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Looking Back on 2016

The staff here at the Pioneer Review takes a look back at the headlines we printed in the past year.

Colusa County Office of Education Partners with CalFire

In an effort to expand its services to the community, the Colusa County Office of Education partnered with CalFire to provide a basic Wildland Fire Academy.  The academy was open to both high school students and adults.

Mike West, CCOE Superintendent commented the program was an excellent opportunity for the county’s youth and adults to obtain education and preparedness for future career employment.

About 20 students graduated from the first Wildland Fire Academy class in May.

The students participated in a rigorous 180-hour course; including, fire attack strategies, wildland fire control, interior structure operation, fire engine operations, fire engine operations, fire line construction, hazardous materials, firefighter safety, and job search techniques.

Students will receive their fire service certifications, a CCOE/CTE Certificate of achievement and eligibility to apply for Cal-Fire Basic Firefighter employment.

4-H Hosts Color Me Green

The threat of rain and the chill of a storm breeze didn’t dampen the spirit of 61 runners who registered for the 4-H event that helps raise awareness for healthy living and well-being. The Colusa County 4-H held its ‘Color Me Green 5K Run’ in March.

“Maxwell 4-H Member, Sergio Manzano, had seen the event held in another area and wanted to start one here,” said Emily Schoenfelder, 4-H Youth Development Advisor, “so he connected with Colusa County Strength & Conditioning and enlisted their help.”

Erica Eisenhut, co-owner of Colusa County Strength & Conditioning (CCSC) was excited about the opportunity.

“Sergio is a part of our Kids Club here at CCSC and is a big runner,” said Eisenhut, “he is also a big advocate against childhood obesity.”

The Colusa event was patterned after the popular color runs that occur all over the United States. Participants walked or ran the course set down Main Street and along the Sacramento River Levee in Downtown Colusa. At each mile marker, volunteers showered members with green powdered chalk.

Arbuckle FFA hosts the largest field day in state

The Arbuckle FFA Field Day hosted over 1,400 students from 90 area schools. The field day provides career technical experience in the areas of small engines, sales and farm management, agronomy, dairy, as well as forestry, crops and more.

“We are larger than most college field days,” said Arbuckle FFA Advisor, Cindy Rohde. “We are even bigger than the Merced FFA Field Day.”

With Pierce High School having just over 300 students in attendance, Field Day attendees outnumber the school’s capacity substantially.

“We’ve outgrown the high school grounds and expanded to use the junior high school and other facilities outside of the high school,” said Rohde.

Former Colusa Teacher narrates Lassen Peak’s eruption and legacy

Alan Willendrup provided an insight into the people affected by the eruption of Mt. Lassen in 1915.  Willendrup signed books and gave a presentation at both the Sacramento Valley Museum and later at the Colusa Branch Library.

Garden Club brightens public spaces

As part of their community service projects, the Garden Club of Colusa County were spotted at the Arbuckle Post Office replanting aloe plants in the flowerbed. The group also planted flowers in the flagpole flower garden.

Arbuckle Girl signs with Lady Argo Volleyball

Mariah Diaz, a JUCO All-American, signed with Lady Argo Volleyball.

Diaz was named a Two-Year College Second Team All-American by the American Volleyball Coaches Association after helping lead the Feather River College Golden Eagles to the 6th consecutive undefeated conference championship.

Arbuckle Chicken & Ham Dinner a Favorite

The annual Chicken and Ham Dinner hosted by the Arbuckle Methodist Church packed the Arbuckle Fire Hall with its fellowship and good eats.

The dinner serves over 250 meals each year with church parish and community members bringing various side dishes and desserts.

In addition to dinner, an opportunity raffle is available.

Williams pharmacy burglarized

In February, Fouch & Son Pharmacy was robbed.

At about 4 AM, suspects forced entry into the business. Where police determined multiple bottles of medication containing codeine and promethazine were taken from the business.

The suspects remain at large.

Gallagher and Nielsen Community Coffee

Gallagher and Senator Jim Nielsen hosted a joint Community Coffee event at Market Street Grill in February.  It was a packed room at the Colusa eatery, as community members came to listen to the elected officials and discuss their concerns. Both members spoke about the progress of their office and opened the floor for discussion.

Maxwell girl inducted into the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

Lauren LaGrande was initiated into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

LaGrande is pursuing a degree in Agricultural Science at Oregon State University.

