Butte County settles wrongful prosecution lawsuit | Shasta County ends COVID-19 emergency | GOP lawmakers target homelessness
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
- Drought and Dixie Fire impacts water quality at Lake Almanor: “A warming climate is altering ecosystems worldwide. In California we are experiencing prolonged drought and more intense wildfires, which are impacting water quality in lakes and reservoirs.” — Plumas News
- Local businesses can get $5K from Chico grants to improve exteriors: “The city of Chico announced Tuesday several programs for businesses including a building enhancement grant program that will allow business owners to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to improve the exterior of their businesses.” — Chico Enterprise-Record
- 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
- Litigation between city, county of Colusa moved to Sacramento court: “During a hearing last week, Colusa County Superior Judge Jeffrey A. Thompson granted a change of venue motion filed by the city of Colusa to a Sacramento court after attorneys representing the county withdrew their opposition.” — Colusa Sun Herald
In case you missed it
- Shasta County Board of Supervisors votes to remove Supervisor Rickert as vice chair of the board — NSPR (Headlines, March 16)
- Dixie Fire: Debris removed from 75% of properties — NSPR (Headlines, March 16)
- Oldest continuous parade in California is in Marysville and celebrates Chinese water god, culture — NSPR (Headlines, March 16)
- Chico council narrows redistricting down to five maps — Chico Enterprise-Record
- Sherri Papini may have lied about her kidnapping but research shows most women tell the truth about sexual assault — Shasta Scout
- Here's what county officials want to do with $35 million in federal aid — Redding Record Searchlight
- COVID numbers in Plumas hold steady — Plumas News
- Judge says more research is needed; calls CCC closure case more complicated than attorneys realize — Lassen County Times
- Red Bluff couple charged with defrauding Tehama County Social Services — Red Bluff Daily News