Wildfire veteran gives his take on state’s largest wildfire

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The largest wildfire in the history of California has crept toward several remote Trinity County communities but so far a team of experienced firefighters has kept the flames at a distance.

Crews have surrounded about 100 residences with fire hoses in the Ruth and Post Mountain areas, and have built long stretches of fire lines in Ruth Valley where the communities sprawl into the hillsides and have roads with no names.

“We are prepared for that main fire to come into Ruth as best as we can,” said Mike McMillan, a contracted public information officer who’s sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management out of Boise, Idaho.

Some 3,000 residents have been told to evacuate, although many of them are staying whe...

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South Florida Water Management District approves budget, tax rate for upcoming fiscal year

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The South Florida Water Management District plans to spend over $1 billion in the coming year, most of it to improve water quality, reduce harmful Lake Okeechobee discharges to the St. Lucie River and send more water south to the Everglades. 

And the district plans to do it with a lower property tax rate than last year.

The district board Tuesday approved a $1.2 billion budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 and  a property tax rate of $26.75 for every $100,000 of taxable value to help pay for it.

Under the tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21, the owner of a $250,000 house with the standard $50,000 homestead exemption would pay $53.50 in taxes to the district in fiscal year 2020-21.

For fiscal year 2019-20,...

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Smoke from August Complex mega fire brings bad air quality to the North State. Here’s when it will lift

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North State residents, especially those with health problems, should stay indoors as much as possible this week to avoid bad air pollution.

Wind is pushing smoke from wildfires burning in California into the Northern Sacramento Valley. Those winds are expected to continue through Friday.

A change in the wind may clear the air a bit this weekend.

Tuesday morning, air quality sensors in much of Shasta, Siskiyou and northern Tehama counties registered air pollution levels in the unhealthy range for everyone, according to the EPA’s AirNow Fire and Smoke app...

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Martin County Sheriff’s Office honors fatally shot FHP trooper Joseph Bullock with memorial

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MARTIN COUNTY— Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Joseph Bullock will be remembered by his family, coworkers and motorists he helped during his career as a man committed to law enforcement who protected Martin County.

“If Joe were here, he would say to all of you in uniform to have courage and to be courageous because you absolutely need that in today’s time,” said Jon Bullock, Joseph Bullock’s father. “He would also say that you have to have humanity because courage without humanity is just inhumanity.”

More: Portion of I-95, FHP building to be designated for slain FHP Trooper Joseph Bullock

The Martin County Sheriff’s Office hosted a ceremony Tuesday and unveiled a memorial in the lobby for Trooper Bullock, who was...

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Coronavirus outbreak at Shasta County nursing home has sickened 34 residents, 8 workers

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Shasta County Health Officer Dr. Karen Ramstrom blamed the recent rise in local COVID-19 cases in part on an outbreak at a skilled nursing home.

Ramstrom told the Shasta County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday that 42 people (34 residents and eight employees) have tested positive since the outbreak there started Aug. 27.

Health officials declined to identify the facility but directed a reporter to a California Department of Public Health database that says 34 residents at Windsor Redding Care Center on Court Street have tested positive for COVID-19.

“We have done several site visits and have had communications with them daily, provided several rounds of personal protection equipment to meet their needs and have ...

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Sheriff’s office releases additional information after Immokalee man shot and killed by deputy

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The encounter that ended with an Immokalee man shot and killed by a Collier County Sheriff’s Office deputy lasted 13 seconds, according to the sheriff’s office.  

During the last few seconds of the encounter, the man was running toward deputies with a raised weapon, according to information released by the sheriff’s office on Tuesday.  

Nicholas Morales-Bessannia, 37, was shot by a deputy around 1:15 a.m.  Sept. 17 outside a home in the Farm Workers Village neighborhood in Immokalee.  

Three Collier deputies arrived after a woman called 911 because a man was outside her home on Edenfield Way with a shovel trying to get inside, according to audio of a 911 call released by the sheriff’s office.   

Cpl...

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Jensen Beach High postpones Friday football game vs. John Carroll Catholic, cites COVID-19

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MARTIN COUNTY — Jensen Beach High School has postponed Friday’s varsity football game against John Carroll Catholic because of COVID-19 concerns, officials said Tuesday.  

Jensen Beach has ordered nearly 138 students this week to quarantine because they were contacts of a presumed positive coronavirus case in the school. 

“Due to the volume of transitions to quarantine protocol carried out over the weekend and (Tuesday), Jensen Beach High School has postponed its varsity game (Friday),” district spokesperson Jennifer DeShazo in a statement. 

The game has been rescheduled for Oct. 23.

Power rankings: Stats and trends for each Treasure Coast team

“Due to Jensen Beach High School quarantining man...

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Lehigh Acres man arrested on charges linked to terrorism and ISIS

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A 23-year-old Lehigh Acres man is facing charges linked to terrorism and ISIS, according to documents from the U.S. District Court.

Jonathan Guerra Blanco, also known as Abu Zahraal-Andalusi, attempted to provide material support and resources to the foreign terrorist organization, according to a sworn report from Special Agent Bryan D. Hughes, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Joint Terrorism Task Force.

Guerra is a Cuban-born naturalized U.S. citizen. He had his first appearance on Sept. 14 before Magistrate Judge Jacqueline Becerra in Miami, where he was held without bond.

He was arrested Sept...

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SFWMD’s Annual South Florida Wading Bird Report shows 2019 decrease in nests

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Nesting conditions were not good for South Florida wading birds last year, with fewer nests than in 2018 and the previous 10-year average, according to an annual count.

The 2019 count of 37,303 nests was “comparatively disappointing” to the 2018 nesting season, which “moved the needle considerably in most measures,” Audubon Florida stated in a news release about the Annual South Florida Wading Bird Report.

Early nesters — including great egrets, wood storks and roseate spoonbills — were most effected. Water levels peaked early, followed by a dry December, followed by heavy rains in January that flooded their nests, according to the South Florida Water Management District, which compiles the annual report. 

Gre...

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Joshua trees protected under the California Endangered Species Act in historic vote

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In a likely precedent-setting decision, the California Fish and Game Commission on Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve the western Joshua tree for the next stage of protection under the California Endangered Species Act. This marks the first time the state law has been used to give protection to a species that is mainly threatened by climate change.

The species — one of two types of the iconic desert megaflora — is facing massive habitat loss due to warming temperatures that are pushing its livable habitat farther north and into higher elevations. Scientists predict that Joshua Tree National Park could be devoid of its namesake plant by the end of the century.

The western Joshua tree now receives protection under the a...

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