Among other local and area news, the last six months of 2018 was marred by deadly and devastating wildfires in the North State and highlighted by the kindness and generosity shown to the survivors of those fires. The following article shares the major news of July-December of last year as covered by the Corning Observer. The first six months of 2018 was covered in the Dec. 27 issue of the newspaper.

July, 2018

  • A fire destroyed a home on Mary Avenue near Blackburn Avenue, leaving a family homeless. The fire also scorched four acres of vegetation.
  • Aaron Brooks Ceton, 41, of Rancho Tehama was sentenced to 36 years in state prison after being convicted of sexually abusing two children over two-year periods each.
  • A Tehama County Sheriff’s deputy was shot and injured by Jose Alfredo Barajas of Stockton on July 7 during the exchange of gunfire in the parking lot of Dollar General on Highway 99E in Los Molinos. Following a pursuit with law enforcement and crashing on Interstate 5 north of Red Bluff, Barajas reportedly shot and killed himself in his vehicle. A female ride-a-long in the patrol vehicle with the deputy was uninjured in the exchange of gunfire in the Dollar General parking lot. The deputy had to undergo surgery for his injuries.
  • Two Corning residents, Maria Luz Villa, 39, and 20-year-old Ana Vargas, were arrested during a major marijuana cultivation and sales bust in Orland. During the bust, 1,672 pot plants and 820 pounds of processed marijuana were seized by law enforcement.
  • The city of Corning hired the engineering firm of NorthStar Engineering out of Chico after the retirement of the city’s longtime engineer Ed Anderson.
  • More than 90,000 square feet of structures, including the business office, at Specialized Fibers on South Avenue at Kirkwood Avenue in Corning went up in flames on July 18 and burned for more than two days. The blaze caused the shut down of power and evacuation of residences in the area. The fire, which was reported around 9:15 p.m., was so extremely hot, firefighters had to hold back for hours before they could go on the offense in fighting the blaze.
  • Olivia Silvera of Red Bluff was crowned Miss Tehama County during the 2018 Tehama District Fair. During the fair’s Jr. Livestock Auction, 4-H, Future Farmers of America and individual youth handlers sold 339 animals.
  • The Shasta County wildfire, named the Carr Fire, began on July 23 burning thousands of acres and homes northwest of Redding.

August, 2018

  • The community of Corning responds to the Carr Fire in Shasta County by sending firefighters and police officers to the site, and community members, clubs, organizations, churches and groups provide clothing, food and shelter to the fires victims.
  • Using fingerprints and dental records, the Tehama County Coroners Office identified the man who drowned after jumping into the Sacramento River at the Antelope Boulevard bridge on July 22 as Wyatt Lowery, 31, of Red Bluff.
  • Corning Troop 5 Boy Scout Taylor Holly was honored at a Code of Honor Ceremony for earning his Eagle Scout award.
  • It was announced by the Tehama District Fair Board the date of the Tehama District Fair is being moved from the month of July, the date for 2017-18, to May 2-5 in 2019.
  • Tehama County Agriculture Department in its annual report stated the walnut remains the county’s number one crop, with almonds coming in second and Corning’s mascot, the olive, taking third in 2017.
  • The table olive crop is the pits with very few olives on the trees. Prices remained about the same as in 2017, but the crop tonnage was down at least 67 percent from the previous year.

September, 2018

  • The city hires 24-year-old Molly Marcussen as its Recreation Director-City Planner.
  • Phien Khamsavang, 35, of Orland reportedly tried to run over a state Fish and Wildlife warden with his vehicle near the Woodson Bridge at the Sacramento River. The warden was in the process of checking the man’s fishing license when the incident occurred.
  • Ian Michael Gonzalez, 36, of Tehama County was sentenced to 29 years in state prison for using a gun while trying to kidnap his ex-girlfriend, threatening to kill her and then using a rifle to fire several rounds into the occupied home where she and others resided.
  • Alexis Gardere, 20, of Gerber was killed when the vehicle she was a passenger in crashes on Rawson Road near Gerber. The driver, Jacob Cozine, 26, of Gerber suffered major injuries.
  • City of Corning well water hauled to Paskenta for residential use after Thomas Creek dried up, leaving small community 20 miles west of Corning with very little to no water for domestic use.
  • Three people, Maria Cervantes, 21, Martha Jimenez Lopez, 26, both of Los Molinos, and Miguel Cervantes Alvarez, 53, of Gerber, all Mexican Nationals, were arrested by Tehama Interagency Drug Enforcement task force officers during an undercover purchase of a kilo of methamphetamine. They were later indicted by a federal grand jury on eight counts of drug-related charges.
  • SavMor market in Corning announces it is building a new and bigger store, 32,000 square feet, at its same location on Solano Street.
  • Casa Ramos restaurant in Corning was shut down for a couple days during an investigation by the Department of Justice reportedly for tax evasion.