LaGrande is among approximately 30,000 students, faculty, professional staff and alumni to be initiated into Phi Kappa Phi each year. Membership is by invitation and requires nomination and approval by a chapter. Only the top 10 percent of seniors and 7.5 percent of juniors, having at least 72 semester hours, are eligible for membership.

Colusa County represented at society range management forum

Mary Marsh, a senior at Pierce High School in Arbuckle, represented the California-Pacific Section of the Society for Range Management (SRM) at its High School Youth Forum jointly held during the 69th SRM annual meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas January 31 – February 4, 2016.

High school youth delegates to the Forum are chosen by each of the 21 individual sections of the SRM throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico based on their high interest in the range and natural resources field as well as on their  exemplary dedication and effort to learn more about this particular area.

The Wall that Heals visits Willows

Although not hosted in Colusa County, the traveling Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was hosted at Memorial Park in Willows. Colusa County Veterans teamed up with the effort to host and represent Colusa County.

The wall was given a patriotic grand entrance through Colusa County as it was accompanied by the rumble and roar of a 100+ motorcycle escort traveled through the communities of Arbuckle, Williams, Maxwell and Delavan with flag-waving community members and school children lined along the Historic Route HWY 99.

Colusa received $2.9 million grant for boat launch

The California Department of Parks and Recreation Boating and Waterways Commission recently approved a $2.9 million dollar grant to fund Phase one of the City of Colusa Boat Launch Ramp.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our community to boost our economy by bringing back the recreational boating and fishing opportunities to Downtown Colusa,” said Interim City Manager, Randy Dunn.

Once the Phase One is completed, the City of Colusa will seek additional funding to complete Phase Two of the project which would include a reconfigured parking lot, accessible pathways, restroom facilities, fish cleaning station, information kiosk, entrance station, and signage. Phase Two of the project is estimated to cost $1.2 million, and additional grants will be sought.

County Veterans Services Recognized

Assemblymember James Gallagher recognized the Colusa County Veterans Service Officers relative to the California Association of Veteran Service Officers for helping veterans secure their federal and state benefits over the past 70 years.

Colusa County Service Officers, Don Parsons and Colusa County Department of Health and Human Services Director, Elizabeth Kelly accepted the Assembly resolution from Assemblymember Gallagher.

“Our county veterans officers are committed to serving our veterans and their families who have given so much to their country,” said Assemblymember Gallagher, “While we can’t thank them enough for their sacrifice, we continue to honor their service by helping them access the resources they deserve.”

County recognizes literacy students and tutors

Each year, the Colusa County Free Library’s Literacy Program and Colusa County Literacy Council hold a dinner to recognize and appreciate the tutors and students that participate in the program.

In March, the Literacy Program recognized its seven tutors and eleven students who are actively involved in the program.

“Since the program’s inception in 1986, over 1,000 adult learners have been served by the program, and this year marks the 30th anniversary of the program,” said Colusa County Library Literacy Coordinator, Alissa Morrow.

Two Junior High Students to compete in State Spelling Championship

After placing high marks at the county spelling championship, two top junior high spellers competed in the State Junior High Spelling Championship on May 14.

Elena Kalfsbeek, an eighth-grade student at Johnson Junior High School, took first place in the Colusa County Junior High School Spelling Contest held in March, and Eduardo Hernandez, a seventh-grade student, also at Johnson Junior High School was runner-up. Both students now advance to the State competition.

Colusa County Superintendent of Schools, Michael West, was Emcee, and Colusa County Board of Education Trustee, Ed Conrado was the Spelling Master for the hour-long written contest.

The event, which comprised eight competitors and 22 words, finally ended after Elena correctly spelled “luminous.”

Museum hosts Historic Quilts and Antique Show

The Sacramento Valley Museum showcased 23 historic quilts during the Antique Show, and Sale held in Williams. Quilts included a family quilt from the Daniel Boone Family, made in the 1700’s and the Grimes Ladies Signature Quilt made in 1908.

The Antique Show and Sale boasted 20 different vendors who showcased their unique finds and yesteryear treasures.

Robert Schwartz, owner of Robert’s Relics in Windsor has been a vendor at the Williams Antique Show and Sale for the past 32 years. “I have only missed one show, and love coming back each year,” said Schwarz.

The sale had a steady flow of traffic said Charles Bergson, a member of the Spanish-English Committee of Williams, who’ve hosted the event the last two years.

“We brought the event back to Williams after a short period at the fairgrounds and donated the proceeds to the Sacramento Valley Museum,” said Bergson. In 2015, the event contributed $1,200 to the Museum.

