Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series looking back at the stories reported in 2019 in the Glenn County area by Transcript reporters. (Dates are when the news stories were published.)
- It was announced that Hamilton City will see a return of rail service for the first time in about 12 years. The California Northern Railroad began operating the new line that will deliver products to Nutrien Ag Solutions, a supplier of crop nutrition and protection products to the local agricultural community.
- Natalie Corona, 22, an Arbuckle native and rookie Davis police officer, was shot and killed on Jan. 10 while responding to a vehicle collision. Christina McCoy-Brock, president and founder of the Little Things Closet, and Martha Larabee worked to put up blue ribbons, flowers and a sign on an overpass in Willows to honor and show respect for Corona and her family.
- Orland kept 2018 water consumption 27 percent below the benchmark year of 2013, saving more than 222 million gallons of water.
- Humberto Falcon, 47, of Glenn County was killed after being struck by an unknown driver while he was trying to render aid to people involved in another collision. Falcon was standing next to another person’s car when he observed that eastbound traffic on Highway 32 was not slowing down and he tried to wave down traffic. However, an eastbound vehicle struck him and the driver fled. Falcon died from his injuries. The suspected vehicle was believed to be a harvest gold Ford F250 Super Duty truck with an extended cab and long bed.
- Keith Harris was sentenced to 12 years in prison in Glenn County Superior Court – he was accused of assaulting officers in 2017 and he was also shot by officers.
- Ramon Barrera Jr. of Arbuckle was arrested for alleged vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for the collision that killed Pleasant Valley High School coach Brett Silva of Orland. He was later sentenced to six years in prison.
- Glenn County first responders participated in an active shooter training exercise at Willows High School. Agencies, including the Glenn County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services, Orland Police Department and the Willows Fire Department helped instruct the exercise. Artois, Hamilton City and Kanawha volunteer fire departments and California Highway Patrol and California State Parks were some of the other participating agencies. Volunteers acted as victims or those involved in the incident to simulate possible chaos that an active shooter incident could bring. Several different scenarios were staged.
- Heavy rains fell in Glenn County causing flooding and damage on a number of roads. Glenn County was included in an emergency declaration by Gov. Gavin Newsom – which directs state officials to immediately request assistance to help communities recovering from flooding, mudslides and damage to infrastructure.
- Workers worked to reinforce the J Levee on the Sacramento River near Hamilton City to help support it against high water levels that were expected from a coming storm. The levee was reinforced with materials such as sandbags, visqueen and others. About two 1,000-foot stretches of the levee were reinforced.
- Santiago Gonzalez was handed three life sentences for allegedly throwing a Molotov cocktail bomb at the Cedar Hill Apartment Complex in Willows in 2017. The apartment had three people inside and the building caught fire – no one was injured.
- Ground broke on the North Valley Commercial Center project in Willows of of Interstate 5 and Highway 99W. The first phase broke ground which includes work on the south Willows roadway and Utilities Infrastructure Improvement Project, which includes repaving, road widening and utilities – like sewer, gasline, electrical, etc. The portion was expected to cost $4.8 million.
- Several Glenn County agencies met to discuss Stony Creek as the water level was rising during storm systems and increased flows caused erosion on the creekbed. The creek had been encroaching on homes in a subdivision in Orland near the creek.
- The Glenn Groundwater Authority hosted a workshop to talk about the impacts of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act – which is meant to regulate groundwater at a local level.
- After more than 100 years of being a solely volunteer agency, the Orland Volunteer Fire Department announced that it was going to hire its first paid fire chief and make it a full-time job on its own. In the past, volunteers had elected the fire chief among themselves each year. Justin Chaney, who had been the volunteer chief, was later selected for the position.
- A bank robbery took place at the Redding Bank of Commerce in Orland. He was later identified as Kenneth Stephen Meza, 52, and arrested. He was later sentenced to 10 years in prison for first-degree robbery.
- Olivarez Honeybees hosted their annual Hobby Day event. The event aims to educate and support beekeepers as well as up and coming beekeepers.
- Glenn County was ranked in a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Each year, the foundation releases its County Health Rankings Report. The deputy director of Public Health in Glenn County said it helps them compare indicators with neighboring counties and look at the county’s rankings in relation to the state as a whole. It also helps show them what areas to focus on.
- Dixon Seed, located in Ord Bend, hosted Ag Day classes at a few area elementary schools in an effort to teach local students about agriculture.
- Future homeowners through the Community Housing Improvement Project began working at the Benson Estates subdivision in Orland. The subdivision is being built through CHIP’s mutual self-help program where families work to build their future homes. Families who qualify don’t have to come up with a downpayment and the hours they put in to help build the community’s houses act as the down payment.
- Fairview Elementary School’s Little Free Library opened. The Friends of the Orland Free Library purchased the little library and are acting as stewards for it.
- Orland was declared the fastest growing city on the Northern Interstate 5 corridor. The city’s population in 2018 was 7,932 and in a population report published on May 1, the population was measured at about 8,337. The city manager said part of that was because of Camp Fire survivors that had been displaced.
- J.C. Tolle who had been the Orland police chief since 2012 announced his retirement. Later, Joe Vlach was appointed as the new police chief.
- The 86th annual Willows Lamb Derby brought the community together. After several years of not having a carnival, the carnival committee worked to raise the needed funds to bring it back.
- Even though rain hit the annual Glenn County Fair, people still gathered to ride carnival rides, browse vendors and enjoy other activities.
- President Donald Trump issued a disaster declaration in California which included several counties – including Glenn – due to the fact several areas suffered water damage due to winter storms.
- Flags line streets in both Orland and Willows in honor of Memorial Day. The Orland Flag Society volunteers lined Walker Street in Orland and Semper Fitness in Willows has people who line Wood Street with American flags.
- Glenn County Health and Human Services Agency Public Health Department was investigating one confirmed case of the measles in an adult. This case was reportedly linked to an outbreak in Butte County.
- Local high school students celebrated graduating and marking a new milestone in their lives.
- Kimberly Crook was sworn in as an Orland police officer. The event was extra special because she was sworn in by her mother and city clerk, Angie Crook, on the steps of the police department.
- A Glenn County gravel mining operation was facing a fine of $675,000 for alleged water quality violations.
- The Orland Holy Ghost Club’s annual Portuguese Festa celebrated tradition – featuring dancing, a meal and more. The festa is based on Queen Isabella and her concern with peasants and feeding the poor back in the 1300s, according to the legend. As part of the tradition, each year a big queen and little queen are crowned to reign over the festa.
- Orland was a buzz during the inaugural Queen Bee Festival. During the event, the Honeybee Discovery Center opened its first exhibit. The center is located where the old Farm Bureau building used to be. It was decided to open the first exhibit during the event – which also took place during National Pollinator Week.