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.

Daniel Incandela / Flickr CC

California’s drought has killed so many trees that the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection is adopting emergency regulations to remove them. The board is concerned about the growing threat of wildfires.

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.

The body of a 17-year-old boy presumed drowned on Friday in the Sacramento River was recovered Monday about a mile south of where he was last seen struggling near Woodson Bridge near Corning. Members of the Tehama County Sheriff's Boating Safety Unit and Dive Team made the discovery about 10 this morning. The Chico Enterprise-Record says the body has been identified by family, but the Sheriff’s Office is declining to release the name.

A combination of small givebacks from employees and a bold development gamble should guide the town of Williams away from financial shoals, its city administrator said.

Facing a budget deficit of $367,000 would likely be more than welcome in most larger cities in California. But in a valley town of just over 5,100, that works out to $71 per person.

Perhaps best known for Granzella’s Restaurant, Williams is somewhat dependent on freeway traffic, according to City Administrator Frank Kennedy. Specifically, gasoline sales taxes.

Jon Hayes / Flickr, Creative Commons

Shasta County has its first case of West Nile virus for 2015 — a dead bird.

The Shasta Mosquito and Vector Control District says a dead bird was found with the virus just north of Anderson. Mosquitoes transmit the virus from bird to bird when they bite them.

The virus is fatal to many birds, so a dead bird can serve as an early warning that the virus is in the area. The virus can also be deadly for humans and horses if they are bitten.

Authorities using boats and a miniature robot sub are combing the Sacramento River in hopes of locating an apparent drowning victim, who vanished near Woodson’s Bridge Wednesday.

The Tehama County Sheriff’s Office reports that it has identified the missing teen but is not releasing his name. Authorities said the deceased was 17 years old.

Sgt. Rod Daugherty with the office said authorities raced to the scene after an initial call reporting a possible drowning shortly after 2 p.m.

A 14-year-old Chico boy was rushed to Enloe Medical Center with serious injuries this afternoon after being struck by a car.

The incident occurred just after 1 p.m. at the intersection of Fifth and Sherman avenues. Police, quoting a witness, said the boy, who was on a bicycle, pedaled through a stop sign and into the path of a motorist. The intersection is a two-way stop.

The boy, who was not wearing a helmet, suffered major injuries but is expected to survive.

Police determined that the driver was not impaired and that the cyclist was at fault. 

Following a lengthy hearing with little fanfare, Chico’s City Council narrowly approved an $87 million operating budget for the upcoming fiscal year.

The amount is about the same as last year’s figure.

The total budget, which includes spending on big, so-called capital projects — typically large infrastructure paid for in part by state and or federal funds — slipped $13 million to just under $110 million.