Colusa Lions continue Easter tradition

“We’ve got this process down to science,” said Colusa Lions Club member, Larry Yeghoian as several batches of eggs were lowered into six large pots of boiling water, vinegar, and food coloring. About 2,700 eggs were dyed in various hues of blue, green, pink, yellow, red and orange, for the Colusa Lions Club annual Easter egg hunt.

After the cooking process, the eggs are then cooled and loaded back into their trays and into the refrigerator.

“We have several hundred children come out the day of the hunt,” said Lions Club Member, John Smart, “We separate the children into the two groups and then sound the start. It’s all over in about 15 minutes.”

The two groups include children aged pre-kindergarten to age five, and then children in the first grade to third grade.

Colusa County warrants business friendly

Supervisor Mark Marshall held an Economic Development Open House in April for Colusa County businesses. The subject introduced entrepreneurs to business assistance services and loan programs available in the community.

“This Open House was a great opportunity for the community to come together and discuss local economic development efforts and programs available to assist local entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Colusa County Supervisor Mark Marshall.

Services and programs are available through the County of Colusa, the City of Williams, the City of Colusa and the Colusa County Partnership.

Williams police officer honored

Williams Police Officer, Daniel Mata was honored for his heroic action in saving the lie of Williams resident, Deborah Reed.

Williams resident, Allen Sheley was recognized for assisting Mata.

Reed had experienced a life-threatening illness and both Sheley and Officer

Mata administered CPR.

Adventist Health opens County Health Clinics

Adventist Health reopened health clinics in Arbuckle, Colusa, and Williams after service was interrupted for just one day for staff training.

The California Department of Public Health, Adventist Health leadership and staff members of the local clinics worked closely to ensure primary care services continued, especially with the recent closure of Colusa Regional Medical Center.

“Adventist Health is grateful for the warm welcome we have received thus far,” said Jeff Eller, president and chief executive officer of Adventist Health’s Northern California Region. “The providers and staff are exemplary, and we couldn’t be more pleased we can provide the residents of these communities with access to the same great care they’ve come to know and expect.”

Youth Council and Friday Night Live receives OTS Grant

The Colusa County Youth Council and Friday Night Live Club received a $5,000 grant from the California Friday Night Live Partnership to implement both parent and student components regarding underage drinking reduction.

The Youth Council and Friday Night Live Club at Colusa High School sponsored a full week of activities on campus about the risks of underage drinking and drinking and driving with the funds.

Outdoor movies returned to the fairgrounds over the summer

Last fall the Colusa County Fairgrounds offered a series of outdoor movies shown on the weekends leading up to Halloween. At that time, vintage “creature feature” films were enjoyed by the moviegoers.

“We had a great time bringing this family event to our community,” said Colusa County Fair CEO Jonathan Howard. “We want to do it again that the weather is great and approaching the fair.”

The films played every Saturday and featured “Ma & Pa Kettle Go To The Fair,”  “State Fair, “It Happened At The World’s Fair,” and “Charlotte’s Web.”

Good eats at spring fiesta

About 760 lunches were served during the Arbuckle Revitalizations annual Spring Fiesta and Carnitas/Salsa Cook-off.  Thirteen teams competed against one another, aiming at the top prize of best carnitas or best salsa.

RESULTS: 1st Place: California Family Foods Milling Dept.; 2nd Place: Alsco-Geyer; 3rd Place: Bill Dolbow Farms; and the Arbuckle Service Center took first place for the Salsa competition. Grindstone Wines received first place for the best-decorated booth.

Clampers commemorate county history

One of the oldest and oddest groups, dating back to the Gold Rush-era continued its pursuit to plaque and commemorated all things historical throughout the State of California.

Lead by Noble Grand Humbug, Bob Proctor, the group gathered at the south end of the Colusa County Courthouse where a plaque was dedicated in April.

The plaque was set in quarry stone from Stonyford, provided by Colusa County Supervisor, District 4, Gary Evans.

Colusa County Historian, John Morton provided the history to the E Clampus Vitus group.

This marks the third plaque installed in the City of Colusa. Other plaques include the Colusa Tin House and Old China Town.

New stage for Williams Community Center

Thanks to the help of the Colusa County Supervisors and their Special Projects fund the Williams Community Center received its much-needed stage.

The group had been fundraising for a portable stage; however, Supervisor Mark Marshall heard of the group’s struggle and offered assistance.

