Editor’s Note: This is the second in a two-part series looking back at some of the stories reported in 2018 in the Colusa County area by Colusa County Sun-Herald reporters. 

June, 2018

Colusa home burglarized, shots fired from homeowner – The Colusa County Sheriff’s Office was alerted of burglary at a home that resulted in the homeowner firing warning shots and holding a suspect at gunpoint. 

Corona in early lead for supervisor – In the only contested race for the Primary Election for Colusa County, candidate Merced Corona held an early lead over Johannes Lauwerijssen for the District 1 supervisor position. Other races included District 5 supervisor, assessor, auditor/controller, clerk/recorder, district attorney, sheriff, treasurer and superintendent of schools.

Colusa county Fair: 4-H members show off pygmy goats – More than 30 4-H members showed off pygmy goats before the gates to the 79th annual Colusa county Fair officially opened. 

Thousands enjoy 79th annual gathering of fun – Friends, fun and food were major parts of the fun at the Colusa County Fair. 

Pigs, Chickens and Pickin’ raises over $90K for Colusa fairgrounds – The Colusa County Fair Foundation raised more than $96,000 during the animal showcase. Pigs and chickens ran an obstacle course as people team members assisted. 

Colusa DA says office will not file DUI charges against horse parade rider – The Colusa County District Attorney’s Office announced it will not file felony charges against Armando Martinez Ruiz for allegedly riding a horse at the Colusa County Fair parade while intoxicated. During the parade, he was reportedly thrown from the horse in the area of Eighth and Webster streets before the horse trampled an unidentified 8-year-old boy. Martinez Ruiz was arrested on suspicion of felony DUI. Colusa police said the boy was recovering but couldn’t release any further information. 

Colusa celebrates 150th anniversary – River activities, ribbon-cuttings, barbecues and walking tours were part of the celebration of Colusa’s 150th anniversary. Several events were scheduled throughout the day to commemorate the milestone for the city. 

Local firefighters assist in Lake County as Pawnee Fire grows – The Williams Fire Department reported five firefighters, a fire engine and water tender were sent to assist with the Pawnee Fire in Lake County. Western Colusa County saw evacuation advisory warnings during the fire. 

July, 2018

Officials approve $33 million temporary budget –  Colusa County officials planned a temporary $33 million budget revealing the county meets the status quo, even with a minor debts of $114,000. The debt is from water system improvements and emergency drought relief funding over the last few years. Funding goes toward things like the general fund, the sheriff-coroner, public works, ag commissioner and the district attorney.

San Francisco shop bringing high-end craftsmanship to the mid-valley – SF Metalworks, originally from San Francisco, made plans to move their metal works shop to Merdian. Part of the reason behind the move was the need for additional space and staff. The CEO said he had been looking to move their production operation for some time. He and a friend found the place in Meridian that was twice the square footage and half the price of their original work space. 

Colusa grand jury releases its findings – The 2017-18 Colusa County Grand Jury report was released and revealed several investigations over the year and recommendations based on those. The different recommendations went to the Williams Cemetery District, Colusa County Jail, Tri-County Juvenile Rehabilitation and Colusa County Animal Control.

Colusa transit agency offers free fare five days a month – The Colusa County Transit Agency announced offering free rides five days a month beginning in August. The Colusa Dial-A-Ride system operates nine vehicles that travel fixed routes to Yuba City, Arbuckle, Colusa, Grimes, Maxwell, Princeton, Sites, Stonyford and Williams. Local fares typically run from $1-$4. 

August, 2018

Orv’s Market opens in Williams – The owners of a popular gas station off Highway 20 and Interstate 5 celebrated the grand opening of their new store across the parking lot, Orv’s Farm Market, offering healthy and locally made items. 

Arbuckle College Fire Department celebrates 100 years – The fire department celebrated their 100th anniversary with a parade and barbecue.

Mendocino Complex Fire eclipses 400,000 acres – The Mendocino Complex Fire continued to grow and a new Colusa strike team was sent to help manage the fire. The crew helped with structure defense, firing operations and multiple hose lays, where they put down hoses to help mop up. The fire was 74 percent contained and burned 404,532 acres.

Working to improve safe access to schools – Colusa County submitted an Active Transportation Program proposal that would improve the safety and increase active methods of transportation – such as biking and walking – to and from school. It identified improvements like enhanced striping, signage, crosswalks, bulb-outs, sidewalks and other elements.

September, 2018

County’s taxable value surges – Colusa County’s taxable value increased by about 30 percent since the 2008 recession. For the 2018-19 fiscal year, the value was reported at $3,236,950,477. The report includes totals for secured and unsecured values of land, improvements, personal property, fixtures, miscellaneous exemptions and homeowner exemptions. The totals are also broken down by tax area codes and given to the auditor. 

