Morning News for Thursday, March14th
Wednesday morning, about 15 to 20 protesters once again faced off against CalTrans and its bulldozers to prevent a fence from being built at East Hill Road .
The protesters against the Willits Bypass believed that the type of heavy fence which CalTrans was attempting to erect was not the type agreed upon with the Army corps of engineers.
Bob chevalier stood in front of the excavator and a second piece of eqt was stopped by Jamie chevalier, and Sara Grusky.
According to an Earth First spokesperson, although HP officer Epperson told the demonstrators that they could be held in jail for a long period, no one was arrested.
Protesters agreed to stand fast and offered to leave if CalTrans agreed to stop work and meet with state sen noreen evans who yesterday wrote CalTrans director requesting a meeting and telling him that opposition against the Bypass was growing.
After three hours of stand off, the CalTrans crew packed up and left about 11:30 am.
Despite the massive 2011 raid n Mendocino National Forest called "Full Court Press", there have been few federal pot prosecutions in Mendocino County, according to an article in the Willits News written by Linda Williams.
Of the 16 men arrested on the Lake and Mendocino County side of the forest , only one was prosecuted for cultivation of marijuana. Jose Antonio Tamez pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering the United States for a second time and cultivation of marijuana and sentenced to five years in prison.
The four other men who had prior immigration offenses received between time-served and 90 days in prison, plus one year of supervised released. A fifth man was sentenced to six months in jail. The rest of the men were released for time served.
It's a sharp contrast to federal marijuana prosecutions in the eastern side of California.
While case details on these individual cases were not available, it is clear there is a different priority given to prosecuting marijuana crimes at the federal level in other parts of the state.
The main marijuana action taken by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern California District seems to be directed toward county officials, using subpoenas and letters.
The Ukiah City Council last week approved a new retirement incentive for Ukiah Fire Department employees .
Human Resources Director Melody Harris urged the council to grant a new window of 90 days from April 1st to June 30, 2013 for the incentive, which is "Two Years Additional Service Credit to eligible Fire Engineers, 50 years old with at least five years of Public SErvice.
According to Harris' staff report, two engineers are eligible for the incentive and if both retire, "the cost would be approximately $109,834, amortized over the next 20 years, (and) the annual payroll savings ... would be approximately $237,781."
Harris said the incentive was being offered as the UFD is working more closely with Ukiah Valley Fire District and exploring "various staffing scenarios," particularly now that the city is no longer providing ambulance service.