Car Show held for veterans mental health awareness

The Colusa County Behavioral Health co-hosted its first car show to raise awareness for Military Veteran Mental Health Issues. About 33 cars were on display.

An evening in Casablanca

The Colusa County Arts Council held an evening in Casablanca where area restaurants provided appetizers for 65 guests. Following the cocktail hour, the 1942 film Casablanca was shown at the Colusa Theater.

Colusa High School installs new spirit monument

Marking an end to a seven-year beautification project, a handcrafted mosaic tile monument was unveiled in May.

The Project was the brainchild of Colusa resident Lisa Bailey.

“A group of parents and myself started with planting flowers and shrubs around the front of the school and the quad area,” said Bailey.

The group continued to make beautification improvements over the years and in 2014 the graduating senior class donated funds to complete a monument with the help of an area sculptor and artist Peter Adams.

Supervisors lend helping hand to Colusa’s Basic Life Support Unit

When Colusa County’s ambulance service was reduced in 2015, Colusa City Fire personnel began looking and its options to serve its community.

“The reduction in service left our community vulnerable,” said Colusa Fire Chief, Randy Dunn, “We had to do something about it.”

The department sought the opportunity and purchased a 2006 basic life support transport unit with the help of funding received from its 2015-16 Strike Team funding. The Basic Life Support Unit was purchased for $16,000.

When District 4, Supervisor, John Loudon heard of the departments’ efforts he allocated part of the supervisor’s special project fund for his district.

“The Basic Life Support unit isn’t only a valuable asset to the city but to the county as well,” said Loudon.

On behalf of the supervisors, Loudon provided the department with a $10,000 contribution to outfit the Basic Life Support Unit with necessary equipment.


Williams police seize marijuana in traffic stop

A total of 441 grams (.97 lb) during a traffic stop in May. The Driver was identified as 23-year-old Donald E. Martin III, of Neptune City, New Jersey, and the passenger was identified as 25-year-old Joseph Aaron Rosenthal, of Long Branch, New Jersey. In addition to the marijuana, Officers seized $8200.

Colusa County Fair

The 2015 Miss Colusa County Madison Rainsbarger and Mini Miss Colusa County Holley Hickel gave their farewell speeches and passed the crown. Named as the 2016 Miss Colusa County was Ellie Geyer and Mini Miss Colusa County as Karsyn Gwinnup.

Michael Immos, of Princeton, was crowned the title of 2016 Mr. Cinderfella. He will receive $1,500 for a program of his choice at his high school. Lance Gwinnup, of Maxwell, was crowned the title of 1st Runner-up for the 2016 Mr. Cinderfella. He will receive $500 for a program of his choice at his high school.

A tradition at the Colusa County Fair is the Junior Livestock Auction. Members of the Future Farmers of America and 4-H spent months raising, feeding, training, and grooming their animals for the annual event.

Lambs, Pigs, Cattle, Goats, Poultry, and Rabbits were shown during the County Fair and auctioned to the highest bidder. The junior livestock auction earned $1.3 million to the county’s youth.

Literacy Mobile App introduced to Colusa County

The Colusa County Office of Education announced the Footsteps to Literacy application its participation in Footsteps2Brilliance.

“Footsteps2Brilliance, a national initiative, is an early learning literacy equity access program bold, and innovative. This social justice approach will impact all families with 0-5-year-olds and Pre-K through 3rd-grade children at no cost to you, our families, or school districts,” said Colusa County Superintendent of Schools, Michael West.

The app can be downloaded in the Apple, Android, and Amazon Kindle app stores, as well as accessed through a PC at no cost.

Colusa County Librarian, Stacey Costello commented students could access the website at local libraries as well.

Arbuckle Elementary learns about tomato farming

First-grade students at Arbuckle Elementary were giving a hands-on education experience in the world of tomato farming.

Students visited California Sun Growers, LLC in College City where the morning began with a short movie on how tomatoes are harvested, processed, and the foods that are made from tomatoes. Following the video, the students walked through the tomato fields and learned how seedlings are planted. Students were also given the opportunity to explore the tractors and trailers used when tomatoes are harvested.

Meth seized during traffic stop

Over two pounds of methamphetamine were recovered from a vehicle during a traffic stop in Colusa. According to police, Robert Belmontes, 58, of Colusa was charged with the possession of the controlled substance for sale.

Pearson joins the Pioneer Review

Lloyd Green Jr., the owner, and publisher of the Williams Pioneer Review announced today that Brian Pearson had joined the publication as managing editor and reporter.