Mural, mural on the wall – L.K. James of Colusa painted a brightly colored mural to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Colusa and showcase its connection to agriculture. The mural had sunflowers, tomatoes, watermelon and more incorporated into the bright yellow, orange and red colors in the design.

Fitness takes center stage at Williams Unified – The fitness at Williams High School began to evolve with the updated wellness center. The weightroom before had equipment from the 1960s. The project aimed to give students the opportunity to participate and develop a better understanding of the importance of wellness.

ν Library giving away books to kids – The Colusa County Free Library was giving away free books to kids up to 17 years of age to encourage them to read and fight California’s relatively high illiteracy rate. The literacy coordinator for the library said they want to make sure books are available to students. 

PG&E converting overhead lines to underground ones – Pacific Gas and Electric Co. began work to convert the overhead power lines on Bridge Street to underground ones. Contractors will work through December of 2019 to build a new underground electric system. 

Willows man found dead in Colusa County  – The body of Hoover Mock, 75, of Willows was found following a single-vehicle accident in an irrigation ditch in Colusa County. The California Highway Patrol was alerted about an accident in a rice field near the intersection of McDermott and Dirks around at around 1:43 a.m. A patrol unit discovered an abandoned BMW with a wallet and walking cane on the front seat. The Glenn County Sheriff’s Office was asked to do a welfare check at the driver’s residence but there was no response. A person on a 4-wheeler flagged down a helicopter that was searching the area near an irrigation ditch. Mock’s body was found and identified by the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office.

Williams CHP commander under investigation – Lt. Brian Goldhammer, 41, of the Williams California Highway Patrol was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence of alcohol, which allegedly occurred while he was on duty. He was still employed following the incident. The CHP was investigating the incident and upon completion, said they would forward it to the Colusa County District Attorney. 

October, 2018

Women of the Year honored – Four Colusa County women were honored during Congressman John Garamendi’s Women of the Year awards. The 3rd District representative hosts the awards to honor community leaders and visionaries. Barbara Hankins of Meridian, Irmalee Schumacher of Colusa, Maryah Stoots of Williams and Pamela DaGrossa were recipients.

Volunteers clean up the river – The Colusa River Cleanup removed more than 1,000 pounds of garbage and had about 45 volunteers work to better the environment.

Team completes assessment of burned areas in Mendocino National Forest following fires – The Mendocino Complex fires, including the Ranch Fire and River Fire, caused mandatory evacuations in parts of Colusa County. A Burned Area Emergency Response team surveyed parts of the Mendocino National Forest that were affected. The assessment identified post-fire risks and threats – including debris flows – as well as ways to mitigate and reduce potential threats identified.

Colusa County agriculture industry records third-best year – The Colusa County crop report showed a nearly $92 million increase over the prior year in overall production value, with a value of nearly $883.6 million in 2017. Almonds was the top commodity with a gross value of $307.2 million.

Team Vesco speed past 500 mph mark – Rick Kunze of Colusa  has been part of a team that aimed to make their wheel driven car the first to make it to 500 mph and they succeeded at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. The Turbinator II reached the mark during the World Finals. 

Van connected to murder in Woodland found in Mexico – The van that was believed to be driven by Salvador Garcia Jr., who is accused of murdering his ex-girlfriend, Karen Garcia, was found. The vehicle was located near the U.S.-Mexico border. Karen Garcia was reported missing in January and her body and vehicle were found a few days later in Woodland. Salvador Garcia Jr. was identified as the main suspect in her murder and disappeared after police found blood in his apartment and car. He was believed to be driving a stolen van, which was the vehicle that was located.

Car Show and Depot BBQ – The Arbuckle Revitalization Committee hosted their annual Car Show and Depot Barbecue fundraiser to help them fund community projects.

Arbuckle Elementary class places third in national reading competition – An Arbuckle Elementary School classroom earned third place in the Fall into Reading Challenge that encourages classrooms across the country to read a total of 8 million books between Oct. 1 and Oct. 5. Jennifer Barham’s second-grade class read a total of 4,565 books during the challenge. 

Colusa man arrested for attempted murder, among other charges – Manuel Estrada Valencia, 45, of Colusa was arrested after allegedly shooting a man. Rideout Emergency Room in Marsyville called the Colusa Police Department saying there was a possible shooting victim from Colusa and that the shooting happened in Colusa. After some investigating, it was found that the shooting limits happened outside city limits, so the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office took over. After some investigating, the suspected was located and arrested. He was arrested on charges including criminal threats, assault with a firearm and attempted murder.

