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Three arrested at Willits bypass project

Three people protesting the Willits Highway 101 bypass project were arrested Monday. It was the latest in an effort since January to halt construction out of environmental concerns through civil disobedience.

Ellen Faulkner, 73, of Redwood Valley was among a group of about five people with a man who chained himself to a tractor, Earth First organizer Naomi Wagner said.

CHP officials confirmed Faulkner was arrested on suspicion of trespassing. It was her fourth arrest during protests at the Willits site, Wagner said.

Robert Chevalier, 68, a retired commercial fisherman from Sitka, Alaska, living in Willits chained himself to an excavator and was arrested on suspicion of trespassing and resisting arrest after authorities removed him, the CHP and Wagner said.

Also arrested was Sara Grusky, 57, of Willits who allegedly trespassed and refused to follow orders as she and about four others carried a 20-foot banner and blocked the path of trucks transporting supplies to a site on East Commercial Street. The banner read: "Caltrans: Hands Off Our Little Lake Valley!"

Caltrans spokesman Phil Frisbie said the protests only briefly delayed excavation work to remove tree stumps and soil.


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