July 1

– Despite months of closures, face masks and social distancing, some Fourth of July traditions took place around Colusa County, including the bi-annual Grimes Day Parade, a feast at the Sacramento River Fire Protection District Grand Island Station, the annual Rubber Duckie Races hosted by the Colusa Lions Club and a fireworks extravaganza at Colusa Casino Resort. 

– (July 2) The active shooter allegedly responsible for killing one man and injuring at least two others at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center on Highway 99W, had a history with law enforcement, reports the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office.

Louis Lane, 31, of Redding was convicted in Shasta County of trespassing, and charged with battery in 2017 and 2007. In 2018, in Henderson, Nev., he was arrested on suspicion of felony being in possession of a concealed weapon with a permit.

In a shootout with Red Bluff police officers at the Center on Saturday, June 27, Lane was shot and later pronounced dead at a local hospital.

He is suspected of shooting and killing Martin Haro-Lozano, 45, of Orland, an employee of the Center, the father of two, who was reportedly waiting outside the Center for his wife, also an employee of the company.

Tehama County Sheriff’s Assist. Sheriff Phil Johnston said Lane was employed at the Center in February 2019.

“He worked for two weeks and then failed to show for a shift and was released from employment,” he added. “That is the only connection we have between the Distribution Center and the suspect at this time.”

Wal-Mart employees who witnessed Lane at the shooting, described him as upwards of 300 lbs., around 5’11”, with a “man bun”, long beard, white, wearing dark shorts and a dark shirt, but none of them recognized him as a former employee of the Center.

Around 3:30 p.m. Lane drove into the distribution center’s parking lot where he struck a pedestrian before ramming the vehicle into the center’s main lobby.

He then exited the vehicle and used an illegal assault-type rifle to shot and kill Haro-Lozano. Entering the building,

Lane shot randomly at others, left he building and was then shot and killed by law enforcement.

– Willows Unified School District and Orland Unified School District served free breakfasts and lunches during the summer for local children.

– The Willows Chamber of Commerce hosted its Fourth of July Fireworks show – asking that people limit gathering, wear facial coverings and adhere to social distancing recommendations. The Orland Chamber of Commerce announced the annual Fourth of July parade and other events were canceled.

– Willows’ Maddy Nissen was selected as the 2020 Dairy Princess for the California Milk Advisory Board’s District 4.

July 8

– Applications were being accepted for a new affordable housing development that was in the works in Williams.

Facilitated by the Community Housing Improvement Program, or CHIP,  the project  - slated for 23 lots located at Heron Way off Larch Drive – was said to be the first development of its kind within the city. 

“Land can be difficult to find, especially subdivision lots that already have improvements and are ready for house construction,” said Jill Quezada, director of homeownership for CHIP. “We are thrilled to find these lots and have the opportunity to provide quality, affordable homeownership to families in Williams and the surrounding area.”

– A crash between a motorcycle and a big rig on the Fourth of July north of Red Bluff resulted in the discovery of 12 pounds of methamphetamine in the possession of the motorcyclist, reported the California Highway Patrol Red Bluff office.

Robert Eric Tyson, 39, of Eureka was driving a 2006 Suzuki GSXR south on Interstate 5 north of Jellys Ferry Road on Saturday when he struck a 2014 Freightliner while attempting to pass the big rig around 6:35 a.m., CHP said.

Tyson was ejected from the motorcycle, landing in center divide. He was transported to Mercy Medical Center by medical helicopter with major injuries, CHP reported.

The driver of the Freightliner, Gurbhej Singh, 39, of Redding was not injured.

While investigating the crash, CHP officers located approximately 12 pounds of methamphetamine and $4,500 in cash allegedly belonging to Tyson, who was arrested previous to being transported to the hospital.

The crash, drugs and cash is under investigation by the CHP.

– Glenn County was one of the counties that was ordered to close or modify services to outdoor operations due to an increase in transmission of COVID-19 – including personal care services, gyms and fitness centers, places of worship, malls and offices for noncritical infrastructure sectors.

