Morning News for Wednesday, March20th
A lawsuit challenging Lake County's interim medical marijuana cultivation ordinance is down to a single plaintiff.
The other three original plaintiffs, identified only as "Doe" because they feared retribution if their identities were revealed, asked to be dropped from the eight-month-old case earlier this month.
Bay Area attorney Joe Elford now represents the lone plaintiff , Lake County resident Don Merrill.
Merrill and the three "Does" sued last July in response to a temporary law limiting the number of pot plants allowed in outdoor cultivation and banning commercial cultivation and growing on vacant land in unincorporated Lake County.
In August, Judge David W. Herrick granted a preliminary injunction until 2013, preventing county officials from enforcing the ordinance against people who cultivated marijuana in conformity with state law at the time the new regulations were passed.
Herrick said people who started growing under the previous county regulations had a vested right to continue producing medical marijuana under those rules.
KZYX News has learned from a Fish & Wildlife source that part of the protocols agreed to between CalTrans and the Dept of Fish & Wildlife regarding the Willits Bypass was the requirement that CalTrans submit copies of their surveys on a daily basis.
I spoke to Phil Frisbee, Cal Trans spokesman, and I was told that surveys are being sent every day to F&W; each sector is surveyed for three days, then allowed to have brush cleared if no birds or nests are found, as part of an on-going process until the entire path of the Bypass had been surveyed. He said he had no idea when it would all be completed.
He did say that he expected that the weather would put work on hold for the next few days.
I asked if CalTrans and the CHP had decided how to proceed; his answer was that that was up to the protesters who were endangering themselves by staying in the path of dangerous machinery and that he had no information as to CHP's response after the flyover and meeting of CHP division heads that took place Friday.
KZYX was unable to reach CHP Capt Epperson for comment.
The Assoc Press reports that Mendocino County officials and the U.S. attorney for Northern California may be trying to resolve the dispute over records from the county's medical marijuana program out of court
A hearing in the case had been set for Tuesday, but was canceled on Monday and no further hearing was scheduled.
County Counsel Tom Parker says federal prosecutors asked to have the case removed from the calendar.
But Adam Wolf, a lawyer representing Northern California medical marijuana growers in the case, says a cancellation at this stage of the proceedings often signals that settlement talks are in the works.
A Mendocino Coast man called 911 to report his own death before shooting himself.
The 74-year-old man died Sunday in the emergency room of Fort Bragg's Coast Hospital, just yards from where he shot himself with a .38-revolver, Lt. John Naulty said.
The man lived several miles south of Fort Bragg. His name was withheld.
The man apparently called 911 at about 9:45 a.m. Sunday and told Cal Fire's dispatchers he would shoot himself and where they would find him.
Moments later, two nurses outside the hospital heard gunfire and ran inside, initiating a lockdown.
Officers found the man in the bushes just outside his vehicle's open door in the hospital parking lot .
Medical staff tried but could not to revive him.
In Willits today, road work will be conducted on Humboldt and Madden Streets. the City advises all traffic to avoid these streets.