In Sutter County, fear drove an immigrant to find his voice in poetry, and now he is nationally acclaimed


The Sutter County Library is hosting nationally acclaimed poet, and Yuba-Sutter resident, Marcello Hernandez Castillo for an evening of poetry readings and a conversation about writing and immigration issues. The Friends of the Sutter County Library and Yuba Sutter Arts are coordinating the July 13 event, which is free and begins at 5:45 p.m., and putting on a reception with refreshments following Mr. Castillo’s discussion.

The library is located at 750 Forbes Avenue, Yuba City.

Castillo will read from his poetry and discuss the important part the library played in his life and his work. He will share his impressions of the community growing up and offer advice to other young writers.

A poet, essayist and translator, Castillo is the author of the pamphlet, DULCE, winner of the 2017 Drinking Gourd Poetry Prize. His debut full-length poetry collection titled Cenzontle was just published and was awarded the A. Poulin, Jr. prize for poetry.

Castillo’s work has appeared in the New York Times, PBS Newshour, People Magazine, The Paris Review and the New England Review. He currently teaches in the MFA program at Ashland University in Ohio, but calls Marysville home where he lives with his wife and son.

At a young age, language was Castillo’s best defense. Growing up undocumented, he has said that fluency in English and, later, poetry were the tools with which he could protect against deportation. Writing was “a way to kind of offset any questions or any suspicions about my documentation status,” he said. “By way of fear, along came poetry.”

Castillo, who entered the U.S. from Mexico with his family at the age of five, did not address his own story in writing until recently. After he received exemption from deportation under Deferred Action for Child Arrivals or DACA, a policy that applies to people who entered the U.S. before the age of 16 and before 2007, he earned a BA at Sacramento State and then became the first undocumented student to earn an MFA at the University of Michigan. And then he returned to Mexico for the first time in 21 years.  Those two experiences gave him a new perspective on the trauma that had pervaded his experience with the U.S. immigration system.



In Sutter County, a balanced ‘status quo’ budget

budget cover
We would like to thank several local photographers who donated images for use in the budget book, including  Jack Davis, Rachel Ekberg, Michelle Zearfoss, and John Hollis.

The Sutter County Board of Supervisors approved a balanced, “status quo” Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Recommended Budget on Thursday afternoon. Staff from various County departments prepare a recommended budget prior to the fiscal year, and the Board of Supervisors decides whether the recommendations will become the operational spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2018 and runs through June 30, 2019.

The budget reflects a stable local economy and an organization committed to living within its means. The approximately $334 million budget includes estimated revenues of $17.4 million in local property taxes (5.7 percent increase), $10 million in vehicle license (4.6 percent increase), and $3.3 million in sales taxes (a decrease of 6.4 percent).

Federal and state funding for Welfare and Social Services ($51.6 million) and Behavioral Health Services ($37 million) are the two single largest sources of funding. Sutter County is the employer of record for the Behavioral Health employees who provide services to residents in both Sutter and Yuba counties.

As a local government, Sutter County has very limited local revenue/tax sources to support the vast array of municipal services it is charged with providing to residents and businesses covering approximately 600 square miles. The few taxes and fees which the County relies on are among the lowest in California and are infrequently adjusted (most do not keep up with inflation).

Sutter County is also highly dependent on Federal and State government funding to support a large portion of the regional and social services it is obligated to provide. To complicate matters, the County’s changing demographics have resulted in rising service needs and demands for public assistance above the Statewide average. For example, demands for health and human services and public safety services continue to increase at concerning rates.

Consequently, the Sutter County organization has learned to live with limited financial resources during recurring years of rising service demands. This, in turn, has caused the County to defer maintenance of its many buildings, vehicles, equipment, and assets. The County has also reduced staffing, passed on benefit costs to employees, contracted out services, combined operations and services where possible with other service providers, and cut back on employee training and development. After years of making “one-time” cuts and reductions, the County remains at a crossroads with respect to looking toward the future.

You can see the entire recommended budget here:

And here’s a nifty tool that will let you explore the budget in many different ways:

In Sutter County, music, food and art in two downtowns tomorrow

33894889_10155755899330889_2300133073531961344_nGreat weather is on tap tomorrow when Sutter County’s two incorporated cities showcase their downtowns with street fairs centered on art and music and food.

Yuba City’s annual Summer Stroll (2 p.m. to 10 p.m.) on Plumas Street is produced by the Yuba City Downtown Business Association with the assistance of a great number of corporate sponsors.

Like its sister event, the Christmas Stroll, the Summer Stroll showcases the Plumas Street Shopping District by offering family friendly street vendors. Visitors stroll between the existing downtown shops and a variety of attractions in the street, including a Kids Science Area and a Kids Water Area. At least six bands will play in a free all-day street concert.

Meanwhile, in Live Oak, the City is hosting a Mural Marathon Street Fair from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. near the intersection of Broadway and Elm streets. Five artists are competing for cash prizes for painting the best mural on equal sized large sections of a building. The artists have been working since Thursday, and the winners will be announced between 5:30-6 p.m.

The event is co-produced by Yuba Sutter Arts, which acquired a grant to help the artists with materials. Yuba Sutter Arts is Sutter County’s designated Arts Council. The Arts Council has provided a sneak peek at the mural work on its Facebook page

Arts and crafts and food vendors and music will be part of the street fair.

