Editor’s Note: This is the second 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.)
- The Princeton Holy Ghost and St. Anthony Portuguese Festa brought the community together. Sophia Stocks was named the big queen and Chelsea Permann was crowned the little queen. The event featured music and lunch.
- Patriotic displays drove through the streets of Orland and Willows to celebrate Independence Day during their annual parades.
- Orland High School art classes worked a long time to create a mosaic of the iconic Orland arch. It was placed on the facade of a building on Fourth Street – where the Kountry Kitchen Cafe used to be.
- The Orland Historical and Cultural Society hosted its 25th annual History Camp. During the camp, local children learn about the history of Orland along with learning about old-time chores – like making ice cream, corn shucking, washing clothes using a washboard and more. The event ended with a tour of Heritage Trail buildings at the Glenn County Fairgrounds, a ride on the Orland-Newville and Pacific Railroad and a picnic.
- Glenn County released its first-ever Crop Report “plus” for 2017. The report differs from a traditional crop and livestock report by illustrating a total agricultural economic contribution for the local economy.
- After 26 years of operating, Yancy Farms had its last season. The owner said the family was just ready to move on.
- The Willows Unified School District began offering free lunch and breakfast for all students for the 2019-20 school year at Murdock Elementary School, Willows Intermediate School, Willows Community High School and Willows High School. The program is offered through the USDA’s Community Eligibility Provision under the National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program.
- After more than a year and a half, Salvador Garcia Jr., who is suspected of killing Colusa resident Karen Garcia, was arrested in Mexico. He was turned over to Colusa County authorities.
- The Glenn County Office of Education hosted their annual Stuff the Bus campaign. Shoppers at Walmart were handed lists of what was needed by local students get ready for the upcoming school year – such as paper, pens, notebooks and more. They were nearly able to fill the bus with school supplies and collected about $1,000 in cash donations – which are used to buy needed school supplies that they may not have enough of for backpack distribution.
- The Orland Volunteers in Police Service hosted their annual National Night Out event – which is a nationwide campaign that aims to promote crime prevention programs, police-community partnerships and strengthen community spirit.
- Three former officials of the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians Tribe pleaded guilty to engaging in a conspiracy to embezzle millions of dollars from the tribe and related tax fraud. By doing so, they admitted guilt to a January 2017 federal criminal indictment that alleged a decade-long scheme. The officials were Ines Crosby, former tribal administrator; John Crosby, former tribal economic development director; and Leslie Lohse, former tribal treasurer.
- Shawntre Tillis was sentenced to 15 years in state prison for two counts of vehicular manslaughter, among other charges, for a collision that killed Isidro Garcia, 26, of Oregon and his 2-year-old son, Fabian Garcia, and injured several others. Tillis pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular manslaughter, four counts of driving under the influence with injuries sustained and six special allegations of injury or death to multiple victims.
- The 33rd annual Willows Car and Bike Show rolled to Willows and featured a wide variety of cars, trucks and motorcycles not only from Glenn County, but from the region and as far away as Arizona. The event raises money for a scholarship fund for Glenn County students.
- A local nonprofit has been working on bringing new life to the Tower Theater in Willows. The theater was originally built in the 1940s and it closed in the 1980s and has been virtually unused since then. The Willows Revitalization Group hopes to put in a culinary arts school/restaurant, have a community center area for use by Glenn County nonprofits as well as have a theater where live performances can take place.
- Construction on CalPlant 1, a facility 20 years in the making, was nearing completion. CalPlant 1 is the world’s first commercial-scale producer of no-added formaldehyde, rice straw-based medium density fiberboard – which is commonly used to make things like furniture and kitchen cabinets. The goal was to turn machines on in November and be commercially available in the first quarter of 2020.
- Dominic Brock, a Willows native, was awarded a $10,000 scholarship from the California Water Service Group’s sixth annual scholarship program. Brock aims to be president of the United States someday and is currently studying political science at California State University, Sacramento.
- Julia Storz, a fifth-generation Willows resident, released the first episode of her documentary series about Willows, “Saving Willows.”
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary 1770 hosted a ceremony and candlelight vigil to remember 9/11 for the 18th anniversary of the terrorist attack that killed and injured thousands.
