The Mendocino Beacon

February 26, 2015

The Mendocino Beacon - Weekly newspaper published since 1877 with news, sports, obituaries and classifieds.

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Anytime, anywhere. Subscribe to our e-edition. VISIT MENDOCINOBEACON.COM KNOW IT. ALL. Sign-ups for annual Whale Run underway. Page A7 Former Comptche resident arrested for 1978 murder. See below INSIDE THIS WEEK By Matthew Reed @MendocinoBeacon on Twitter The Mendocino City Commu- nity Services District declared a "no water shortage" stage Monday night during its regular board of directors meeting. The declaration is based on rainfall totals in the district from October to the end of Jan- uary. Based on the district's Wa- ter Shortage Contingency Plan, if greater than 19 inches of rain falls by Jan. 31, there is no water short- age. 23.3 inches fell in that time, said Mike Kelley, district super- intendent. The declaration comes with a caveat, however. Kelley said his- torical data of rainfall for the last four years of drought shows a pattern of above average rain- fall in the first few months of the wet season followed by several months of very little rain. "So far, Mendocino's water sup- ply is in much better shape than in inland areas of California," he said. "In spite of being off to a good start, total January and Feb- ruary rainfall was troubling when 65 percent below normal rain was logged during those two months." Water levels and aquifer re- charge are closely correlated to both total annual rainfall amounts and the timing of the precipitation, Kelley said. "Spring rains will be critical this year to avoid declaring an- other drought stage this summer," he said. The "no water shortage" state is WATER Sewer district declares 'no water shortage' stage A group of Mendocino Coast residents came together Saturday for a picnic and discussion of the recent mowing of the Mendocino Head- lands by State Parks. The gathering culminated with a memorial walk by the group along the headlands. See page A13 for story and photos. STATE PARKS MENDOCINO HEADLANDS MOWING AGGRIEVES SOME MATTHEW REED - BEACON PHOTO By Ryan Olson Chico Enterprise-Record Evidence turned up in the 1988 search of a Comptche home, com- bined with recent developments in a decades-old murder case, is sending a Nebraska man back to Butte County to face charges he killed his wife 36 years ago. Defendant Marvin Gail Owens, 62, apparently lived in Comptche some time after his wife, Debo- rah Owens, then 23, disappeared in 1978. Her body has never been found. Investigators stayed with the case, and in 1988, searched Mar- vin Owens' Comptche home. Butte County law enforcement officials say it was evidence from that search, combined with infor- mation gained recently from Ow- ens friends and family members, that led to the arrest. Owens waived extradition Fri- day morning in a Nebraska court, according to Butte County Dis- trict Attorney Mike Ramsey. Waiving extradition clears COMPTCHE Search led to murder arrest Classifieds .....A12 Crossword ..... A10 Obituaries ....... A6 Opinion ............A4 Sports .............. A7 Weather .......... A3 INDEX By Chris Calder @FBAdvocateNews on Twitter This has been a tough couple of years for pinnipeds along the California Coast. Sea lions, northern fur seals, elephant seals and several other species have been beaching themselves in numbers many times normal. Researchers and vets who take care of the ani- mals think they are feeling the effects of changing ocean con- ditions: warmer water that trig- gers toxic algae blooms, and drives fish that are their food sources farther north. That may be why, accord- ing to marine mammal res- cue volunteers on the Men- docino Coast, six apparently healthy sea lions turned up on Mendocino County beaches in the past couple of weeks, who died before rescuers could help them. According to volunteer Sarah Grimes, that happens maybe a couple of time a year. On a re- cent walk along Ten Mile Beach, she said she found three sea lion pup carcasses, again, much more than normal. But this is not a normal year. Dr. Shawn Johnson, Direc- tor of Veterinary Science for the Marine Mammal Center spoke to center volunteers in Fort Bragg last weekend. Johnson said the statewide picture in- cludes a number of factors that made 2014 the Center's busiest non-El Nino year ever, and the first few months of 2015 busier ENVIRONMENT Climate impacts sea lions SAFETY » PAGE A2 Albion firefighter CalFire certified SPORTS » PAGE A7 Playoffs begin for Mendocino teams KELLEY HOUSE » PAGE A6 Emma Coombs, school mistress THIS WEEK'S WEB BONUS Check out our Facebook page NATHAN DEHART — UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Animal Shelter volunteer Megan Smith brings Jordy back to his kennel aer their daily walk. By Adam Randall @udjadam on Twitter On Feb. 17, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors squashed several months of speculation that the Mendocino County Sheriff's Office could re- gain control of animal care ser- vices, by unanimously voting in favor of the Health and Human Services Agency retaining man- agement of the Ukiah shelter. Super visor Dan Hamburg moved to put the motion on the floor with three stipulations af- ter a nearly one-hour discussion. The first allowed for ani- mal care services to remain un- der HHSA's leadership; second, HHSA may pursue other fu- ture options in the best interest of the animals if it so chooses; and third, any possible alterna- tive agreement would have to be brought back before the board for approval. The supervisors previously di- rected Sheriff Tom Allman and HHSA Director Stacey Cryer to sit down and discuss the mat- ter before coming back before the board, which was the reason for the item being on Tuesday's ANIMAL CARE Shelter to stay with HHSA Giving control to MCSO or Petaluma animal services nonprofit also considered Board also waives deed restrictions SEA LIONS » PAGE 13 HHSA » PAGE 14 ARREST » PAGE 14 WATER » PAGE 14 » Thursday, February 26, 2015 75 CENTS FACEBOOK.COM/MENDOCINOBEACON 8 52659 03865 7 A NEWSPAPER Volume 137, issue 21

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