In Sutter County, a powerful collection of Native American portraits and the woman who created them

Natural Wonderment Exh PC FRONTprint

In 2013, Matika Wilbur set off to photograph members of all 562 Tribal Nations in North America.

This Saturday, she will present her work at 3 p.m. at the Community Memorial Museum, 1333 Butte House Road, Yuba City. The free event includes a reception following her presentation.

Matika Wilbur’s exhibit, Natural Wanderment: Stewardship-Sovereignty-Sacredeness, will remain at the museum through August 22. The museum is open Tuesday through Frieday 9 a .m. to 5 p.m., and noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Matika Wilbur also discussed her intriguing and important project during a recent Ted Talk:

In Sutter County, Comstock’s details how the Sutter Buttes informed the design of the new Courthouse


As part of an article on the architecture of new civic structures in the region, Comstock’s featured the new Sutter County Courthouse in Yuba City in its June magazine edition.

The Sutter County Courthouse, completed in 2015, was designed for the client–the State of California–by architecture firm Ross Drulis Cusenberry. The article notes: “The architect had a stunning site to work with, surrounded by mature tulip trees and the neighboring Sutter Buttes as its backdrop. Drawing its design inspiration from the imposing peaks, RDC created a tall element in a flat landscape whose shape and color mimics the erosion of the volcanic domes of the Buttes.”

The State of California took over all courthouse responsibilities from the counties beginning in 2002.  The State is now responsible for more than 500 buildings and 20 million square feet of space associated with courthouse operations in all 58 counties.

A link to the online version of the story can be found here:





In Sutter County, plans for security improvements at boat ramps

boat ramp
The Sutter County General Services Department is actively pursuing security enhancements at three of the four boat ramps it operates.

General Services Director Megan Greve said the plan is to install security fencing, on-line or credit card payments, and a gate lock system to reduce vandalism and thefts at boat ramps at Boyd’s Pump and the Yuba City Boat Dock on the Feather River, and at Tisdale Weir on the Sacramento River.

Improvements are expected to be in place this fall, Greve said.

In the interim, Greve said, boaters will not be required to pay the daily use fee. The County is removing the cash boxes used to collect boat ramp use fees because the boxes have been destroyed a multitude of times and money from the boat fees stolen. The enhancements will allow for the safe and secure collection of fees that are to be used to provide annual maintenance of the docks. Over the past two years, the revenue collected has been reduced by over $10,000 due to theft and vandalism.

“These security enhancements are what many boaters have been asking Sutter County to provide,” Greve said. “We’ll provide a more secure parking lot while boaters are out on the water.”

No changes are planned at Live Oak Park boat ramp, where there is a park attendant on duty.

In Sutter County, a local government agency has been suppressing mosquito populations for 7 decades

The Sutter-Yuba Mosquito and Vector Control District Facebook page has a lot of information presented in a fun way. (If you guessed midgut, you were right.)

The Sutter-Yuba Mosquito & Vector Control District is a local government agency that is not well known, despite its role in making the valley floor along the lower Feather River tolerable for human beings year-round. Since 1946, the District has interrupted mosquito breeding cycles and educated the public about the relationship between standing water, mosquitoes, and disease. 

The mission of the District is clear in the first paragraph of its online history ( “Before California was settled by pioneers and gold seekers, thousands of seasonally flooded acres of lowlands, marshes and other wetlands produced hoards of mosquitoes impacting the lives of Native Americans. Certain evidence of an archeological and anthropological nature suggest that these native cultures were seasonally compelled to move or abandon coastal and lowland areas. Unmitigated mosquito breeding resulted in unlivable conditions. Similarly, other tribes inhabiting mountain environments would face springtime hatches of snow pool and floodwater mosquitoes. As the Gold Rush drew miners to California in the 1850’s, the prospectors were quickly introduced to the mosquitoes, their bites and the pathogens they transmit.”

The District’s boundaries comprise almost all of Sutter County and all of the valley floor in Yuba County. Its board of directors is comprised of two members appointed by the Sutter County Board of Supervisors, and one each by the cities of Live Oak, Marysville, Yuba City, and Wheatland, and the Yuba County Board of Supervisors. The District is funded by property taxes.


Today, the District has an array of programs, including providing free mosquito fish, to limit mosquito breeding. They also have an online map showing the location of West Nile activity in birds, mosquitoes and horses.

The District office and yard is located at 701 Bogue Road, Yuba City.

District staff operates and maintains a fleet of surveillance and specialty vehicles used for the surveillance and treatment of mosquitoes and mosquito sources. The District is a member of the Mosquito and Vector Control Association and works in cooperation with such agencies and institutions as: other California Mosquito Abatement and Mosquito and Vector Control Districts; the local Health Departments; County Agricultural Commissioner offices; the University of California labs and research departments and the California Department of Health Services.

The primary goal of the District is to conduct field surveillance to facilitate the detection and control of mosquitoes in order to suppress their populations and prevent the transmission of mosquito-borne diseases. The District also provides consultation and assistance for other vectors of public health importance such as; flies, fleas, ticks, and their associated diseases as resources allow.

You can access all their information at this website:

And you can follow on Facebook: