Looking back

Here are a few of my favorite CN&R headlines from 2017

At the CN&R’s annual holiday party, I give a little extemporaneous speech to thank the folks in each department for their good work. This year, I spent a few minutes beforehand, based on my memory, jotting down my favorite stories of 2017.

For this Year in Review issue, I’ve expanded on that list by skimming our archives (excluding opinion and the arts) to highlight just a sampling of the paper’s best work.

Cover stories:

“Murder most fowl” (March 2)—a poacher illegally kills a rare-to-Butte County long-tailed duck, but locals use the death as a way to advance education on conservation.

“Squeezed out” (March 9)—a look at how a lack of construction during the Great Recession and the years since has resulted in a tight housing market—both for purchases and rentals—driving up costs for everyone, especially those who can least afford it.

“Dreaming on” (March 16)—local undocumented college students who live and work in the United States legally under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) share their hopes for the future and fears of deportation under newly elected President Trump.

“Fact vs. fiction” (March 30)—cutting through the Reefer Madness-like propaganda following California’s (and Butte County’s) move to legalize marijuana sales and consumption.

“A deadly mix” (June 1)—an unnerving report showing that the number of fatal encounters between law enforcement and mentally ill people in Butte County is more than double the national average.

“In plain sight” (Aug. 3)—local and national experts on human trafficking (including law enforcement and a victim) reveal that, despite being well under the radar, the crime happens here.

“Chico vs. The Man” (Sept. 28)—a David vs. Goliath piece about a local health center taking on corporate insurance companies over nonpayment.

“Under the gun” (Nov. 3)—an investigative story on the city of Chico’s nontransparent payments for a contract with the same armed guard company involved in the summertime shooting death of a Ventura man.

“Tiny houses, big potential” (Dec. 14)—a deep dive into the proposal for a local tiny house community, based on a visit to Marysville’s tiny home community.


“Dollars disappear” (Jan. 12)—report noting that the federal government cut funding to local social service providers due to Chico’s City Council enacting homeless-criminalization laws.

“Out of the frying pan …” (Feb. 16)—how Butte County officials lacked an evacuation plan for the failure of Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway and a mass evacuation put tens of thousands in gridlock traffic in an area that could have been flooded.

“The congressman and the kid” (Aug. 31)—Rep. Doug LaMalfa’s chief of staff issues a cease-and-desist letter to a 13-year-old constituent.

“Culture of discrimination” (Oct. 26)—a federal judge rules that a case involving alleged sweeping racial harassment within the Butte County Sheriff’s Office will move forward.

In short, 2017 was a heckuva year. Didn’t see your favorite CN&R story? Feel free to jog my memory at melissad@newsreview.com or send a letter to the editor (cnrletters@newsreview.com).