E-bike sales on the rise | Californians want farmworker protections | Four planets in view this month
The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Friday, April 8.
E-bike popularity bolstered amid pandemic, rising gas prices
Electric bike sales have grown since they were first introduced in the late '90s, but the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent onset of high gas prices have only boosted their popularity.
Jonathan Medina is the buying manager for a bicycle shop in downtown Chico. He said that battery-powered bikes are particularly attractive to people who might not be suited to traditional bikes.
“It makes riding a bike much more approachable for people who thought they couldn’t ride a bike, because of a disability, age, or their fitness level,” Medina said.
Their speed — 20 to 28 mph — is also attractive to commuters. However, those looking to offset gas costs will find that e-bikes are pricey upfront. The average range is $1,500 to $2,000, but they can cost several thousand dollars more.
Industry market forecasters project an accelerating sales curve over the next five years. A bill pending in Congress would provide a 30% tax rebate for the purchase of e-bikes and the California legislature is also considering incentives.
— Ken Devol, NSPR
Poll shows Californians support more protections for farmworkers during wildfires
When wildfire threatens crops in California, farmworkers can be called upon to help protect harvests. This can mean going into dangerous situations with unsafe air conditions, even after others have already left to find safety.
A poll out this week from UC Berkeley's Institute of Governmental Studies shows more than 80% of California voters polled think that farmworkers should both get hazard pay for this work and be given safety training in their own native languages. More than 70% of voters polled think that farmworkers should receive disaster insurance coverage when conditions prevent them from working.
While support levels did vary along party lines, with Democrats showing more enthusiasm for these measures than Republicans, it was generally high across the state. That includes even more conservative regions like the central and Sacramento valleys. Support did not vary much based on race or education levels.
— Mary Franklin Harvin (KQED), The California Report
Law enforcement commission tasked with badge-revocation criteria
The California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) — which has set rules of conduct for law enforcement in the state since 1959 — held a special meeting Thursday to work on defining what kind of police misconduct is serious enough to revoke an officer's badge.
Last year, the state passed Senate Bill 2, which requires police officers to be certified and grants POST the power to revoke certification for serious misconduct such as dishonesty, abuse of power and sexual assault.
The commission is tasked with defining the specific criteria for decertification. It is also in the process of hiring for over 120 positions and a new unit that will be dedicated to certification and accountability. POST has until January of next year to implement the new law.
— Sukey Lewis (KQED), The California Report
Grocery chain with North State locations penalized for price gouging
California State Attorney General Rob Bonta announced this week that the grocery store chain Smart & Final — which operates at least two locations in the North State — has agreed to pay $175,000 in penalties to resolve claims that the grocer engaged in price gouging at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Between March and June of 2020, Smart & Final, which operates more than 250 stores throughout the West, they illegally increased the price of four organic and cage-free egg products beyond what was allowable during a state of emergency," Bonta said.
Bonta said an investigation found the grocer sold more than 100,000 cartons of eggs that were marked up by more than 10%.
— CapRadio Staff
North State skywatchers can view four planets this month
Venus, Mars, Saturn and Jupiter can all be seen in the southeast this month, but skywatchers will need a clear view of the eastern horizon away from artificial lights. The planets will be visible starting at around 5 a.m.
On April 20, the four planets will align diagonally. At the very end of the month, Venus and Jupiter will be 0.45 degrees apart, which is less than the tip of a finger held out at arm's length.
— Dave Schlom, NSPR
Stories from NPR partner stations are edited by NSPR Staff for digital presentation and credited as requested.
In other news
- Court case resumes for Shasta County woman accused of starting 2018 Delta Fire: “Cynthia Ann LeRoux, 58, remains in custody following her arrest on May 5, 2021, for investigation of 20 felony arson counts in connection with the Delta Fire and two subsequent smaller fires, the Shasta County District Attorney's Office has said.” — Redding Record Searchlight
- LaMalfa votes to support Ukraine allies: “In the wake of increasing violence against Ukrainian civilians by invading Russian forces, Congressman Doug LaMalfa voted in support of several pieces of legislation that reaffirm the United States’ support of our ally, Ukraine.” — Lassen County Times
- One injured in four car crash on Highway 99: “A car crash involving four vehicles occurred Thursday afternoon on northbound Highway 99 by the East 20th Street offramp.” — Chico Enterprise-Record
- Corning outbuildings destroyed in fire: “A fire Wednesday afternoon destroyed two outbuildings in south Corning. Cal Fire crews were dispatched just before 5 p.m. Wednesday to the area of Columbia and Viola avenues. They contained the fire around 6 p.m., but it destroyed two outbuildings.” — Red Bluff Daily News
- Mother arrested after infant, toddler found dead: “A mother was arrested Thursday after her two young children were allegedly found dead in a bathtub at their home in Linda.” — The Appeal-Democrat
- Plans to curb California insulin costs abound. Will anything get done this year?: “Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration is pushing a first-in-the-nation plan for California to partner with a drugmaker to produce cheaper insulin. It’s one of many proposed state and federal remedies to soaring insulin costs.” — CalMatters
In case you missed it
- Chico City Council sets new election districts for councilors — NSPR (Headlines, April 7)
- Oroville mass shooting suspect appears in court — NSPR (Headlines, April 7)
- Chico offers Pallet shelter cost breakdown — Chico Enterprise-Record
- Coronavirus in Shasta County: 4 people die of COVID, county offers free 2nd booster — Redding Record Searchlight
- Cal Fire responds to fire above Concow in the Canyon — Plumas News
- Fuel reduction project clears environmental review — The Trinity Journal
- Water changes were needed months ago: Better late than never, but the pattern of slow action continues — Lassen County Times
- Yuba County Library opens its doors again — The Appeal-Democrat
- New Tuesday Night Market in Corning draws hundreds — Red Bluff Daily News
- Melinda Davis, a colorful spirit and unhoused resident, killed in Sacramento mass shooting — CapRadio
- California eyes citizen lawsuits over illegal guns — CalMatters