Looking back at Colfax events in 2012

By: Martha Garcia, Colfax Record Editor
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Almost 150 years after reaching Colfax, the railroad continued to play a significant role in 2012. On Jan. 3 of last year, Union Pacific crews returned to start a weeks-long upgrade of the historic transcontinental railroad line. More wood ties, metal plates, anchors and spikes were replaced with a new base of rock, concrete ties and modern tie binders that now support the new continuous welded rail roadway. Here’s a look back at other stories from 2012.

Jan. 19 – Artists Jim Bowers and Foxey McCleary transformed a blank block wall along South Auburn Street into a “Shadows Past” public art mural by painting shadows cast by volunteer local models.

Jan. 26 – The first winter of the season arrived Jan. 19, bringing with it more than six inches over five days. In Colfax, a total of 6.63 inches fell from Thursday through Monday, including 3.53 inches on Friday. Colfax precipitation to date was 11.94 inches, compared to 33.30 the previous year at that time.

Feb. 9 – Suspects Herb Henrickson, Justin LeBoutheller and John Paulin – all from North Highlands – were arrested in the act of stealing copper wire from a traffic advisory message sign on westbound Interstate 80 west of Cisco Grove.

Feb. 23 – The support of his co-workers, friends and the community has made dealing with a serious illness easier for Todd Kettwig, a California Highway Patrol officer. Kettwig, public information officer for the Gold Run CHP office, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four months earlier and was in his seventh round of chemotherapy.

March 8 – As promised, the Grass Valley Street railroad crossing was closed a second time in as many months by Union Pacific. Upon completion of the upgrade of UP mainline track No. 1, a process that began last fall, the group of 250 workers known as UP’s Track Renewal Group, returned to Colfax March 1. Crews again completed replaced track, ties and ballast, the base road rock, as well as upgraded all crossings along 30 miles of the No. 2 track line.

March 15 – Colfax High School’s girls varsity ski team of Bailey Semmens, Nicola Lorang, Stephanie Scott and Teagen Santin swept to a first-place team finish at the California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski Federation State Championships held at Northstar.

March 29 – A springtime snowstorm blanketed Colfax and area residents awoke to a white wonderland Sunday morning. Precipitation in Colfax from March 14-20 totaled 11.5 inches.

April 26 – Randall Gene Center II, of Colfax, lost his life April 21 due to a gunshot wound in an incident that occurred April 21 in the Union Valley Reservoir area of El Dorado County. Center, 25, was an Army Reservist.

May 10 – California State Parks and Recreation turned down a $2.9 million grant application by the City of Colfax to upgrade Veterans Memorial Park and build a swimming pool.

May 17 – Nevada Irrigation District took over operation of the Long Ravine Campground at Rollins Reservoir from previous concessionaire Russ Englestad. The district also operates Scotts Flat and Orchard Springs on the Nevada County side of the lake.

June 14 – Colfax High School held commencement exercises June 9 at Robert O. Marson Field. The 186 graduates in the 52nd Colfax High class received awards and scholarships totaling $580,000.

June 21 – Union Pacific crews was scheduled to return to Colfax July 9-12 to fix the bump in the tracks at the Grass Valley railroad crossing. Seven hundred feet of track will have to be removed in order to lower the line four inches.

July 12 – The Colfax Old-Fashioned Independence Day Celebration on July 3 included a rousing fireworks display, Colfax Lions Parade, Kiwanis Little Patriots Parade, Doxie Races, Downhill Races and lots of community fun.

July 19 – The Robbers Fire, which started July 18 in the American River Canyon between Colfax and Foresthill, had left 2,600 acres and one home destroyed in the wake of its flames. The fire reached King’s Hill, near Iowa Hall.

July 26 – Charges of arson were filed by the Placer County District Attorney’s Office against 28-year-old Bryon Mason, who was suspected of starting the 2,650-acre Robbers Fire.

Aug. 2 – Deputies Jack Hickman, Stephen Barker, Shawn DeSilva and Jeff Power were recent additions to the Placer County Sheriff’s Colfax Substation.

Aug. 23 – Placer County Sheriff’s Deputies destroyed a 16,721 marijuana plant grow in a remote area called Secret Ravine, northeast of Colfax.

Aug. 30 – The Golden State Patient Care Collective, the county’s only marijuana collective, closed its doors in Colfax on Aug. 3. The property owners had received a letter from the Department of Justice warning that the distribution of marijuana is in violation of federal law and that the continued use of the property in such violation may result in forfeiture and criminal or civil penalties.

Sept. 13 – Five people, including three minors, were arrested after allegedly robbing the clerk at the Comfort Inn in Auburn at gunpoint. The suspects, Jamaul Lee Baker and Justina Irene Baker, both of Sacramento, then allegedly drove to Colfax where they allegedly forged the clerk to empty the cash register at Colfax Food and Gas.

Oct. 4 – The Colfax City Council appointed George Anthony “Tony” Hesch to fill the open position created when Suzanne Roberts resigned from the council after moving of the city limits.

Oct. 11 – City of Colfax dignitaries accepted a “Train Town USA” proclamation and plaque on Oct. 4 when Union Pacific Railroad representatives cited Colfax as “a place of historical significance” to Union Pacific, which in 2012 celebrated its 150-year history. The backdrop for ceremonies was the historic Union Pacific Steam Locomotive Engine No. 844, which was making its second visit to Colfax in one week.

Nov. 8 – Colfax-area citizens honored the men and women who have served this country during war during Veterans Day ceremonies on Nov. 11. Ceremonies included rededication of the Blue Star Memorial By-Way Marker, now located near the Schuyler Cofax statue.

Nov. 29 – Final Nov. 6 election results showed that Kim Douglass and Tom Parnham won election to fill the two open seats on the Colfax City Council. Parnham edged out incumbent Steve Harvey by a single vote. The council still faced filling another council seat, created when Josh Alpine resigned the council after winning a seat representing District 5 on the Placer County Water Agency.

Dec. 6 – Colfax received a total of 11.73 inches of rain in a series of storms that battered the area from Nov. 27 to Dec. 1, including 5.01 inches on Nov. 30.

Dec. 13 – Weimar Hills Charter School eighth-grade students were awarded a grand prize worth nearly $75,000 for technology upgrades in a contest that was open to schools in the U.S. and Canada.

Dec. 27 – At a special meeting held Dec. 19, Jason McKinney was appointed to fill the vacant seat on the Colfax City Council and will serve until the end of 2014.