Butte County

Dennis Diver, an accountant and former mayor of Oroville, pleaded no-contest to embezzlement charges yesterday.

Though he faces up to four years and eight months, Diver will likely escape any hard time and be sentenced to probation only, according to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey. Ramsey said Diver has repaid 45 percent of the amount he was accused of stealing.

Sarah Bohannon / NSPR

They may be a stealthier way to sneak a puff, but electronic cigarettes may soon face the same restrictions as their low-tech cousins, at least in Butte County.

Among other items up for consideration Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will consider adding so-called e-cigarettes to its existing tobacco regulations.

Sarah Bohannon / NSPR

Dried-out and sputtering residential wells are prompting officials in Butte County to declare an official water emergency.

The designation, if approved by the Board of Supervisors next week, would make the county eligible for potential emergency funding. And starting Tuesday, July 28, a free Chico filling station will open at Locust and 20th streets.

Casey Hatcher is a spokeswoman for Butte County. 

“We want to make sure people have water for everyday household functions,” she said.  

Julochka / Flickr CC

In a local game of pass the buck, it’s Chico book lovers that will likely end up in the lurch.

A dispute between city and county leaders over who should pay for expanded library hours is back in Chico’s court after the Butte County Board of Supervisors opted Tuesday not to provide the funding.

Beginning July 1, the Chico branch of the Butte County Public Library will be open 14 fewer hours a week. The branch will open two hours later Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and an hour later Thursdays and Fridays. Monday hours will be eliminated entirely.

A former highway patrolman, fired after being convicted of inappropriate behavior on the Central Coast, was hauled before a Butte County Judge Tuesday as prosecutors presented testimony alleging he committed lewd acts on a child.

The alleged victim in the case is a boy younger than 14. The abuse allegedly occurred between March and June of last year and happened in the Chico area.  Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the defendant, 34-year-old Jacob Duenas, was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of child molestation in Monterey County in 2008. 

Plans to reconfigure and enlarge the Butte County jail took another step forward Tuesday as the Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved revised proposal.

When all is said and done, the jail will be able to house 666 inmates, up from 614 today.

The existing jail was built half a century ago and expanded in the mid-90s. Cells in the original building will be turned into program and classroom space. Sheriff Korey Honea said rehabilitation of inmates depends on such programs and that the new facility will also improve conditions in other ways.

Rafael Gonzalez / Flickr CC

It may never be bustling, but a busier terminal with more flights to more destinations may be the reality at the Chico municipal airport somewhere down the line Butte County officials were told Tuesday morning.

The bullish assessment was offered to the Butte County Board of Supervisors by Tom Reich, a representative of AvPorts, a management firm hired by Chico to run the airport after Skywest airlines pulled the plug on its passenger service last December.

A multimillion dollar expansion of the Butte County jail is expected to take another step forward Tuesday as the Board of Supervisors considers a revised plan.

The proposed new wing will house virtually all of the county’s inmates. If completed as planned, the jail will be able to hold 52 more inmates than today.

Much of the existing jail is slated for remodeling into instructional space. Officials believe proper vocational and other training can reduce the percentage of released inmates that return to a life of crime.

James Moran / Flickr CC

Butte County officials are hoping to streamline the path enabling a new, sun-loving “crop” to join a Butte County landscape dominated by almond, walnut and olive orchards. Wednesday evening in Oroville the public had its first opportunity to weigh in.

The plants, officials say, will generate jobs and help California wean itself from fossil fuels. The crop isn’t something you eat; though in most cases, the plants are considered green. It’s electricity — generated at large solar power plants.