Butte County


Striking Butte County employees finished up a two-day walk-out Tuesday, hopeful that continued pressure will force the county to relent in negotiations, which have reached an impasse.

About two dozen members of the United Public Employees of California Local 792 stood silently in the back of the gallery as the Board of Supervisors met.

Negotiator Steve Allen invited the supervisors to attend upcoming bargaining sessions, saying their presence might speed a compromise. Allen said little progress has been made since negotiations began in April.

Appeals Court OKs Ruling Overturning Murder Convictions

Oct 27, 2015
Public Domain / Flickr, Creative Commons

A California Death Row inmate convicted of murdering a Chico doctor and his wife nearly 30 years ago may face a new trial.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Monday upheld a district court decision that found prosecutors were substantially motivated by race when they rejected the only prospective African American juror from Steven Crittenden's trial. Prosecutors have said the juror objected to the death penalty.

Marc Albert / NSPR

There may have been plenty of gray in the room, but absolutely no sign of fatigue or disengagement Saturday, as local environmentalists celebrated four decades of activism.

Michael McGinnis is a former Chico mayor and longstanding member of the Butte Environmental Council. The group celebrated the 40th anniversary of its founding with a gala dinner at the Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

“We’ve has some trials and tribulations over the decades, but you know, what a great group,” McGinnis said.

Marc Albert

A Salinas man linked to a series of Butte County bank robberies, was sentenced to 25 years to life in state prison Thursday, District Attorney Mike Ramsey announced.

Joe Fedrico-Nunez Martinez, 46, plead no contest to bank robbery and admitted to two prior “strike” offenses and was immediately sentenced. Martinez was accused of holding up a US Bank branch in downtown Chico on June 17 and Rabobank branches in Paradise and Chico the following week.

Martinez was also linked to two bank robberies in Castro Valley and one in Monterey.

Sarah Bohannon / NSPR

It’s officially October. That means it’s also officially flu season.

Thursday in Butte County, health officials were prepared. They put on at least three different flu vaccination clinics where residents could get free flu shots. One was even a drive-thru clinic put on by Enloe Medical Center at Chico’s Calvary Chapel. There residents just drove up in their car, filled out a form and stuck out their arm.

California Department of Water Resources

A reluctance to fully endorse the proposed Sites Reservoir proved the only real point of contention during an otherwise routine and cordial meeting of the Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday morning.

Supervisor Larry Wahl implored colleagues to send an official letter endorsing the project to the state water commission. Wahl said the letter could help pressure the commission into approving money for the new reservoir. But support wasn’t universal, at least not yet.

Andy Langager / Flickr, CC

The first death this year from West Nile Virus in the North State has been reported in Butte County. It’s the tenth death from West Nile Virus in the state.

County health officials said in a press release Friday that the disease claimed the life of a senior citizen who was confirmed to have the most severe form of the virus, which is neuro-invasive. It can lead to meningitis, as well as encephalitis.

Andy Langager / Flickr, CC

New weekly numbers came out last week for West Nile virus. Eighty-three human cases have now been confirmed throughout the state.

The North State is home to the counties with the most confirmed human cases. Butte County has the most in the state with 36. Glenn County follows with 12 cases. Yuba is tied with Tulare County for third place. They each have four.  

Last year California saw record levels of West Nile virus activity. More than 800 human cases were confirmed – the most in nearly a decade. This year numbers are still on the rise. 

Plans to restructure and expand the Butte County Jail took moved forward Tuesday, with the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approving documents that should help secure state funding that will cover most of the cost.

The board also approved a contract for designing a new evidence and morgue building for the sheriff’s office.

Both the evidence and morgue building and the jail are considered functionally obsolete. The 614-inmate jail was built in 1963 and expanded in 1994.

With the approval and cooperation of every municipality in the county, the Butte County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take the next step forward toward its planned new jail.

The action Tuesday involves signing an application for grant funding from Sacramento. The grant will cover about 90 percent of the cost. The county’s share is being collected though surcharges on building permits in each city and all unincorporated areas.

The new jail would be built adjacent to the existing facility in Oroville.