Two new Butte County Supervisors and other county officials sworn in at friendly ceremony

The Butte County Board of Supervisors’ chamber was packed on January 7, 2019, when two new Butte County Supervisors were sworn into office along with several other county officials. In contrast to the Chico City Council swearing-in ceremony where attendees were under surveillance and where reporters and photographers were only allowed in designated areas and where, if you didn’t already have a seat when the meeting started, you weren’t allowed into the city council chambers at all, the Butte County swearing-in ceremony was a casual, open and friendly event where attendees could stand if they couldn’t find a seat and reporters and photographers were allowed unrestricted access to the procedure. And in a most notable contrast to the Chico City Council ceremony where only the City Clerk officiated over the swearing-in, the newly elected officials to the county offices were free to choose anyone they liked to swear them in and to have a friend or family member stand with them. Here’s a quick run-down:

The Supervisors’ chamber was packed with supporters and families of elected officials.


First, Superior Court Judge Stephen Benson administered the oath of office to re-elected, Candace Grubbs, Clerk-Recorder.  Judge Benson revealed that this would Grubbs’ 9th and last term.



Diane Brown was re-elected and sworn-in to County Assessor by Candace Grubbs.


Graciela Cano Gutierrez, Auditor-Controller, wanted to use her family Bible during her swearing-in.


Mike Ramsey chose to have his wife, Carol, stand beside him. He’s been Butte County Dist. Attorney for over 31 years.


Kory Honea was elected for a second term as Butte County Sheriff-Coroner. During his tenure, two major disasters occurred that he helped to over-see: the Oroville dam spillway collapse and the deadly Camp Fire.


Troy Kidd, sworn in as Treasurer-Tax Collector. Kidd thanked former Treasurer, Peggy Moak, for her years of service.


Mary Sakuma, sworn in as County Superintendent of Schools. Sakuma said she would continue to make sure the children who survived the Camp Fire would have as normal a school experience as possible.


In the November 2018 mid-term election, Debra Lucero won over incumbent Larry Wahl for Supervisor District 2. Lucero chose Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea to conduct her swearing in ceremony.


Last, but certainly not least, Tami Ritter (on right) was also elected in the November mid-term election,  replacing the retiring and ever popular District 3 Supervisor, Maureen Kirk. Ritter was sworn in by her sister, Lisa Ritter from Arizona.

Although he wasn’t there to be sworn in, newly appointed (by Gov. Jerry Brown) Butte County Superior Court Jesus Rodriguez, seemed to enjoy the ceremony.










Climate change causes worst fire in California history, 85 die, thousands left homeless. Part One

The Fire This Time
by Karen Laslo

It was 7:00 A.M., November 8th, 2018, when I awoke to the sight of a darkening cloud, tinged with pink and yellow, covering the whole southern sky and moving rapidly towards me. A strange light illuminated the tops of my neighbors’ trees. In my sleepy morning confusion I thought, “It’s going to rain.” But there hadn’t been any forecast of rain for the entire week. In fact, the drought had increased, bringing unseasonably warm and dry weather. Then confusion turned to fear – fire!

The morning the “Camp Fire” started, November 8th, 2018

In the few minutes it took for me to realize what was happening, the morning light had darkened to evening and then to night. In the next few hours, the “Camp Fire” had reduced the town of Paradise and sections of Butte Creek Canyon, Concow and Magalia to a pile of toxic ash, leaving thousands of people homeless, some barely escaping with nothing but their lives. I was later to learn that 85 people are known to have died in the fierce hurricane-like fire.

Morning turned to night.


A former home in Paradise.

In the weeks that followed, the people of Chico witnessed the shock and despair of the Camp Fire survivors. We volunteered at shelters, food and clothing distribution sites, and put in long hours at the FEMA headquarters in the old Sears building. We worked to reunite survivors with their pets and fretted over what might have happened to the wildlife that had no escape from the smoke and flames. We adjusted to the dramatic increase in traffic and the long lines at the local pharmacy and post office. And we made a place in our neighborhoods for the sudden influx of travel trailers and RV’s as shelters for those who’d lost their homes.

Spontaneous Walmart evacuation center.


Walmart parking lot.


Wildlife couldn’t escape the toxic smoke.


Trailers donated by Ken Grossman for fire refugees.


Shelters for fire refugees appear in Chico neighborhoods.


Downtown Chico Post Office.

Those of us in Chico, who hadn’t lost homes to the fire could barely comprehend what it might be like to lose everything within the span of a few hours. All about us, refugees from the burnt mountain lay scattered among us like leaves blown on a dry wind.

Ashes on Dogwood leaf, Chico.

And through it all, the suffocating, toxic smoke invaded our lungs, leaving us isolated indoors. And it was then that the Synergism women’s chorus decided to not cancel their concert at First Baptist Church on Palmetto Avenue but rather to bring their message of hope and understanding to whomever might have need. And when the hour for the concert arrived, the church sanctuary was filled with those among us who felt the need to be together with our townspeople where our sadness and loss could find common expression. And so we listened to the sweet women’s voices that drew us together as one body and brought tears to our eyes and healing to our hearts and minds.

Photo courtesy of Synergism: Women Together For Beauty