- Local libraries announced that they were eliminating overdue fines for items checked out from the Willows, Orland, Elk Creek and Bayliss libraries in an effort to bring people back to the libraries.
- The Willows and Orland marching bands competed in the Battle of the Mace – with Willows taking home the ornate mace used as a trophy this year.
- Spooner & Sons family rice business celebrated its 100th rice harvest. Dennis Spooner’s family came to the Willows area in the 1850s – back when it was known as Glenn and was part of Colusa County. Spooner, his son Ty and Marshall Masters were in the process of harvesting.
- The Orland Police Department were sporting pink patches in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month and selling them for $10 to raise money through the Pink Patch Project for St. Jude Children’s Research Center and City of Hope. The patches are on sale throughout the year – not just in October.
- A new mosaic shaped as the Orland High School’s mascot, a Trojan head, was unveiled. The mosaic was made by about 30 of Molly Wallace’s art students.
- Ramon Barrera Jr. of Arbuckle was sentenced to six years in prison, the maximum, for vehicular manslaughter for the crash that killed Pleasant Valley High School teacher and coach and Orland resident Brett Silva. During the sentencing, Silva’s family spoke to Barrera and the many people that filled the courtroom.
- Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Assemblyman James Gallagher’s housing bill that aims to help areas affected by the Camp Fire. Assembly Bill 430 is meant to help eliminate some of the barriers to building homes and speed up the process of development over the next several years by offering California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) exemptions. The bill will benefit the cities of Biggs, Corning, Gridley, Live Oak, Orland, Oroville, Willows and Yuba City – all of which have been landing spots for survivors of the Camp Fire (Chico asked to be removed from the bill).
- Kids and adults alike were in the Halloween spirit and were dressed up ready for the annual Halloween parade and the activities at the Glenn County Fairgrounds – including the Orland Kiwanis Club event and Spook Train.
- The Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary 1770 hosted their annual Veterans Day celebration and ceremony.
- The Willows Fire Department announced that they were switching from being a self-dispatched agency to being dispatched by the Cal Fire Tehama-Glenn Unit. The goal is that it would lead to faster response times and it would allow responders to always be in contact with a dispatcher no matter the time of day or night.
- The Glenn County UC Cooperative Extension received a Monarch Butterfly Breeding and Habitat Plant Kit and distributed some of the ones they received to Murdock Elementary School and Orland High School. The Monarch Waystation and Breeding Habitat Project involves planting milkweed plants – which are what monarch caterpillars feed on – along with nectar plants to feed parent butterflies as they’re migrating.
- The 44th annual Orland Craft Fair drew a crowd. The event helps raise money for a number of nonprofit organizations in the area and is sponsored by the Orland Historical and Cultural Society.
- It had recently been announced that Colusa County’s advanced life support ambulance services would be reduced to a single 24-hour ambulance. This change has the potential to impact Glenn County as they will have to provide mutual aid to help compensate for the reduction in services. The Willows Fire Department, in an effort to help address the problem, announced their hope to provide fire-based, nontransport advanced life support services. The exact plans and costs were still being evaluated but a committee was working on the possibility of a tax measure to put on the 2020 ballot.
- The Willows Light Parade drove through Willows and Santa Claus made a special stop to the town to listen to holiday wishes and light the tree.
- The annual Wreaths Across America event took place at both Orland and Willows cemeteries. Altogether, they collected more than 2,000 wreaths to place on veterans’ graves to honor, remember and teach. The ceremonies took place in line with other cemeteries across the country.
- The Walgreens in Orland was robbed and took an undisclosed amount of medication. Less than two hours after the robbery, another was reported at a Walgreens in Redding. The Redding Police Department was continuing their investigation but believed the two were connected at the time of publication. Three people were arrested: Vincent Qualls, 40, a transient, along with two juveniles.
- Several Glenn County students went for a shopping spree at the Willows Walmart with local heroes – such as police officers, firefighters and veterans – as part of the Shop with a Hero program. The students were required to write or draw pictures about their hero and the selected winners were provided a shopping spree.
- After a one-year hiatus, the Avenue of Lights lit up the Glenn County Fairgrounds once more. The outside portion of the event had been canceled the year prior because of the Camp Fire – however, the North Pole Lodge still opened. The event featured a one-mile route of different light displays, refreshments, a Lionel train display and Santa and Mrs. Claus stopped in for a visit.