Morning News for Thursday October 25th
Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said an internal investigation is under way to determine whether Captain Randy Johnson was involved in growing marijuana on his family's property.
Sonoma County sheriff's officials said they are conducting the probe.
The investigation was launched after officers from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI and IRS earlier this month served a search warrant on property owned by Capt.Johnson's father.
More than 500 plants were located during the federal raid.
Johnson owns property adjacent to his father. He, his father and his brother reside near each other on the properties. The wooded parcels along Highway 20 near Potter Valley also contain several rentals, including trailers. Some have enclosures shielded by high fencing.
Federal officials would not divulge details or the focus of their search.
Allman said he expects the internal investigation to be completed in a month. Johnson remains on duty.
The prosecution's cross examination of witnesses in the sanity phase of Billy's Norbury's murder trial continues today.
The defense presented its evidence yesterday.
Mendocino Judge John Behnke told the jury it must find Norbury was legally insane if, "one, when he committed the crime he had a mental disorder or defect and, two, was incapable of knowing the nature or quality of his actions, or (that he was) incapable of understanding that his actions were morally and legally wrong."
Norbury faces 50 years to life in prison for the crime. If he is found not guilty by reason of insanity, Norbury would spend his sentence at a mental health facility, and could at some point qualify for an outpatient program and live in the community.
Kubanis called to the stand Emma Norbury, Norbury's great-aunt, who said she had visited him during the week prior to the shooting and heard Norbury come home at about 1 or 2 a.m. and "start wailing" in his bedroom. She described the sound as "laughter and crying together, it was so uncontrollable." The wailing went on for about 10 minutes, she testified.
On another occasion, Norbury heard voices and family members took him to the hospital emergency room, but he "dashed for the car" when an emergency helicopter landed outside.
Residents of the Willits School District will see an unexpected quadruple increase in tax payments for the Willits school bond in their 2012/13 tax bills.
A $5 million balloon payment due July 15, 2014, has "just come to light," according to interim Superintendent Debra Pearson and WUSD Business Manager Katie Aguilar at a Monday evening meeting with The Willits News.
The debt service schedule to pay back the school bonds sold in 2010 shows the extra $5 million due, in addition to the annual debt service payment of $679,935, but the district has not reserved funds to pay it.
"We are working on it," Pearson said. " we should have answers in about two weeks on how we'll solve this problem. ."
One of County Auditor Ford's responsibilities is to set the tax rates for school districts with bond obligations, to ensure enough tax money is collected to meet future obligations.
Ford told The Willits News she had never seen such a large balloon payment scheduled into a bond debt service schedule in 20 years of watching bonds.
"What I'm reading in the actual official statement of that 2010 issuance," Ford said, "is that it was expected that Willits Unified would issue more bonds, then use the proceeds from those bonds to make that $5 million payment."
The Ukiah Planning Commission is considering a request to build an 80-foot cell tower near the Elks Lodge on Hastings Road.
On Air, LLC is requesting a use permit to build the tower on behalf of Verizon Wireless. If approved, the company would lease 1,200 square feet in the southeast corner of the property owned by the Ukiah Elks Lodge No. 1728.
The project would not affect the lodge nor its RV parking, but it would mean the loss of seven parking spaces.
Special permission is needed for the project because its 80-foot pole is taller than the "50-foot maximum height allowed." The pole's design would allow for two more wireless carriers to be added.
The 3.65-acre site is located just east of the Highway 101 northbound exit ramp to Talmage Road. There is a row of pine trees along that edge of the property. There are currently three other towers in the city limits.
The meeting began at 6 p.m. in the council chambers.
Winter burning season will begin this Friday, October 26, at Midnight. CAL FIRE will not require burning permits until approximately May 1, 2013.
Residents are reminded that BURNING MUST COMPLY WITH MENDOCINO COUNTY AIR QUALITY REGLUATIONS.
For more information or to obtain a burn permit visit www.mendoair.org or call the District office at 463-4354.
Recorded Burn Day status is available 24/7 on the Burn Information Line at 463-4391.