Marc Albert

Reporter, Morning Edition Host

North State Public Radio reporter Marc Albert joined the staff in 2010 as a morning program host. Formerly a reporter at the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Sun, Berkeley Voice and other publications, Marc is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and attended the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. A California resident since 1987, Marc has lived in Kyoto, Japan, Georgetown, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand. He originally hails from New York City. His first public radio experience was at age 16, answering phones during pledge drives at the storied WBAI. He later served as a volunteer reporter at KUSP-Santa Cruz, WBAI-New York and KPFA-Berkeley before embarking on a decade plus sojourn in print journalism. He has proudly called Chico his home since 2008.

Elected leaders in Chico today are set to consider farming out a key part of summer to a separate entity. To locals, a dip in Sycamore Pool is as emblematic of summer as backyard barbecues, family road trips or ice cream. 

The good news is that shouldn’t change. But this year, in an effort city leaders say could save taxpayers a total of $6,000, officials are set to turn over lifeguarding duties at the pool to the Chico Area Recreation District, or CARD.

California Geological Survey


The chances of a very strong earthquake rattling California is higher than previously thought, and more comprehensive studies suggest inland Northern California is hardly immune from sudden seismic disturbances.

The number of identified faults in California has risen from 15 in 1988 to 350 today. The chance of a quake 6.7 or greater — the strength of the destructive 1994 Northridge quake — was cut to once every 6.3 years. Meanwhile, the chance of a potentially cataclysmic magnitude 8 or greater within 30 years was revised upward to 7 percent. 

The head of a Butte County water district intent on selling water to San Joaquin Valley nut orchard operators dismissed concerns raised by county officials and said the district is fully complying with regulations. 

Eugene Massa, general manager of the Biggs-West Gridley Water District, said he has no plans to cancel or alter in any way a water transfer deal with West Hills Farm Services of Fresno through the state Department of Water Resources. 

Butte County officials Tuesday sought to upend, or at least moderate, plans by a local irrigation district to sell vast amounts of water to growers in the San Joaquin Valley, requiring thousands of acres of local farmland to remain fallow for a second year. 

Plans by a local agency to sell more than 6.3 billion gallons of water to growers in the San Joaquin valley ran into unanimous opposition from the Butte County Board of Supervisors, who called on local and state officials to reduce or cancel the sale. 

Marc Albert / NSPR

 A competition between high schools across much of Northern and Central California for 100 micro solar power plants will be ramping up soon, powered by the organization Green Tech and Pacific Gas & Electric Company.

The portable, suitcase-sized solar units will be given away to schools through a contest being run on the utility’s website.

NVJ / Flickr, Creative Commons

The roll-out of a new system of trash collection is causing some concerns among affected Butte County residents. 

A new system to better coordinate trash pick-up in unincorporated parts of Butte is rattling the cages of a few local residents with confusion and frustration. 

Several residents contacted NSPR, complaining about reductions and losses of various services. 

Candace Menefee, who has lived in the same home for 22 years, was upset and a bit astounded when she learned that she would lose a service she’s grown to count on.

You’d think that getting nearly $5 million to spend would be cause for celebration, but not if you’re nearly $8 million in the hole. That was essence of most of the discussions last night before the Chico City Council, where officials met to decide how to spend a windfall that was hard to imagine a year ago. 

 “Are we out of the woods yet just because we have this $4.8 million?” Chico City Manager Mark Orme said at the meeting. “Absolutely not! But are we headed in the right direction? Absolutely.”

NVJ / Flickr, Creative Commons

 Many residents of unincorporated parts of Butte County are getting used to a new routine on trash day, if not a new trash day altogether. Plans to divide up the county into three separate areas and grant exclusive fiefdoms to the different companies that used to compete took effect this week.

Chico’s city council will be grappling with a problem tonight they haven’t had to worry about in years — what to do with extra money.

Rising sales and property taxes thanks to an improving economy, coupled with savings from some pretty serious budget cuts, have left $4.8 million worth of black ink in Chico’s municipal coffers. But after years of crisis budgeting, city leaders meeting tonight will likely end up using the windfall to pay off debts rather than on funding any new initiatives or restoring much in the way of services.

California’s farms and, increasingly, urban residents will be dependent on groundwater reserves for water supplies as parched conditions continue into a fourth year. Meanwhile, long-term plans to help ease California’s chronic water shortages took another small step forward. 

Hopes for enough rain and snow to break the ongoing drought have gone from doubtful to nearly unfathomable as winter yields week after week of unusually warm and dry weather.