Walk on in: A $707,180 grant will go a long way toward helping people on whom the state once turned its back.

On Jan. 5, a group called Caminar applied for a use permit with the city to turn the former motel at 2505 The Esplanade into housing for once-homeless people, most of whom have been diagnosed with mental illness. The site used to be The Esplanade House, a transitional facility for homeless families that is getting new digs up the street on Shasta Avenue.

“I’m very excited,” said Nicole Bateman, executive director for Caminar. The grant came from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Butte County Department of Behavioral Health will be a partner in the project, which will start next month. “This will be our first [housing facility] in this county.”

As many as 17 people at a time could live at the site, which will be called Magnolia Gardens.

Previously known as Community Living Centers, Caminar—which means to walk or to prosper in Spanish—is a San Mateo-based nonprofit that uses state funding to serve people with developmental, psychiatric or physical disabilities.

Mr. Drunky: Downtown watering hole and sometime music venue Mr. Lucky was slapped with a 15-day closure this week by the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control for serving a drink to a man who was “obviously intoxicated,” said ABC officer Bill Rowe. Rowe said an ABC officer saw a bartender at Mr. Lucky serve a drink to a man last August who was unable to stand without leaning on the bar. Rowe said the rumor going around—that the bartender served the drunken man only water—was false, but he added that bars can be ticketed merely for allowing wasted patrons to stay on the premises even when they have stopped drinking.

The man who got his drink was arrested by Chico police later that night for being drunk in public. Rowe said the ABC was being lenient with Mr. Lucky because it had accrued no other violations.

Locals rewarded for party allegiance: Freshmen state Assemblymen Rick Keene, R-Chico, and Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale (pictured), have each been given key posts in the Republican Party structure as the new legislative session begins in Sacramento. Keene will serve as assistant to Assembly Republican leader Kevin McCarthy, R Bakersfield, and, just like Miss America’s runner-up, he’ll be ready to step in should McCarthy not be able to fulfill his role. “I am counting on his grasp of policy, his keen understanding of the budget process, his political vision and his ability to communicate to the people of California,” McCarthy said of Keene (emphasis ours). Keene said he hopes to “lead California down the right path of financial stability.”

LaMalfa was named one of six Republican whips, which are the legislative equivalent of sheepdogs, rounding up stray votes for the party cause. “I am greatly honored to serve on our Republican leadership team under our new leader Kevin McCarthy,” LaMalfa said in a press release.