Morning News for Monday, March 18th
Mendocino county's day in federal court to fight federal subpoenas for its medical marijuana ordinance records was again put off Friday, this time indefinitely, according to Mendocino County Counsel Tom Parker, the fourth time since January.
Parker said the federal court did not set a new court date, and that -- either the county or the U.S. Attorney's Office -- must request a specific date to get the case back on the court's calendar.
No explanation was given for why the county did not propose a date.
Protestors stopped construction again Friday on the Willits Bypass. The contractor left after marking several Douglas fir and pine trees for destruction early in the week.
Also on Friday, two of the California Highway Patrol's highest ranking officers, Assistant Chief Chadd and Northern Division Chief Bridget Lott flew over the site several times; CHP Capt Jim Epperson said the two officials were flying in to talk about a negotiating proposal.
Save Our Little Lake Valley posted an email asking supporters "to stand with us Monday, March 18th at 7:00 a.m. as observers, witnesses, and activists to defend our right to protest the destruction CalTrans is attempting to wreak. "
SOLLV will have shuttle service from Evergreen Shopping Center to Warbler's treesit from 7:00 a.m. to 12 noon.
Meanwhile,Who’s in charge of enforcement? In a conversation with Willits Weekly's Jennifer Poole Thursday morning, Sheriff Tom Allman continued to be adamant that it will be his department citing or arresting demonstrators for trespassing at the site — if it comes to that.
CHP Captain Epperson told Poole that his agency is in charge of arrests .
Despite confusion about the legal status of Caltrans starting up work again, Earth First! spokesperson Naomi Wagner said "Caltrans routinely tells the public they have their permits, but when we file Public Records Requests we find out that they don't. "
Meanwhile, with more birds arriving in Little Lake Valley, Caltrans is under significant time pressure to remove the trees and brush as soon as possible, to avoid further delay to the entire project because The Federal Migratory Bird Act severely restricts disturbances allowed in active nesting zones.
An 8-year-old boy and his dog led rescue searchers to the body of a man who had been missing for almost two months Friday morning.
Detectives identified the body as Tom Sierra, 58, of Redwood Valley, missing since Jan. 27 from the home of family members he was visiting, during a pass from a rehabilitation facility, where he had been expected to return Feb. 3.
Specific tattoos found on Sierra's body made the positive identification and authorities scheduled a forensic autopsy for Monday to determine the cause and manner of death.
The body was tucked into a brush line on School Way near the railroad tracks in the downtown Redwood Valley area.
An agreement between the Ukiah Teachers Association and the Ukiah School District came closer to implementationt when more than enough teachers agreed to retire.
"We did have 21 teachers agree," said UTA President Leslie Barkley.
Last month, the UUSD and the UTA reached an agreement following months of negotiations after the school district offered to pay down its available reserves to boost teachers' salaries.
The starting salary was raised about $4,000 to $40,000, and the highest will be $77,432. The agreement also included retirement incentives.
"Our goal is to create a salary schedule that allows people to retire when they're ready, and also allows us to attract new teachers," said Superintendent Debra Kubin.
Fifteen teachers were needed to accept retirement for the agreement to be approved by the Mendocino County Office of Education.
The agreement was ratified by the UTA members, 273 to nine.