• John Crawford, 48, of Grass Valley, pleaded innocent Jan. 27 to five charges of committing lewd or lascivious acts on a person under 14 years old. He is accused of molesting a 12-year-old girl during a several-week period in June and July 2003, according to police. He reportedly turned himself in after he had an argument with the alleged victim and she told Crawford’s wife. A Feb. 24 felony conference has been set.
• Richard Lund, 24, pleaded innocent Jan. 27 to charges of burglary, grand theft, petty theft with a prior theft-related conviction, and possession of stolen property. He is accused of burglarizing a home that was being renovated by Habitat for Humanity on Jan. 12. A Feb. 10 felony conference has been set.
• Geoff Russell Johannsen, 19, of Penn Valley, pleaded “no contest” Jan. 27 to one count of burglary, stemming from a Sept. 12, 2004 arrest, when he allegedly snatched a purse from a woman in downtown Grass Valley. Other charges of grand theft and petty theft will be dropped at his sentencing, scheduled for Feb. 14.
• Christopher Rex, 19, pleaded “no contest” Jan. 27 to charges of petty theft and battery, stemming from a Nov. 27, 2004 arrest. Rex and Ryan Anthony Cetti are accused of punching a friend unconscious to get his medication. They allegedly drove the friend to a location near Freeman lane, where they jumped him. Rex is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 28, where other charges of robbery will be dropped. A trial has been canceled.
• Dutch Robert Cooper, of Grass Valley, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for charges of fraud and possession of a controlled substance stemming from a March 14, 2004 arrest. Other charges of fraud, possession of stolen property and possession of a controlled substance were dropped.
• Paul George Lotz, 20, pleaded innocent Jan. 31 to charges of robbery stemming from a Sept. 10, 2004 arrest.
Lotz is accused of assaulting a woman and her 18-year-old son and stealing more than five pounds of marijuana from them on Sept. 9, 2004. Lotz is reportedly an acquaintance of the victims. He reportedly threatened to kill the two and shoved a gun into the woman’s ribcage. Lotz was spotted the next day and arrested. A Feb. 25 pretrial conference has been set.
• Joseph Earl Hale, 20, of Nevada City, was sentenced Jan. 31 to 90 days in jail and three years of supervised probation for one charge of grand theft stemming from a Sept. 11, 2004 arrest. At that time, he and two others were arrested for trying to burglarize Kmart. As the store was closing, the three walked inside a store rest room and hid. They were spotted by security, however, and police were called to the scene. Other charges of attempted burglary and contributing to the delinquency of a minor were dropped.
• Christopher Shay, 24, pleaded innocent Jan. 31 to charges of attempted murder and two counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
Shay is accused of striking his ex-girlfriend’s uncle in the head with a heavy flashlight in late January, critically injuring the uncle. If the victim dies, a charge of murder will be added, authorities said.
The ex-girlfriend told authorities the assault happened after a night of heavy drinking. She said she had stepped out of a barn on Hidden Hill Road to go to the bathroom, and heard a commotion. When she allegedly stepped back inside, her uncle was about to be hit a second time. She told investigators that she jumped on top of her uncle to protect him and was hit herself. Her story has not been verified, authorities said. A Feb. 24 felony conference has been set.
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On May 29, I watched Nevada City’s amazing caretaker Miriam Morris starting to paint a river on Commercial Street’s pavement. Well-planted containers added to the beautification finally coming to a street that had been dug…