October, 2018

  • Corning’s Olive Festival and Car Show took place at the Community Park.
  • On Oct. 8, Erik Deno, 32, of Corning was arrested on Marty Court in Corning by Corning police for allegedly killing his mother, Angelika Deno, 55, in their home and then dumping her body in the residence’s outdoor trash bin. Charged with murder, Tehama County Superior Court ordered Deno undergo a doctor’s evaluation to determine if he is competent to stand trial previous to the defendant entering a plea.
  • The Sun Fire burned more than 4,000 acres of vegetation east of Red Bluff, but with the help if firefighters did not burn any residences.
  • Corning centenarian, Vic Dickison, celebrated his 103 birthday and said he is still enjoying life as the oldest veteran in the town.
  • Members of the community of Los Molinos took to the streets in protest of the new Elijah House, a substance abuse facility which houses registered sex offenders, located in the small town on Highway 99E.

November, 2018

  • Tehama County Farm Bureau hosted a tour of local ag businesses, farms including Sale Orchards in Red Bluff, Sunsweet prune plant in Corning, Moonbeam Farm in Corning, and Country Pumpkins in Capay. During its Farm-City Night, the Farm Bureau awards community members and businesses.
  • Corning resident, Rodrigo Mendez Govea, 63, is sentenced to 70-years to life in prison for the sexual assault of at least three children.
  • Specialized Fibers under investigation by local and state authorities concerning illegally possessing and storing hazardous materials and refusing to clean up the mess left over from a fire that engulfed the South Street business in July.
  • Members of the Corning community provided food, clothing and shelter to hundreds of victims of the deadly Camp Fire which killed more than 80 people, consumed thousands of homes and nearly destroyed the town of Paradise.
  • Corning extended its cannabis urgency ordinance to Nov. 13, 2019, banning the commercial cultivation, processing, laboratory testing, labeling, storing, wholesale distribution and retail sale and outdoor cultivation of marijuana for personal use.
  • World War II veteran Bob Lester, 86, of Corning was honored as grand marshal of the town’s Veterans Day Parade.
  • Bud Craig of Corning celebrated his 100th birthday.
  • Several of the surviving victims of the Nov. 14, 2017, mass shooting in Rancho Tehama filed federal lawsuits in the U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California, for $25 million in damages each against Tehama County and the Rancho Tehama Association.
  • Candidates Karen Burnett and Dave Demo were elected to the Corning City Council during November’s General Election.
  • City Council approved an urgency ordinance allowing temporary dwelling permits be issued to victims of the Paradise Camp Fire who are living in trailers and recreational vehicles in the city.
  • Erik Deno, the 32-year-old Corning man charged with the murder of his mother, Angelika Deno, in October, was found incompetent to stand trial and ordered by the court into a mental health facility for treatment.

December, 2018

  • Longtime Corning business, Phil’s Automotive and Towing burned to the ground. The cause is being investigated as suspicious in nature.
  • Jacob Henry Thomas Cady, 25, of Los Molinos was arrested for reportedly hitting pedestrian William Monfort, 79, of Los Molinos with his pickup on Tehama and Vina Road in Los Molinos, then leaving the scene of the incident. Montfort died as a result of his injuries.
  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony reopened Rodgers Theatre in Corning after the movie theater was closed in 2005 for complete renovations. The city-owned theater reopened as a community center but still hosts a big screen and new projector for showing movies. The decade-long renovation project was organized and overseen by the Corning Community Foundation.
  • Corning volunteer firefighters gathered, organized and delivered new toys and the makings of a holiday feast to dozens of less fortunate families in the community for Christmas.
  • Rachel Elise Henderson, 25, of Red Bluff was sentenced to 15 year to life in prison for the death of her 2-year-old stepson. Henderson was convicted of shoving the child and causing him to fall down a flight of stairs causing injuries resulting in his death.

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