“I am excited for this opportunity here at the Pioneer Review, Brian’s dedication and determination to develop the local news of our country is impeccable and lucky to have him part of the newsroom,” said Green.

Green commented that the Pioneer Review is focused on the coverage of local news of Colusa County, and with the addition of Pearson, the newspaper can provide a wealth of information to its readers to help them better navigate their lives.

Bicycle rodeo hosted

Williams Bicycle Rodeo Elementary students were taught bicycle safety and rules of the road including hand signals, positioning on the roadway and the importance of wearing a helmet. After a bike safety check, Two hundred fifteen students participated in a “rodeo” of different events including figure eight, cone weave, the slowest ride (balance), the straightest ride (control), and maneuvering an intersection (signaling, stopping, looking both directions).

Thanks to community sponsors, the Williams Police Department could give away a new bicycle helmet and bicycle safety handouts to every second and third-grade student at Williams Elementary School.

“We also gave away sixteen brand new bicycles to students through a drawing,” said then Williams Police Chief, John Osborne.

English learners recognized

In June, the Colusa County Office of Education identified over 20 individuals who successfully complemented the counties English as a Second Language class. Additionally, five students were recognized for diligently becoming an American citizen.

Closed for 8 years, Maxwell pool reopens

Thanks to the work of Maxwell Parks and Recreations district and a number of community volunteers, the Maxwell Town Pool reopened in spectacular fashion. More than $25,000 was raised to renovate the pool, which had its grand re-opening on June 25 and drew more than 100 Maxwell residents looking to escape the summer heat.

Local merchant complaint leads to counterfeiting arrest

On June 17, officers from the Williams Police Department responded from a report from a local business that a male subject had attempted to pass a counterfeit bill. The merchant was able to provide a description of the man and the vehicle he left in to police, and officers located a vehicle that matched the description a short time later.

They made contact with the driver, Alisia Rose Vega, and the passenger, Chad Clayton Sherman, who were both on felony probation for theft- and fraud-related offenses in Sacramento. The pair were detained, the vehicle was searched, and officers discovered $5,400 in counterfeit bills, items allegedly purchased with counterfeit money, and items and evidence consistent with counterfeiting bills.

Officers also found receipts where purchases appeared to have been made with counterfeit bills from stores across the north valley, including some from Modesto and the Bay Area, in addition to drugs in the vehicle. The pair was arrested on a number of different charges related to the alleged counterfeiting.

Vega was initially charged with forgery, conspiracy to commit a crime, counterfeiting currency, possession of a smoking device, possession of a controlled substance, petty theft, and receiving stolen property. Vega pled no contest to the final charge, and all other charges against her were dismissed. She was sentenced to three years of formal probation on Oct. 5.

Sherman was initially charged with forgery, conspiracy to commit a crime, receiving stolen property, counterfeiting currency, possession of a smoking device, possession of a controlled substance, and petty theft. Sherman was convicted on a guilty plea for receiving stolen property and sentenced to two years in state prison on Aug. 31. All other charges were dismissed.

Fireworks return to fairgrounds for Fourth of July

After a long hiatus, during which the City of Colusa’s fireworks show took place on the Sacramento River, fireworks returned to the Colusa County Fairgrounds in 2016. Citing concerns over visibility, officials decided to move the show back to the fairgrounds.

The event was a big success, drawing hundreds to the grandstands and surrounding areas. It featured the Colusa County Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2441 and the Maxwell American Legion Post 218 as the honor guard, and included a performance of the National Anthem by Mini Miss Colusa County Karsyn Gwinnup.

Osbourn out as Williams Police Chief, Ulibarri in as interim

In our July 13 edition, we reported that then-City of Williams Police Chief John Osbourn had been on administrative leave for more than two weeks, and that an announcement regarding his future at the department would come soon. The announcement came in the form of a press release, which arrived just after our deadline on Tuesday.

According to the press release, issued by city administrator Frank Kennedy, Osbourn resigned his position due to personal reasons, and the city was actively seeking an interim chief.

A little less than a month later, the city announced that Randy Ulibarri had been tapped to lead the department as the interim chief.

Ulibarri, 64, said his first order of business was to “s et the table” for the incoming permanent chief, which would include filling the department’s depleted ranks, then operating at half strength.

Since then, Ulibarri has promoted one of his sergeants — Ed Anderson — to the position of lieutenant, and is grooming him to take over the reigns at some point in the future. Ulibarri has also hired one officer, and anticipates that more will soon follow, he told the city council on Dec. 14.

