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Butte County settles wrongful prosecution lawsuit | Shasta County ends COVID-19 emergency | GOP lawmakers target homelessness

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The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Thursday, March 17.

Butte County settles lawsuit with man falsely accused of child molestation

Butte County has agreed to pay a man $75,000 after he served nine years in prison on false allegations of child molestation.

The dollar figure comes from a settlement agreement provided to NSPR by the County Counsel’s Office.

The man, Darwin Crabtree, stood trial in 1991 on accusations he sexually abused his two young sons. He was convicted and sentenced to prison, serving nine years before being granted parole and required to register as a sex offender. Later, in 2008, his now-adult children recanted their stories. And in 2018, with the help of the Northern California Innocence Project, a Butte County judge voided Crabtree’s conviction.

Crabtree then sued the county, an investigator for the Butte County District Attorney’s Office and others in federal court, claiming malicious prosecution and due process violations, among other allegations.

According to the settlement agreement, the county denies any wrongdoing and liability but agreed that the $75,000 payment is meant to compensate Crabtree for his alleged pain, suffering and emotional distress arising from his conviction and incarceration.

A District Court judge in Sacramento closed the case Friday.

— Andre Byik, NSPR

Shasta County votes to end COVID-19 emergency proclamation

The Shasta County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to terminate its local health emergency proclamation related to COVID-19. The county resolution had been in effect since March of 2020.

District 4 Supervisor Patrick Jones stated during Tuesday’s meeting that the proclamation was needed to send a message to the public that COVID-19 is not an emergency. District 3 Supervisor Mary Rickert expressed concern that the decision could impact federal funds to continue vaccination and other efforts. The board voted 3-2 to terminate the local emergency.

As of the latest update March 15, Shasta County health officials reported 587 people have died from COVID-19 in the county since the start of the pandemic.

— Adia White and Kelly Frost, NSPR

GOP state lawmakers propose bills to address homelessness

Republican state lawmakers Wednesday proposed several bills to confront California’s growing homelessness problem. Among them is a proposal from Assembly Minority Leader James Gallagher of Yuba City. It would expand the legal definition of who’s eligible for a conservatorship.

“So that people who are unable to care for themselves or are a danger to others out on the street — and we see far too many of them on every street in California — will get the help and the resources that they need,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher added Gov. Gavin Newsom’s recently proposed CARE Court plan, which would compel treatment for some unhoused people with mental illness, is short on details and won’t be the fix Newsom promises.

Other GOP proposals call for the California State Auditor to review state homelessness spending, as well as boosting job training for people who are at risk of becoming homeless.

— CapRadio Staff

Wildlife officials say Siskiyou man took two bear cubs from their den

A Siskiyou County man has pleaded guilty to taking two bear cubs from their den. According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW), Cody Dylon Setzer, 29, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited species in Siskiyou County Superior Court in November 2021.

CDFW said the bears were rehabilitated at a center in Lake Tahoe before being released in the wild in Shasta County.

The department published the news on its website Tuesday in an update asking the public to report poaching or polluting.

— Adia White, NSPR

Interview: Fertilizer price increase could affect grocery prices

Fertilizer prices have nearly doubled during the pandemic and are now approaching record levels.

The increase in prices could severely affect California farmers, who grow much of the nation’s fresh fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Aaron Smith, professor of agricultural economics at UC Davis, spoke with CapRadio’s Randol White about why prices are increasing. Listen to the interview in today’s Headlines.

CapRadio Staff

Stories from NPR partner stations are edited by NSPR Staff for digital presentation and credited as requested.

In other news

  • Early start to fire season: “While it seems early to declare the first wildland fire of the season, a multi-agency fire near Helena this past weekend meets the criteria.” — The Trinity Journal
  • $40,000 signing bonus approved for new Redding officers: “The Redding City Council voted 5-0 to raise the signing bonus for experienced police officers who join the force to $40,000, a four-fold increase from the $10,000 signing bonus that had been approved in July.” — Redding Record Searchlight
  • South Main Street repairs to begin in Red Bluff: “Those bemoaning the state of Red Bluff's roads will have something to look forward to as the city is gearing up to start fixing South Main Street in the coming months." — Red Bluff Daily News

In case you missed it

Headlines is published every weekday morning at 8:30 a.m. Subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and NPR One. Theme song Borough is courtesy of Blue Dot Sessions

Sarah is an award-winning reporter, producer and editor. She’s worked at North State Public Radio for six years and was previously the station’s News Director before leaving to study at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.
A graduate of California State University, Chico, Andre Byik is an award-winning journalist who has reported in Northern California since 2012. He joined North State Public Radio in 2020, following roles at the Chico Enterprise-Record and Chico News & Review.
Angel Huracha has been a part of the journalism field since 2006 and has covered a range of topics. He is a graduate of Chico State with a Bachelor's degree in news-editorial and public relations with a minor in English.
Adia White is a broadcast journalist and producer with nearly 10 years of experience. Her work has appeared on WNYC, This American Life, Capital Public Radio and other local and national programs. She started at North State Public Radio as a freelance reporter in 2017 before leaving for a stint at Northern California Public Media in Santa Rosa.