Butte County could end COVID-19 proclamation | Free community college could be expanded | Lassen County woman survives being stranded in snow
The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Tuesday April 26.
Emergency COVID-19 proclamation in Butte County could soon end
The Butte County Board of Supervisors will consider ending the COVID-19 emergency proclamation at the request of county staff.
The emergency has been in place since March of 2020. Local officials report the emergency designation enabled the county to get state and federal money to help with recovery.
Now, officials say COVID-19 conditions are within control of normal county services. The board will consider adopting a resolution terminating the local emergency at its meeting today.
As of the last update Thursday, the county reports 408 people have died of COVID-19. Six people were hospitalized. About 56% of eligible Butte County residents are fully vaccinated against the disease.
— Andre Byik, NSPR
New report: Wildfires threaten to make California’s bad air even worse
California’s air quality is among the worst in the country, and according to a new report, a rising threat comes from wildfires.
The report by the American Lung Association found 98% of Californians live in an area with unhealthy air. That’s a big jump from the country’s average, which is about 40%.
Will Barrett, senior director of clean air advocacy for the association, said vehicles are the biggest source of emissions in California, and ozone pollution as a result. But he said wildfires have caused an uptick in particle pollution.
Barrett said transitioning away from gas-guzzling vehicles could help curb emissions. In terms of wildfire smoke, he said addressing climate change is a bigger part of the conversation than ever.
— CapRadio Staff
Bill would expand eligibility for free community college tuition
More low-income California residents could soon be eligible to attend community college for two-years, tuition-free. The state Assembly's Higher Education Committee has approved a bill that would expand the California College Promise program, which is currently only open to first-time students.
Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, co-author of the bill, told committee members this new bill would expand the program to people of any age.
"We just went through a pandemic where many businesses were closed. Small business owners had to shut down. We would want that person in your district to have a free education and have that same opportunity to improve their quality of life like anyone else," Santiago said.
There is currently no organized opposition to the measure. The bill's next stop is the Assembly Appropriations Committee.
— CapRadio Staff
Lassen County woman survives days after being stranded in snow
Sheena Gullett, from Little Valley, was found safe last week after being lost in a remote area of Lassen County for six days. The Lassen County Sheriff’s Office reported on their Facebook page that Gullett was able to survive by rationing a pack of yogurt and using snow to stay hydrated.
Gullett was traveling with Justin Lonich, also of Little Valley, on a remote road on April 14 when their car got stuck in heavy snow. The two spent the night in the car, but the battery died the following morning, officials said.
The two then attempted to walk to the nearest town for help, but became separated due to whiteout conditions. According to officials, Lonich was able to hitchhike to Susanville to get help.
Sheriff’s deputies returned to the area where the car was stranded and found Gullett sheltering there. She was evaluated by medical personnel and has returned home.
— Adia White, NSPR
California mayors urge Newsom to extend homeless services program
Mayors from California's 10 biggest cities say they are facing a "fiscal cliff" if the state doesn't extend the Homeless Housing, Assistance and Prevention Program (HHAP).
The program has provided $2 billion dollars to local jurisdictions over the past two years to spend on shelters and other services for unhoused people.
Stockton Mayor, Kevin Lincoln, said it's important to keep up the momentum cities have already built using these funds.
"These flexible dollars of HHAP funding is going to allow us to continue to be flexible to meet the most critical and fundamental needs of our unsheltered population," he said.
It's unclear whether HHAP will have any allocations in Gov. Gavin Newsom's revised budget which will be released next month.
— CapRadio Staff
Stories from NPR partner stations are edited by NSPR Staff for digital presentation and credited as requested.
In other news
- Chico Pallet shelters get first occupant: “Chico’s emergency non-congregate housing site began its operations Monday, opening for the first time as a result of the Warren v. Chico settlement agreement.” — Chico Enterprise-Record
- Firefighter settles whistleblower lawsuit, gets back pay: “Former Klamath National Forest seasonal firefighter Pedro Rios ended up on the U.S. Forest Service's "do not rehire" list after a 2020 post on social media about what he perceived as the agency's lax COVID-19 rules during the pandemic, which could have endangered the health of his young son.” — Redding Record Searchlight
- Tehama County Sheriff seeks info about body found off McCoy Road in Red Bluff: “The Tehama County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information regarding the body of a Red Bluff man found April 8 off McCoy Road north of Red Bluff.” — Red Bluff Daily
- Golden State Natural Resources hosts community meetings for proposed forest and wildfire resiliency project with local economic benefits: “Golden State Natural Resources is launching a broad outreach plan to educate the public about its proposed forest and wildfire resilience projects, which include the development of two excess forest vegetation processing facilities in Lassen and Tuolumne counties.” — Lassen County Times
- Five arrested in connection to Colusa County illegal indoor marijuana grow: “Five people were arrested Thursday after the Colusa County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics Task Force served a search warrant in connection to a suspected large-scale indoor marijuana grow.” — The Appeal-Democrat
In case you missed it
- Chico Pallet shelter site for the unhoused to open, officials say — NSPR (Headlines, April 25)
- Bill would require schools to provide information on firearm safety — CapRadio (Headlines, April 25)
- Gold Nugget Day parade comes to Paradise — Chico Enterprise-Record
- TRAX to offer transit connections to Shasta County — Red Bluff Daily News
- Yet another setback for PG&E wildfire victims — CalMatters
- PG&E pays property taxes for homeowners — The Appeal-Democrat
- Interview: A UCSF doctor calculates the risk of not masking up in public transit — CapRadio