Measure A and the City of Colusa

On July 19, the Colusa City Council adopted a statement of support for a sales tax increase, known as Measure A. City officials and the council members were hoping the city’s voters would pass it during the November primary to offset a budgetary shortfall of nearly $235,000 in 2016-17 and beyond.

Williams, Marguerite Street, and the Love’s Country Store and Travel Stop

Four months after the City of Williams refused to approve the Marguerite Street Project due to non-ADA compliant sidewalks, the city finally gave the project a thumbs-up on July 20.

More than 6,200 feet of non-compliant sidewalk was torn up and completely redone before the city approved the project. At the time, City Administrator Frank Kennedy said that the project had still come in between $100,000 and $120,000 under budget.

While the project was approved, city officials indicated that the road would not officially open until there was some development in the area: Namely, the long-discussed Love’s Travel Stop. At that time, the truck stop was in the environmental review process.

On Oct. 31, the Final Environmental Impact Review was approved by the Williams City Planning Commission, and the project moved one step closer to fruition.

An official from Love’s indicated at that meeting that building plans would come before the planning commission in short order, and that construction would be completed in a period of eight to ten months, and that hiring for the new travel stop would likely begin four to five months before the project’s completion.

Villa arrested on suspicion of attempted murder

Samuel Villa, a 35-year-old Colusa man, was arrested on July 24 on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly fired a semi-automatic handgun during a fight in Colusa.

Officers from the Colusa Police Department responded to a house on the 200-block of Allen Circle, where the alleged fight had occurred. There, officers learned that Villa had gone to the house to confront an unnamed victim regarding an alleged affair. A physical fight took place in the driveway of the residence, where Villa allegedly pulled out a pistol and fired it during the scuffle. The fight stopped after the gun was fired, police said, and Villa left the scene. Officers located him early the following morning on the outskirts of town, and attempted to make a traffic stop. After a short pursuit, Villa was arrested without incident. He was booked into Colusa County Jail on charges of attempted murder, shooting at an inhabited dwelling or vehicle, and evading a police officer.

Villa was initially charged with attempted murder, assault with a semiautomatic firearm, and criminal threats —charges that included a number of special allegations. He pled no contest to the charge of making criminal threats with a special allegation for use of a firearm on Nov. 23, and all other charges against him were dismissed. A sentencing and status of rehabilitation hearing is set for Feb. 22.

Caltrans announces intent to keep Butte City Bridge open while they build replacement

Following a huge response from area residents regarding the potential nine- to 18-month closure of the Butte City Bridge, Caltrans announced at a meeting in Princeton on July 28 that they would keep the old bridge on Highway 162 open while they build a new one.

Under their new plan, Caltrans said that road closures to their four proposed alternatives would be very minor — limited to a couple of weekends.

Colusa County signs on to Sites Reservoir Project Agreement Committee

At their final meeting in July, the Colusa County Board of Supervisors signed the county up to participate in Phase 1 of the Sites Reservoir Project, committing to buy in for a potential 10,000 acre-feet of water.

Colusa boat ramp project delayed due to potential habitat for yellow-billed cuckoo bird

City officials were shooting to start construction on Colusa’s long-awaited boat ramp during last summer, but it wasn’t to be.

The US Fish and Wildlife Service identified the general area around the proposed boat launch facility as potential habitat for the Western Yellow-billed Cuckoo —a threatened species — delaying the project until the spring.

Relay for Life raises more than $15,000 in Colusa

More than 100 participants walked in Colusa on Aug. 6 to help raise money for the American Cancer Society, its programs, and research. The top-three fundraising individuals were Nola McCausland, Chelsea Bauman, and Dawn Brown, and the top three teams were West Coast Combine, Valley West Care Center, and Team Hope. The Colusa County Relay for Life Spirit Stick was awarded to Team Sweet Bean Bakery, and the Paint Your County Purple Award went to All Star Realty and Richie’s Florist.

West Nile in Colusa

Once again, West Nile was found in Colusa County. On Aug. 10, we reported that five of Colusa Mosquito Abatement District’s ten sentinel chickens had recently tested positive for the West Nile Virus.

At that time, a total of 84 chickens in 12 counties had tested positive for the virus in 2016. A total of 10 human cases of the virus had been reported.

Two weeks later, the Colusa County Department of Public Health confirmed its first case for 2016 —an adult who suffered the more sever neuro-invasive form of the illness that causes meningitis. The patient lived outside of the Colusa Mosquito Abatement District.

