(William Croyle, California Department of Water Resources – California Department of Water Resources, source)

In August, the state had to take the hydroelectric power plant at Lake Oroville, the second-biggest reservoir in California, off line for the first time since it was built in 1967 because the water level in the lake was too low.

California Will Curtail Water to Farms and Cities Next Year as Drought Worsens” by Michael B Marois over in Bloomberg. Imagine taking a power plant offline. Who makes that call? Did the engineers kind of enjoy the challenge?

The shutdown isn’t even what’s referred to when we talk about the Oroville Dam Crisis. Had a chance to drive through Oroville last summer, there are many beautiful old houses, and the downtown has a lost in time feel. If you want to see what Steinbeck’s California might’ve been like, Oroville might be a better main street time capsule than Salinas.

On August 7, 1881, pioneer Jack Crum was allegedly stomped to death by local bully Tom Noacks in Chico, California. The young Noacks was feared by the locals of Butte County, not only because of his size and strength, but allegedly because he was mentally unbalanced and enjoyed punching oxen in the head.

Noacks was arrested and jailed in the Chico jail. Once word got out that the old pioneer had been murdered, the authorities moved Noacks to the Butte County county jail in Oroville for his safety. Crum’s friends, knowing that Noacks was in the county jail, made their way to Oroville with rope in hand. Knocking on the jail door, the men told the jailer that they had a prisoner from the town of Biggs, California. Once inside the jail, they overpowered the jailer and dragged Noacks from his cell. They took Noacks to Crum’s former farm and hanged him from an old cottonwood tree. Nobody was ever prosecuted for the lynching.

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