Year In Review: Election

Randy Deas, left, Shawnie Bushnell and Bill Winston, all of Yuba City, were the first people in line at the Sutter County Elections Office in Yuba City on Nov. 3.

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a six-part series looking back at the stories reported in 2020 by Appeal reporters. (Dates are when the news stories were published.)


Nov. 4: Yuba-Sutter elections offices reported a smooth election day. In Sutter County, newcomer Karm Bains took an early lead in the District 4 race, and in District 5 incumbent Mat Conant was in the lead.

The jury in the trial of Armando Cuadras began deliberating. Cuadras was charged with the 2013 murder of 94-year-old Yuba City resident Leola Shreves. Cuadras was arrested after his DNA matched blood that was found inside Shreves’ home.

Nov. 5: Armando Cuadras, the Yuba City man charged with the 2013 murder of Leola Shreves, 94, of Yuba City was found guilty of murder, torture, aggravated mayhem, and first-degree burglary. Cuadras was arrested in April 2019 after his DNA matched blood found in Shreves’ home.

Former PTA president for Browns Valley School Tawny Jean Belza pleaded no contest to misdemeanor embezzlement and paid $19,430 in court. She was originally charged after approximately $19,000 came up missing from the PTA while Belza was president and had access to all the money.

Nov. 6: Cindy Verrill, the organizer of the Yuba-Sutter Veterans Day Parade, announced the parade had been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nov. 10: Shannon Johnson was sentenced to two years probation and 90 days in Sutter County Jail after pleading no contest to being an accessory to the murder of a Yuba City man in 2019. She withheld information and lied about an investigation into the murder of Paramjit Singh Randhawa. Her fiancé Jesus Perez, 40, of Gridley, was serving 80 years to life for the murder.

Nov. 11: A marble plaque was to be placed in a sidewalk at the Museum of the Forgotten Warriors in honor of Lt. Col. Daniel Nichols, a 1959 Wheatland High School graduate who was highly decorated for his service in Vietnam as a helicopter pilot.

Nov. 14: Yuba Water Agency filed lawsuits against the State Water Resources Control Board to vacate the board’s requirements to obtain a water quality certification. The lawsuit was filed because the requirements threatened to make applying for a new license to continue hydroelectric operations along the Yuba River too expensive.

The Department of Water Resources published a needs assessment for the Oroville Dam that identified dam safety and operational needs following the reconstruction of the spillways that were damaged in February 2017. The report said the dam was safe to operate and no urgent repairs were needed. It did identify several risk-reduction projects.

Nov. 17: Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu sent a memo to local school leaders ordering Yuba and Sutter county schools to pause where they were in the process of reopening. The decision was made because of the dramatic spike in local COVID-19 cases.

Sutter County Judge Sarah Heckman issued a statement of decision in the lawsuit filed by assemblymen James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin) against Gov. Gavin Newsom for overstepping his authority in issuing an executive order related to the general election. Heckman ruled that the governor’s order was not authorized by the California Emergency Services Act.

Nov. 18: The Yuba-Sutter area returned to the state’s most restrictive tier as COVID-19 cases continued to spike. Restaurants, bars, personal care services, churches, movie theaters, and gyms were required to cease indoor operations.

Colusa County awarded $796,769 in grant funding to local businesses during two rounds of the Coronavirus Relief Small Business Assistance Grant Program offered by the county.

Nov. 19: Salvador Garcia-Vaca pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in connection to the 2018 death of Karen Garcia of Williams. He also admitted to the kidnapping and robbery of Garcia following an altercation. 

Nov. 21: Law enforcement agencies said they would not enforce the statewide stay-at-home order that took effect for counties like Yuba and Sutter that were in the most restrictive purple tier.

The Colusa County Fair Board of Directors voted to indefinitely postpone the 2021 Colusa Farm Show due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nov. 24: Sutter County was in the process of purchasing the former Kmart building in Yuba City with plans to convert it to the future home of the Health and Human Services Department.

The Sutter County crop report showed the agricultural production values increased in 2019. The gross value of production in 2019 was $698,680,000, an increase of $89,622,000 or 14.7 percent above the 2018 total value.

Nov. 27: The Marysville Planning and Historic Preservation Commission approved the construction of a drive-thru only Starbucks on 10th Street.

Nov. 28: Yuba-Sutter residents got up early on Black Friday and waited in lines to go shopping despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Anthony Teglia, 27, of Sparks, was arrested for his alleged involvement in a fatal stabbing that killed one person and injured another during a fight among acquaintances.