Ruling relieves community, Colusa killer resentenced to life in prison without parole – After a three-day resentencing trial, the community was relieved when the judge resentenced Erik Ingebretsen’s killer Nathan Ramazzini to life imprisonment without parole. Ingebretsen was 16 when he was murdered by his two friends, Nathan Ramazzini, 16 at the time, and Leopold Contreras, 19 at the time. Family and friends of the victim gathered at the Colusa County Superior Courthouse to hear the final decision on Ramazzini’s petition for resentencing under juvenile justice sentencing legislation.

November, 2018

The General Election – The General Election took place on Nov. 6 and people all over the county placed ballots for offices like Williams and Colusa city councils, school district boars, representatives, assembly members, the governor and more. City council candidates shared some of their thoughts on the election as of that evening. 

Senior Project focuses on voting – A Colusa High School senior helped pre-register some of her fellow classmates. Sophie Keenan, 17, held a voter registration drive and volunteered at the polls for her senior project in an effort to educate the students on how to vote and the importance of being an informed voter.

California’s worst Wildfire – The Camp Fire in Butte County began on Nov. 8 and affected the air quality in Colusa. The fire quickly spread into the most deadly and destructive fire in California state history. The fire killed 86 people and destroyed 18,804 structures. 

Continued thanks to veterans through stories  – Egling Middle School hosted several veterans a few days before Veterans Day to share their stories with fifth graders at the school. The 10-year tradition was started to help students get to know the people who served and celebrate the veterans’ sacrifice.

Arbuckle native joins CHP – An Arbuckle man was sworn in as a California Highway Patrol officer in Hayward. Margarito Meza completed the cadet training course at the CHP Academy and he was assigned to the CHP’s Hayward office in the Bay Area. 

Community supports those in dire straits – The Colusa High School Spanish Club collected donations and the adviser took those to centers close to some of the evacuation centers. They collected items like clothes, shoes and toiletries. 

Honors for Pierce alumni – Four Pierce High School alumni were honored at the National Future Farmers of America Convention with American FFA degrees, the highest degree an FFA member can achieve. Jessica Croxson, Ashleigh Ehrke, Devin Griffith and Jacob Amsler were the recipients. To earn the American FFA degree, members must earn the three earlier degrees and meet several other requirements. 

A celebration of almonds – Black Shire Almonds hosted a grand opening celebration for S&B Ranch’s new roasting and flavoring facility. People who attended were able to try several different flavors of almonds and visit their mascot, a black shire horse name Danvick. 

Sites Reservoir loan – The U.S. Department of Agriculture made plans to issue a $449 million loan for the Sites Reservoir Authority to build the interconnection facility to move water in and out of Sites Reservoir. The Sites project is a proposed 1.8 million acre-foot offstream reservoir located in Glenn and Colusa counties, which will use existing infrastructure to divert high winter flows from the Sacramento River.

December, 2018

Election Results finalized – Colusa County General Election results were finalized, resulting in Colusa City Council incumbents Joshua Hill and Thomas Reische to keep their seats and Brent Nobles was selected to serve on the council’s short-term (two years) seat. A new council member, Sajit Singh, was selected for Williams and two incumbents kept their seats, Santos Jauregui and Alfred Sellers Jr.

Eagle Scout Honored – A local high school senior, Charlie Franklin, an Eagle Scout, received the Spirit of Veterans Day Community Service Certificate for his project of repainting and relandscpaing at the Colusa Veterans Hall. He aimed to make the hall more presentable for his Eagle Scouts project.

Long-time tradition has a new twist – A long-time Colusa tradition, Christmas Tyme in Colusa, encouraged people to come together during the holiday season. The event featured informational booths, arts and crafts tables and a variety of other vendors. There was also food, musicians from Colusa High School, a tree lighting ceremony and Santa Claus made an appearance.

Animals get a loving hand – A group of Future Farmers of America students from Colusa High School volunteered at the Butte County Fairgrounds in Gridley to help animals that were affected by the Camp Fire.

Tribute to a departed hunter – Michael Matteoli, 26, a hunting guide, died Sept. 26 in a farming accident and the Field of Dreams’ annual duck hunt, Warriors in the Wetlands, was renamed in honor of Matteoli, a Sutter County farmer and volunteer for the nonprofit, which was founded in Colusa County.

Families and friends gather at Winterfest – Colusa High School’s Associated Student Body group hosted Winterfest on Dec. 13 to bring people together for the holiday season. The event had many activities for kids including cookie decorating, ornament making, face painting, watching Christmas movies and more. 

Spreading Christmas cheer – A Maxwell family sings Christmas carols in Colusa to share the meaning of Christmas and light up the holiday for people who may be alone.

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