Butte County

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Despite earnest pleas from some, Butte County officials further tightened the county’s restrictions on marijuana cultivation Tuesday, effectively hiking fines and streamlining the process for placing a lien on property.

Drafted by the county’s attorney, the changes were billed as small tweaks to a county ordinance aimed at reducing enforcement costs and further deterring illegal grows.

Tim Snellings directs Butte County’s Department of Development Services.

Rusty Blazenhoff / http://bit.ly/1PKK2mI

Butte County officials will consider strengthening their anti-marijuana ordinance Tuesday, making fines immediate and adding civil forfeiture to the mix.

The proposed changes to the ordinance, penned by County Counsel Bruce Alpert, will be considered by the Board of Supervisors.

In a report, Alpert said the changes would streamline the process and reduce enforcement costs.

Sarah Bohannon / NSPR

Water tables are continuing to ebb but not drastically, according to an annual report to be submitted Tuesday to the Butte County Water Commission.

Officials recorded that on average, ground water levels appear to be receding by about two feet a year in most places in the county, and double that in areas with large scale pumping for irrigation. That’s pretty much in line with the trend over the last few decades.

Christina Buck is a water resources scientist with the Butte County Department of Water and Resource Conservation.

Alexodus / http://bit.ly/1WCKTfR

A veteran North State lawman is out on bail after being caught over the holidays allegedly smuggling 200 pounds of marijuana into Pennsylvania.

Yuba County sheriff’s deputy Christopher Heath was on vacation from his job on a joint Yuba/Sutter county anti-drug task force at the time of his arrest.

Heath, along with two others, all of the unincorporated Bangor area of Butte County, were arrested last week in York County Pennsylvania.

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Early Thanksgiving morning, a man was shot in the neck by a Paradise police officer after a brief chase and a crash. That man, Andrew Thomas, died Saturday.

The shooting happened as Thomas was attempting to exit his rolled over vehicle. It spurred controversy, especially after Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey cleared officer Patrick Feaster of any criminal wrongdoing. 

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An officer-involved shooting in Paradise has sparked local and national interest and outrage. 

About 150 gathered in Paradise Saturday to protest a ruling by Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, in which he found Officer Patrick Feaster was negligent, but not criminally so, in the November shooting of 26-year-old Andrew Thomas. The video has been made public, and that’s given new life to the story.

Some background:

Gale Vineyards

Host Earl Bloor speaks with Nate Thompson, vineyard manager at Gale Vineyards in Durham. 

Sarah Bohannon / NSPR

Last year’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act has launched a feeding frenzy among agencies, each gunning for the head of the table as regulatory plans for the state’s groundwater basins are formed over the next seven years. 


Kacey Gardner

Chico officials and the public are considering safety improvements and a general facelift for the city’s iconic thoroughfare, The Esplanade. The completion date at this stage is purely conceptual, but they’re looking to make the plans concrete. 

Today, synchronized traffic lights keep vehicles rolling on the one-time highway segment at a sedate 27 miles an hour. It functions less well for others.

Scott Thomas Smith

Library users in Butte County will get a few more hours under a reorganization plan approved by the Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Most of the changes will be behind the scenes as officials work to partially automate the sorting of returned materials. Automated borrowing stations will also appear.

The most important change for library customers is scheduling. Under the approved plan: