A quick look at the policy and politics that have made recent headlines in California’s rural counties.
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CALAVERAS: The Calaveras County Sheriff’s Department added two new corrections officers to its staff earlier this month.
EL DORADO: The El Dorado County Animal Services is offering an amnesty period for late and never-licensed, spayed or neutered dogs in an effort to increase licensing rates throughout the region. Pet owners will not be penalized through Nov. 30.
FRESNO: Fresno police have captured a suspect in the kidnapping of former Fresno County official Tim Casagrande, who was taken from his home before being left in an alley for several hours.
Meanwhile, correctional officers within Fresno County are once again trying to break away from the Service Employees International Union. Officers will likely vote around Thanksgiving after some tough campaigning and lobbying on both sides.
KERN: Two men have publicly accused Kern County’s Health and Human Services Department of refusing to offer help to the homeless who seek temporary aid. The County is also looking at an ordinance to ban illegal gambling organizations that pose as Internet cafes.
KINGS: The Kings County Board of Supervisors are waging another legal battle against the state’s high speed rail program, this time alleging that the environmental impact report for first leg of the pronect failed to address key issues.
Kings County Sheriff Dave Robinson has been appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the CA Council for Interstate Adult Offender Supervisor. According to the Hanford Sentinel, “the commission is responsible for overseeing the transfer of released inmates in and out of the state.”
MENDOCINO: Mendocino County was awarded a FEMA grant just shy of $40,000 in order to supplement its emergency food and shelter programs. The funds will be distributed to local service agencies within the county.
Recently, a 72-year-old hunter from San Francisco was rescued after being lost for 19 days in the Mendocino National Forest. In what sounds like the plot from an upcoming thriller, authorities are reporting that one Gene Penaflor survived by eating squirrels and lizards and covering himself with leaves to stay warm.
MERCED: The federal gov’t shutdown has forced Merced to cut back on the services offered by its only public transit system to Yosemite. Since the shutdown, the Yosemite Area Regional Transportation System (YARTS) has experienced a 58 percent drop.
Merced County has unveiled its Merced County Hazard Mitigation Project, which seeks public input on how to identify and prioritize various future projects designed to reduce the effects of potential natural disasters.
MONO: The Mono County Board of Supervisors has waded into federal policy by sending an official letter to their representative, Congressman Paul Cook, urging him to work with Congress to end the federal gov’t shutdown. In the letter, the Board states, “We want to remind you that the continued absence of funding for federal departments and agencies has impact on local government programs and the constituents we serve.”
NAPA: Napa County Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to purchase a 27-acre site for a new county jail for $6.6 million. This move comes in light of the county’s accepting of a $15 million state grant for an expansion of jail services.
The County is also seeking $8.9 million in grants to improve local transportation infrastructure and services, including road extensions and overlays.
PLACER: Good news for Placer County: it is leading Northern California in property growth at rates 6% higher than this time last year.
SAN JOAQUIN: San Joaquin County is set to receive around $30 million of state funding for road and rail projects.
SONOMA: Sonoma County is considering a new detention and probation facility that could cost upwards of $65 million. Not all are happy with the plan: community group Save Our Sonoma Roads has come out strong in opposition to the plan, insisting that the Supervisors direct money to fix the county’s crumbling roads instead.
STANISLAUS: The City of Modesto is seeking to have all properties associated with its dissolved redevelopment agency reinstated as city property. The properties in question amount to over $14 million.