial and lower sentence.
Moorman said he had recanted his testimony under oath and then reversed
it again under oath.
The county gave Trent 90 days notice and signed another contractor,
Dr. Jacqueline Benjamin who starts Sept. 18. Benjamin, is currently a
pathologist at Keck Hospital of USC Pathology in Los Angeles. The
contract provides for payment of $1,240 per standard autopsy and $2,000
per forensic autopsy in Ukiah, with added payment for autopsies in Willits
and Fort Bragg.
Mendocino Superior Court Judge Cindee F. Mayfield Friday ordered the
county to issue a death certificate and burial permit for Supervisor Dan
Hamburg's deceased wife, Carrie J. Hamburg, that allows her to stay
buried on the family's property.
Despite the county's initial rejection of the family's application for a permit
and death certificate, Deputy County Counsel Brina Latkin told the court
that "the county had no objection to the issuance of the burial permit and
Mayfield directed the Mendocino Public Health and registrar to issue the
burial permit for the site where Hamburg's wife is currently buried and a
death certificate based on Carrie Hamburg's wishes, written in her will,
according to the order.
Supervisor Hamburg sued the county over the rejection of the family's
application, and Friday announced he will drop the lawsuit.