July 15

– The Orland and Willows chamber of commerce offices hosted free mask giveaways for local businesses – each office received 4,500 masks to distribute, which came from the North Valley Community Foundation’s Rapid Response Fund and the Feather River Health Foundation.

– A Corning man well known to local police for leading them on high speed pursuits has been sentenced to eight years in state prison.

James Robert Smith, 54, was hand down the sentence in Tehama County Superior Court this month for charges of felony assault with a deadly weapon other then firearm on peace officer or firefighter, transport/furnish controlled substance/methamphetamine, possession of a controlled substance for sale, attempt to avoid peace officer with reckless driving, and vandalism.

The charges stems from an attempted traffic stop by a Corning police officer on Smith, who was on parole, in March. Smith allegedly back his vehicle into the officer’s patrol car, then drove away. The officer pursued Smith through Corning at speeds reaching 75 mph.

The chase ended when Smith again rammed his vehicle backwards into the police car and then ran away, reported the Tehama County District Attorney’s Office. 

When Smith was caught and arrested following a short foot chase,  he was allegedly found to be in possession of 46 grams of methamphetamine, a scale, and packaging materials.

This was the second such experience the Corning police had with Smith, who in July 2015 led officers on a pursuit following an attempted traffic stop on West Street.

– The County of Colusa was seeking public input as they developed a Business Assistance Program to assist local establishments that had been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In order to determine how best to develop a financial assistance program, we need your input so that any programs we develop will address your specific needs and the needs of other businesses throughout the county,” said Greg Plucker, community development director for the County of Colusa.

According to Plucker, two tentative programs had been identified to utilize the approximately $1.1 million available from the county’s Program Income Fund. 

– An 11-year-old was killed in a collision on Interstate 5 in Glenn County – three adults were also injured in the crash.

July 22

– A COVID-19 outbreak was reported July 20 at Valley West, a skilled nursing facility in Williams, according to a release issued from the Colusa County Health and Human Services Department. 

There were 30 confirmed active cases at the facility, according to the release, including 16 residents and 14 staff members.

– The first coronavirus-related death in Glenn County was reported – they were over the age of 70 and had been in the hospital for an extended period of time.

– There are a lot of questions remaining on what the next school year will look like as Corning administrations consider reopening campuses in the wake of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest COVID-19 guidelines.

Corning Union High School District Superintendent Jared Caylor said his administration will have plans in place and ready for the public on Aug. 1. 

Rick Fitzpatrick, Corning Union Elementary School District superintendent, said his district is sending out a survey to all the families of the district’s students with information concerning the district’s plans to open campuses in August.

“We need to find out which families plan on sending their children to school and who plans on keeping them at home,” he added. “Once we have that information we can have a better idea on how to allocate our resources, including teachers, staff and programs.”

The survey is available on the district’s website in English and Spanish, and at the District Office, 1590 South St., Corning.

Fitzpatrick confirmed the state’s requirement that all students attending school in third grade to 12th grade must wear a mask, with students kindergarten to second grade not required to wear one.

– The Willows Fire Department was proposing a sales tax measure for the November ballot so they could offer advanced life support while waiting for transport to a hospital.

July 29

– Ben Maisonet, 24, of Chico continued to recover after he was struck walking along Highway 99W in Willows – the driver fled the scene. A suspect was identified in August and the investigation was referred to the Glenn County District Attorney’s office.

– All four school districts within Colusa County developed distance learning plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year after Gov. Gavin Newsom announced July 17 that counties on the COVID-19 watchlist will not be able to resume in-person instruction until removed from the list for a period of 14 days. 

Colusa County was added to the states watchlist in July due to an increase in positive COVID-19 cases.

– Two ordinances were approved by Corning’s City Council on Tuesday to discourage downtown and residential blight by initiating measures which prohibit property owners in both downtown and residential neighborhoods from leaving their property unmaintained and boarded up, and to impose a vacant building monitoring fee on empty buildings.

