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Butte County ends COVID-19 proclamation | Lawyers dispute Chico shelter rules | Dueling gas relief proposals

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The latest North State and California news on our airwaves for Wednesday, April 27.

Butte County supervisors terminate COVID-19 emergency proclamation

The Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday ended the county’s emergency proclamation for COVID-19.

The board’s vote was unanimous in doing away with the proclamation that was put in place in March 2020.

Andy Pickett, the county’s chief administrative officer, said the proclamation had been tied to emergency money going to the county, but that funding has ended.

“So, at this point, there is no reason that I can see for keeping the proclamation in place,” Pickett said. “Therefore, I recommend terminating the proclamation.”

The board also approved a new contract for Butte County Public Health Director Danette York. She’ll be paid a salary of about $163,000 through June of 2025.

— Andre Byik, NSPR

Judge to review rules at Chico’s homeless shelter site

A federal judge is expected to consider arguments Thursday regarding proposed rules at the city of Chico’s recently established shelter site for the homeless.

According to court papers, lawyers are arguing over whether curfews and criminal warrant checks comply with low-barrier requirements for the city-run housing site. A judge will also consider a muzzle policy for pet dogs, as well as storage bin limits.

The housing site, which is located on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, is made up of 177 individual shelter units. It opened this week for people who get a referral from certain city officials or shelter staff.

The city was legally required to set up the site as part of a settlement reached with a group of unhoused people who sued the city last year as police were removing homeless encampments from public property.

— Andre Byik, NSPR

DWR shows tech that measures groundwater from the air

The state Department of Water Resources Monday demonstrated its new Airborne Electromagnetic Survey, which will help evaluate groundwater.

Department Director Karla Nemeth described the new technology, where a helicopter suspends an electrified coil above the ground and the readings create an image of where and how much water there is.

"It's one of many cool new technologies that the department is implementing, in addition to forecasting improvements, understanding what's happening with our snow line in the Sierra,” Nemeth said. “And it's all of these things working together that's going to put California on a secure path to manage and adapt to climate change."

Groundwater is the primary source of drinking water for most of the state’s public water systems. Six million people are dependent on it.

— CapRadio Staff

California lawmakers, governor at odds over gas relief

California state lawmakers and Gov. Gavin Newsom are at a stalemate over tax rebates to offset rising gas prices.

The governor originally proposed rebates for drivers last month, but top legislative Democrats say they want tax rebates targeted to lower- and middle-income earners.

Both have doubled down on their respective proposals. But Newsom said Tuesday he’s confident they'll be able to reach an agreement.

“[The] Legislature made proposals. I made a proposal,” he said. “It’s just about reconciling the modest differences and some technical strategies on how best to distribute the money.”

Newsom said he’ll have a better idea of the state’s finances next month, when tax collection numbers come in.

Republican lawmakers have criticized their Democratic colleagues for not suspending the gas tax, which they argue would immediately lower prices at the pump.

— CapRadio Staff

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

In case you missed it

  • COVID in Shasta County: CA conducting antibody study: “The California Department of Public Health is asking households in Shasta County and six other counties to take an at-home antibody test to help the state track the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies and how the numbers change over time.” — Redding Record Searchlight
  • Low Cost Health Screening at PDH scheduled: “Plumas District Hospital will offer its popular annual Low-Cost Health Screening during the first two weeks of May. The event will follow the format introduced in 2021 with participant lab draws taking place in the hospital laboratory.” — Plumas News
  • Allergies or COVID? Emergency physicians explain how to tell the difference: “The springtime sniffles are here, and it can be tricky to determine whether common symptoms are due to COVID-19 or seasonal allergies. The American College of Emergency Physicians offers tips to distinguish between the two and determine when symptoms become an emergency.” — Lassen County Times
  • Siskiyou County housing plans need residents' input: “Siskiyou County officials, who are in the middle of making plans for housing needs in the unincorporated communities, have scheduled a virtual meeting this week to get residents' participation in the process.” — The Siskiyou Daily News

In other news 

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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.