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Two Willits bypass protesters arrested

A rally Wednesday to protest the controversial Willits Highway 101 bypass project sparked two more arrests Wednesday.

Mary Korte of Willits and Priscilla Thomas of Ukiah were arrested on suspicion of trespassing at a Caltrans office in Willits. Korte, 76, and Thomas, 76, were taken to the Mendocino County Jail, said CHP spokesman Steve Krul.

Protesters held the rally, which attracted about 80 people, after requesting a meeting with Caltrans two weeks ago and receiving no response, said Naomi Wagner, an Earth First organizer.

Caltrans official Phil Frisbie said he spent nearly two hours answering questions at the rally. Frisbie also said Caltrans has no plans to hold any further public meetings over the issue, but will continue to answer questions from the public on an individual basis.

Since organized protests against the bypass began January, 17 people have been arrested. One remains in Mendocino County Jail facing charges of assault and battery.

Two protesters remain camped in trees near the site of the bypass. The CHP forcibly removed five tree-sitters on April 4.


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