City Manager Kristina Miller said vacant buildings which are unmanaged and unmaintained by their owners frequently result in blight, and an attraction to transients and criminals to Corning’s downtown and neighborhoods. This, she added, results in significant costs to the City for law enforcement response, code enforcement, and related issues.

August 5

– The Poor and the Homeless (PATH) has closed escrow on the former Louisiana-Pacific Corp. site on Mill Street in Red Bluff that is to be the location of the future Tehama County Homeless Navigation Center. 

Louisiana-Pacific Corp. and Sierra Pacific Industries have joined forces in donating 26 acres to be used for the navigation center. The location lies north of the Raley’s supermarket and Reeds Avenue.

Tehama County received a $2.9 million Community Development Block Grant from the California Department of Housing and Community Development for the homeless navigation center when the site was to be located on Vista Way. The county is in the process of working with the state to transfer the grant to the new location on Mill Street.

–  The California Department of Food and Agriculture became aware of several reports of shipments of “mysterious and unsolicited seeds from China and other parts of Asia,” being delivered across the country and shipments were confirmed in Colusa, Glenn and Tehama counties.

– Two people died in a vehicle collision on State Route 20 near Meridian July 30, according to a release issued from the Williams area California Highway Patrol. 

Grimes resident Jose Sanchez, 25, is believed to have made an “unsafe turning movement” directly into the path of an oncoming vehicle, causing the oncoming vehicle to collide into the front right side of Sanchez’s vehicle. Two of the three passengers in the oncoming vehicle sustained fatal injuries. The other passenger was transported via Reach Air Ambulance to Adventist Rideout Hospital for further treatment.

– Two more coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed in Colusa County, bringing the county’s total COVID-related death count up to four. 

Marcos Kropf, County Counsel for the County of Colusa, said both individuals were residents of Valley West Care Center in Williams.

– Glenn County school districts prepared to start the 2020-21 school year utilizing distance learning due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

August 12

– Colusa County Public Health Officer Dr. Greg Burt ordered that face coverings are required to be worn by all individuals, with limited exceptions, within the county while in indoor public spaces or while unable to maintain social distance outdoors, effective Aug. 6.

“Our contact tracing efforts are revealing a staggering level of family and social gatherings,” said Burt. “During these gatherings, unmasked individuals are spreading the virus through respiratory droplets that are produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks. Now, more than ever, it is imperative that residents refrain from family and social gatherings, and wear an appropriate face covering when conducting essential business in public.”

– While elementary school-aged children in Corning won’t be returning to school campuses anytime soon due to the implications of COVID-19, Corning High School is opening its doors on Thursday, Aug. 13, to welcome masked students and staff as this school year gets underway.

“Our students have two options,” said Jared Caylor, Corning Union High School District superintendent. “They can either attend school on campus full-time or take part in full-time distance learning. If they attend school on campus, masks are required when at all practical.”

– California had recently announced that there was a problem with the electronic systems used to relay COVID-19 lab results – CalREDIE – which resulted in an undercount of cases across the state and Glenn County Public Health saw an increase of cases due to the glitch.

Orland Volunteers In Police Service shared their experiences and why they wanted to volunteer to help the local law enforcement department – VIPS is sponsored by the Orland Police Department and is designed to have citizen volunteers perform some routine police functions to help the department.

August 19

– The August Complex fire – which eventually became the state’s largest wildfire – started in the Mendocino National Forest due to lightning strikes. The fire was comprised of several fires in the region and was contained after about three months. Evacuation orders were issued in several counties – including Glenn. The fire was 100 percent contained in November.

– The 2020 California State Duck Calling Competition was scheduled to be held at Veterans Memorial Park, located on the corner of Tenth and Market Streets in Colusa, Aug. 22. 

The tenth annual event, hosted by Kittle’s Outdoor and Sport Co., usually draws in duck call enthusiasts from far and wide but this year’s competition was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to event coordinator Steve Sherbondy. 

– Restaurant owners in Corning are being given a chance to make ends meet as they struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting restrictions by offering patrons outdoor dining in conjunction to carry-out service.