Called home: Colusa County loses a legend

When Mario Olivares performed in front of a packed house at Rocco’s Banquet Center, no one there realized that it would be the world-class Latin-Spanish instrumental guitarist’s last performance.

Olivares, a Grimes native and graduate of the Pierce Unified School District, passed away just three days after his Aug. 12 performance, the day that the world-renown artist returned to play in Colusa County.

The performance moved us, the news of his passing shook us, and we consider ourselves lucky to have had the opportunity to witness this artist in his element.

Multiple county agencies respond to Clayton Fire

Between Aug. 13 and Aug. 26, firefighters from four Colusa County departments went out on strike teams to fight the devastating Clayton Fire in Lake County, which was allegedly set by 40-year-old Clearlake resident Damin Anthony Pashilk.

For 13 days, firefighters from around the state battled the inferno, which burned nearly 4,000 acres, destroyed 300 structures and damaged 28 more.

Warrant arrest leads to discovery of counterfeiting ring

Five people were arrested on Sept. 8 at the Motel 6 in Williams on charges of felony counterfeiting and criminal conspiracy charges after a misdemeanor arrest warrant led to the discovery of a small counterfeiting ring.

William Charles Govan, 29, Allen Carruth, 39, both of Sacramento, Janice Bongolan Macasio, 37, of Antelope, Cassandra Marie Jeffords, 31, of Yuba City, and Fidel Chavez, 22, of Colusa, were arrested after officers discovered evidence of a counterfeiting in a room at the motel. At least 50 “washed” one dollar bills and 50 printed one-hundred dollar bills were seized under a search warrant, in addition to three laptop computers, two computer printers, a scanner, chemicals and supplies for washing the bills, and drug paraphernalia.

Christmas Tyme in Colusa

After the group that had organized Christmas Tyme in Colusa in the past few years indicated that they would no longer be doing so, the City of Colusa issued a call for help to save a longstanding holiday tradition. The announcement from Interim City Manager Randy Dunn came at the Sept. 20 meeting of the Colusa City Council.

Dunn said that the city needed an individual or an organization to take on the event for 2016.

Just two weeks later, the Colusa Lions Club and Colusa Rotary announced that they would be working together to take over the event.

Despite limited time to make preparations, Christmas Tyme in Colusa 2016 was a huge success, and went off without a hitch. Attendance was up at this year’s event on Dec. 2, and the event included more vendors than in years past.

Williams votes to give $16,666 to retail development agency for Starbucks project

On Sept. 21, the Williams City Council voted to give nearly $17,000 to Sutter Retail Development Corp — a private company that was working to develop the former AM/PM location at 455 E St., where it planned to bring in a Starbucks.

The requested funding was to cover one-third of the cost of removing a deed restriction on the property. According to documents in the agenda packet and statements written therein by the development company, the city had previously agreed to cover that expense — although not in a open-session meeting of the city council.

Nikki Moore, California Newspaper Publishers Association legal counsel, said at the time that it was something that should have been decided in open session to begin with, and that the initial agreement was made in violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act. By ultimately approving the payment in open session, however, the city ultimately corrected that violation on its own.

Head start teacher arrested on child endangerment, drug charges

On September 28, while serving a felony arrest warrant for Belen Marie Munoz, a 33-year-old Colusa resident, at the Head Start Center in Williams where she served as a teacher, Williams Police Officer Daniel Mata found Munoz to allegedly be in possession of 0.3 grams of methamphetamine, along with other drug paraphernalia.

Sgt. Steve Woldanski said in a press release that the methamphetamine and paraphernalia were found hidden in a backpack kept under an unlocked sink on the school grounds.

Because students had access to the sink area, Munoz was arrested for child endangerment, in addition to possessing drugs and paraphernalia, Woldanski said.

Munoz pled no contest to child endangerment on Nov. 8, and the charges for possession of a controlled substance and possession of a smoking device were dismissed. She was sentenced to 48 months of formal probation.

Poyner retires; Supes appoint Beauchamp to take his place

John Poyner, the longest-tenured district attorney in California announced his retirement in October after serving Colusa County for 32 years.

Armed robbery in Arbuckle

An armed robber made off with an undisclosed amount of money after knocking off the Umpqua Bank branch in Arbuckle on Oct. 13, and even now remains at large.

A male subject entered the bank at about 4 PM, armed with what appeared to be a black handgun, and demanded money. Officers at the scene said that the suspect was described as a white male adult, approximately 5’7” and between 150-160 pounds. He was wearing a black long-sleeve shirt, with brown pants and black shoes. Officers said he was wearing a U.S. Air Force ball cap.

