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Year in Review - County experiences 'hits and misses'
Schools and government dominated the news in 2012, and with a number of hits and misses along the way.
The Glenn County Board of Education undertaking a grueling redistricting process in early 2012 was a big hit.
Although the process resulted in the forced ousting of trustees Gene Massa of Willows and Gail Zimmerman of Hamilton City, the new boundaries brought the county in compliance with federal election laws enacted over 30 years ago that require trustee areas to be equal in voting population and adjusted at every biennial census.
It was a process the Glenn County Office of Education ignored in 1990 and 2000, under previous administrations.
Although she was first met with resistance, board President Judy Holzapfel convinced a leery public that the new trustee areas should be less about cozy communities and school districts and more about representing the county equally and fairly.
Voters, as far as school officials are concerned, miss the mark when they failed in November to pass Measure P, the $14.7 million bond that would have allowed Willows Unified School District to make improvements to its 60-year-old schools, including providing handicapped accessibility to facilities, replacing antiquated heating and air conditioning units with modern energy efficient equipment and improving student access to computers and modern technology.
The Glenn County Board of Supervisors decision to allow Glenn Medical Center in Willows to to purchase the property to build a new hospital was a hit in 2012.
The July sale was for $300,000 in cash paid at the end of escrow, and the cancellation of an agreement between Glenn County and the medical center of a monthly subsidy paid to the center for providing standby emergency room services and acute inpatient services.
This subsidy amounted to $450,000, county officials said, and brings the total purchase price to $750,000.
The sale includes the real estate, buildings, parking lots, appliances, furniture and other personal property owned by the county related to the hospital, which was built in 1951.
Glenn County supervisors, however, were slammed with a $200,000 bill in June for being on the hook for the termination of Assistant District Attorney Dewayne Stewart in 2011.
An employment arbitrator ruled District Attorney Robert Maloney fired Stewart for political reasons, and the county owes Stewart for lost wages.
The county expects to spend $30,000 to $90,000 defending Maloney and appealing the ruling.
The Willows City Council hit its mark in 2012 by projecting the fiscal year would end in the black for the first time in three years as promised.
Despite deep cuts and loses over the years in Willows Public Works and Willows Police Department, city officials say they are convinced the same level and quality of service will be provided to city residents.
The City Council did miss its mark in February when a $18,000 survey intended to test the pulse of voters on raising the sales tax was deemed so misleading that it demanded an apology from City Hall.
City officials said they had hoped to glean information from the survey that would help the council decide whether to put a proposed eight-year, half-cent tax increase on the June or November ballot as a way to raise revenue for city services.
The measure would have raised $500,000 a year until it sunset in 2020, city officials said.
The City Council drew a considerable amount of heat from the public, the Glenn County Deputy Sheriff's Association and the Glenn County Farm Bureau for wording on the survey that may have given respondents the idea the tax increase proposal was supported by the two organizations.
The 15-minute survey mostly asked respondents general questions about the city and county, what they would consider paying for certain services, and whether they had negative or positive feelings toward certain officials and organizations, including Glenn County Sheriff Larry Jones, Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, the Willows City Council and the Willows Chamber of Commerce.
Those who criticized the survey said the city would have received far more support for the survey and the tax if they had asked about the performance of the Willows Police Department and whether they would support an increase if they new Willows Police Chief Bill Spears' job was on the line as a cost-saving measure.
In the end, the tax measure was not put on the ballot as competition with Prop. 30, which raises the sales tax on Jan. to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent, a 3.45 percent increase.
Businesses came and went in 2012.
The opeing of the Gathering Marketplace in downtown Willows and Yeti's Pub & Grill were big hits in 2012.
The new antique mall in Willows had been the buzz in the downtown for a couple of years before owner Holly Myers opened its doors in October.
The market cooperative started with five vendors selling a variety of antique and vintage items, home decor and collectibles, but is expected to grow by leaps and bounds in 2013.
Yeti's Pub & Grill opened in mid-May to a rush of customers from the start.
But it was the shocking closure of Andy's in 2012 that hit the community like a bolt of lighting.
The Willows movie house that closed after the death of longtime AMH Opus Theater owner and manager Andy Huston in 2008, reopened in late 2011 with a great deal of fanfare.
After just six months of showing first-run films four days a week, the beloved movie house and downtown lunch spot went dark once again.
The building, its improvements and all the new and refurbished equipment are still up for sale.