To make this option even more possible, Corning’s City Hall is making possible the rental of tables, chairs, umbrellas and awnings to restaurants free-of-charge. Funding for the program is through $5,000 in the city’s general fund reserves and $5,000 from the general fund set aside for community events.

“Because we haven’t been able to hold any of our community events, such as Food Truck Tuesdays, we reallocated those funds to purchase the tables and chairs in support of the businesses in our community during this pandemic,” said City Manager Kristina Miller.

The first business in town to take advantage of the program was Rancho Grande, 1995 Solano St., owned by Jose Siguero.

“I got three tables and three umbrellas from the City,” he said. “It looks really nice and is a really nice set up. I probably wouldn’t have been able to offer outdoor dining without their help.”

August 26

–  The identities of two men shot at the Super 8 Motel in Corning on Aug. 9, one fatally, have been released by the Corning Police Department.

Killed from a round to the torso was Angelo Spears, 24, and suffering a gunshot wound to the his arm was Nicholas Valdez, 20, both are from Corning.

Corning police were called out to a report of shots fired at the motel, 2165 Solano St., around 10:30 p.m. When they arrived officers say they found a blood trail into a room, but the room was unoccupied when they entered.

A bullet hole was found in the door of room 116, in the stucco just outside the door and at least two bullet holes in the walls inside the room.

While investigating the scene of the shooting, Corning police were notified that two shooting victims, Spears and Valdez, had arrived at St. Elizabeth Community Hospital in Red Bluff.

Valdez was treated for the bullet wound to the left forearm. Spears died at the hospital as a result of his wounds, officers reported.

– The Colusa County Board of Supervisors approved a CARES Act spending plan to utilize the $2.2 million dollars allotted to the county by the state’s Coronavirus Relief Fund in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We realize this won’t fill all the gaps in businesses losses, but hopefully it will help a little,” said Board of Supervisors Chairperson Denise Carter. 

The plan was divided into two parts, said Carter, with 45 percent allocated to the community. The plan outlines that  $783,000 in funds would be used for local government support and the remaining $550,000 would be used for county operations. 

September 2

– Evacuation orders were still in place for a portion of Colusa County considered vulnerable to the approaching Hennessy Fire, one of the multiple wildfires that make up the LNU Complex. Burning in Lake, Yolo, Napa, Solano and Sonoma counties, the blazes have burned 369,935 acres since igniting Aug. 15 and were 69 percent contained as of Sept. 1. 

– The secretary treasurer of the Willows Car & Bike Show and an Orland Police Department K-9 Unit officer spoke about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected fundraising efforts. Both had to cancel events that would have raised funds for their causes.

– Tiered framework for reopening businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic went into effect and it gave hair salons and barbershops the green light to reopen with modifications. A county’s case rate and test positivity rate determine what tier it’s in.

– Winds temporarily kept the smoke and ash caused from the on-going August Complex and Elkhorn wildfires burning in the Mendocino mountain range, out of the northern Sacramento Valley this week.

The wildfires, caused by lightning strikes, continue to threaten communities, cause road closures, burn thousands of acres of forest and have taken the life of a firefighter.

In Tehama County, CalFire reports multiple wildfires are burning, including the Elkhorn Fire, which as of Tuesday had burned more than 41,000 acres with 40 percent containment.

September 9

– The Colusa County Board of Supervisors approved sending a letter to several state officials expressing their concerns about the “challenges associated in working with the metrics outlined in the recently released ‘Blueprint for a Safer Economy’ upon rural counties” such as Colusa. 

“We are, once again, respectfully requesting local control over COVID-19 response, recovery and reopening as the Blueprint’s one-size fits all approach is not a workable system for Colusa County,” said Denise Carter, Colusa County Board of Supervisors chairperson.

– Two people suspected in the kidnapping of an Oregon man tried to escape capture as a Red Bluff police officer was hanging onto the fleeing vehicle.

A report was received by the Red Bluff Police Department concerning the alleged kidnapping of a 30-year-old Oregon man who was being held for ransom and en route to Red Bluff for the exchange of money for the kidnap victim.