He was last seen heading south through the alleyway between Fifth and Sixth Streets in Arbuckle. Colusa County Sheriff’s Sgt. Mark Contreras said that the suspect was believed to have been picked up on Fifth St. by a blueish-green BMW, occupied by an unknown driver. The vehicle traveled south on Fifth Street, at which point it continued in an unknown direction.

Bransford receives Award of Distinction at UC Davis

Don Bransford, a third-generation Colusa farmer, was honored with an Award of Distinction from the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at UC Davis on Oct. 14.

Critchfield, Rivera, and Barrett honored as Women of the Year

Three Colusa County Women, including Donna Critchfield, Terry Rivera, and Susan Barrett, were honored at the third-annual Woman of the Year Event, hosted by Congressman John Garamendi.

Election: Loudon, Evans Reelected; Boes beats out Marshall in Supes races; Markss joins Colusa City Council,

Incumbent Colusa County supervisors John Loudon and Gary Evans won their districts in a landslide, but the race between Boes and Marshall was too close to call after election night. In fact, the pair were separated by a single vote when we went to press on Nov. 8.

After provisional ballots were counted, Boes’ lead grew, and he was ultimately named the victor in the election.

For the Colusa City Council, incumbents Kirk Kelleher and Greg Ponciano were re-elected, and Dave Markss joined them as a new face on the council.

Two seats were up for grabs on the Williams City Council, and only two candidates filed for election. Incumbent John Troughton was elected to serve another term, and Roberto Mendoza took supervisor-elect Kent Boes’ spot on the council.

Peace Officer of the Year Awards

On Nov. 15, Colusa Rotary presented CHP officer Shane Roach, Colusa Police Officer David Jackson, Colusa County Sheriff’s Deputy Mathew Purcell, Supervising Deputy Probation Officer Kristen Simmons, Colusa County District Attorney Welfare Fraud Investigator Renea Garcia, and Williams Police Officer Daniel Mata with awards during their annual Peace Officer of the Year Awards Banquet. Each were selected based on qualities including courtesy, kindness, understanding, compassion, courage, and devotion to duty.

Colusa Theatre once again on the ropes

On Nov. 1, Colusa Theatre owner Mike Wilkinson announced to the public that the business could be closing in a matter of days or weeks.

Williams man arrested for attempted murder after probation work crew scuffle

Santos Arin Mazariegos Rodriguez, 23, a suspected gang member, was arrested on Sunday, Nov. 20 on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly stabbed a rival gang member while they were working on a supervised work crew for probation.

Colusa considers commercial cannabis cultivation and distribution facility in city

The Colusa City Council voted unanimously on Dec. to approve a resolution of intent to amend the city’s zoning ordinance, which marked he first step in allowing a commercial cannabis campus, run by Irvine-based Cultivation Technologies Inc., to set up shop in the city.

CTI said that they were hoping to bring jobs to prop up the local economy, in addition to money bolster the city’s general fund.

More meetings are slated in the near future. At last week’s city council meeting, city staff announced that there was a community meeting scheduled for Jan. 20, where city staff and CTI brass would be on hand to answer questions and concerns from the community.

Pierce student suffers severe burns in shop class

A freshman at Pierce High suffered serious burns after a shop class accident, which required him to be life-flighted to UC Davis Medical Center. The shop teacher suffered minor injuries as well, and was transported to a nearby hospital as a precaution. The teacher was discharged later that day.

Maxwell’s inaugural Country Christmas an overwhelming success

Despite freezing temperatures, the first-ever Maxwell Country Christmas exceeded all expectations. Hundreds of Colusa County residents, from Maxwell and beyond, packed the little town of Maxwell to catch a glimpse of the light parade and peruse the vendor fair.

Lloyd Green Jr, Editor
Lloyd Green Jr, Editor
Lloyd Green Jr. is the Owner and Publisher of the Williams Pioneer Review. He is dedicated in publishing the news and informing the community of Colusa County. Lloyd has been with the publication since 2008, and purchased the business in 2010. Under his ownership the newspaper has grown significantly in subscriptions, publishes weekly, and obtained the title of Newspaper of General Circulation by the Superior Court of Colusa County in Sept. 2017. Lloyd is also the director of advertising, classified manager, legal notice clerk, and circulation manager. To contact Lloyd, email him at or call (530) 458-4141 ext. 100.

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