Dec. 2: The decision of Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman to overturn Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order regarding the November election was put on hold while the defense attempted to reverse the decision in the California Third District Court of Appeal.

Dec. 4: Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new region-based stay-at-home order that would be triggered if a particular region’s intensive care unit capacity dropped below 15 percent. The Yuba-Sutter area fell within the Greater Sacramento region.

One person died from injuries suffered during a house fire in the 1000 block of Franklin Avenue, Yuba City.

Marc Boomgaarden was appointed the new mayor of Yuba City.

Dec. 5: Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu issued a local public health advisory that called for, among other things, Yuba-Sutter schools to shut down in-person teaching and told restaurants to cut out both indoor and outdoor dining. The decision came because Yuba-Sutter had some of the worst COVID-19 statistics in the state, including 0 percent remaining ICU capacity.

Dec. 8: A local public health advisory issued by Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu went into effect. Most local school districts said they would abide by the advisory and stop in-person instruction.

Lori Storey, of Marysville, whose father died of COVID-19, reflected on the pain of losing a loved one to the virus and her plan to donate blood to help others in the intensive care unit.

Dec. 9: Local residents reflected on the life of Retired U.S. Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager after his death. Yeager frequented Yuba-Sutter and was the first man to break the sound barrier.

Dec. 10: A caravan of Yuba-Sutter residents drove to a rally in San Francisco to show support for farmers in India who were protesting several agricultural reform laws that they said threatened their livelihoods. A couple hundred people gathered at the Bogue Road Gurdwara before heading to the Bay Area.

Dec. 12: Bi-County Health Officer Dr. Phuong Luu said the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine would be available in Yuba-Sutter in a week. She said the vaccine would be allocated on a weekly basis.

Dec. 15: Local deaths related to COVID-19 continued to rise with five more deaths reported over the weekend. Fifty people had died from the virus. One Yuba County resident died and four Sutter County residents died over the weekend. All five had been hospitalized prior to their deaths -- some for several weeks.

A $1.3 million project to modernize the Linda Fire Department neared completion. The station was built in 1960 and was in need of several renovations.

Dec. 16: Marysville residents voted in the November election to amend the city’s cannabis tax by adding cannabis-related businesses that can be taxed. Measure N passed with 2,592 in favor and 1,577 against. The original business tax was passed in 2016 (Measure F).

Dec. 17: Yuba College students talked about the pros and the cons of going through the fall semester via distance learning.

Dec. 18: Adventist Health/Rideout received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine. The shipment included 975 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

First responders from both counties circled Adventist Health/Rideout to show support to frontline workers.

Dec. 19: The first COVID-19 vaccine was administered at Adventist Health/Rideout. Dr. Jagraj Nijjar, the infectious disease specialist at the hospital was the first to receive a vaccine. The shot was administered by R.N. Jennifer Crawford.

The United States Air Force used artificial intelligence as a working crew member for the first time during a training flight at Beale Air Force Base. The AI algorithm was developed at Beale by Air Combat Command’s U-2 Federal Laboratory.

Dec. 22: Dozens of people gathered at Sutter Cemetery for the annual Wreaths Across America ceremony, joining thousands of others across the nation in remembering those who served. More than 4,000 wreaths were sponsored. Wreaths were placed on the graves of veterans at several local cemeteries.

The South Yuba County Action Network delivered gifts and meals to 324 families as part of its Christmas Giveaway.

A group of ultra-athletes completed a five day journey to Johnson’s Ranch near Wheatland from Donner Lake, replicating the route that 17 members of the Donner Party took in 1846.

Dec. 24: Colusa County received its first 50 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine and 200 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

Dec. 29: A magnitude 3.9 earthquake was reported near Willows at a shallow depth of 15 miles. Residents from Orland, Chico, Gridley, Colusa, Yuba City, Loma Rica and Grass Valley reported that they felt shaking.

Dec. 30: Adventist Health/Rideout had made a number of operational changes in recent weeks to handle the latest surge in COVID-19 cases. One change was postponing elective and non-urgent surgeries.

Dec. 31: Uppercut Barber Shop had its establishment licenses suspended for its Marysville and Wheatland locations. The personal barber licenses of its owners were also suspended in a ruling by an administrative law judge. The California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology moved to have the licenses suspended because Uppercut continued operating during the pandemic.

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