During an attempted traffic stop on the suspect vehicle on Adobe Road, the driver, David Brian Scott, 45, of Grants Pass, Ore., allegedly sped away at 50 mph with a Red Bluff police officer holding on to the side of the vehicle and standing on its running boards for around 400 feet. 

The officer was able to point his service weapon at Scott who then stopped the vehicle.

Scott and Kristina Queen, 23, of Cave Junction, Ore., both allegedly involved in the kidnapping, were booked into the Tehama County Jail on suspicion of kidnapping, attempted murder, resisting arrest and attack with a deadly weapon. Scott is being held on $2 million bail.

During the investigation it was determined Scott had exchanged the victim for ransom just as the officers arrived in the area, the police department reported.

– A Chico muralist added almond blossoms and honeybees to the once plain walls of the Honeybee Discovery Center in Orland. Christian Garcia has put up murals all over Northern California – including in Redding, Colusa, Chico, Corning and, now, Orland.

September 16

–  The Tehama County Board of Supervisors came into agreement their main goal in proposing an ordinance placing local controls on any penalties associated with the enforcement of COVID-19 regulations is to keep state officials at bay.

“The state can keep the hell out of Tehama County as far as enforcement of COVID-19 restrictions is concerned,” said Tehama County Supervisor and Board President Bob Williams. 

Supervisor Steve Chamblin agreed, stating the Board does not want the “over-arching state coming in and telling us what to do.”

But in the end and after much public comment, the Board voted unanimously to table the proposed ordinance until further notice and if the need arises a study session take place at that time. Supervisor Candy Carlson suggested if the ordinance comes back to the table, its language be simplified for public use and an expiration date included.

– Maxwell Unified School District began in-person learning for students in kindergarten through sixth grade Sept. 21 after securing a waiver that allows them to reopen despite Colusa County’s purple tier status that prohibits in-person learning to resume under Governor Gavin Newsom’s tiered reopening plan. 

“We are excited to be able to offer the choice to our families and give families the opportunity to decide which form of instruction is beneficial to the individual family,” said Summer Shadley, superintendent of the district.

September 23

– With nearly $1 billion in business revenue last year, agriculture continues to be the biggest industry in Colusa County, according to the most recent crop report released by the agricultural commissioner. 

Colusa County saw an increased gross production value of $24.8 million in 2019 compared to the previous year, according to the report, for a total of $932.9 million.

– The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office lifted evacuation orders put in place due to the August Complex Fire in western Glenn County.

– Two students at Corning High School who tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend resulted in the campus going to distance learning once again. 

This is the second time the school has had to close the campus due to students testing positive for the virus. The latest cases brings the total to number of students to have contracted the virus to eight.

However, Tehama County Health Services Executive Director Val Lucero told the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday the students did not contract the virus at the school, but in their households.

School administration closed the campus for Monday and Tuesday, notifying teachers and students who came in contact with the recent cases to self-quarantine and conducted COVID-19 testing at the school on Tuesday. 

Jared Caylor, Corning Union High School District superintendent, said the campus will reopen to students and teachers today, Thursday, Sept. 24.

September 30 

– Windy conditions didn’t deter the community of Stonyford from celebrating the 157th anniversary of the founding of Smithville, the town that has blossomed into what is now known as Stonyford. 

Hosted by the Stonyrose Heritage Society, the festival is one of many the society sponsors throughout the year to give back to the community.

– A Gridley was arrested in connection to multiple burglary incidents at the Princeton Post Office. 

According to Colusa County Assistant Sheriff Mike Bradwell, there have been three separate burglaries at the Princeton Post Office in September, where several post office boxes were damaged and large amounts of mail were taken.

Through the course of the investigation, Joshua Pelfrey, 41, was identified as a suspect. When a search warrant was conducted on his residence, investigators located mail belonging to victims from Oroville, Gridley, Live Oak, Yuba City and the Colusa area as well as methamphetamine, firearms and other items of interest. 

– After more than seven years with the Orland Police Department, K-9 Ruger retired.

 

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