Awaiting trial in connection with a gruesome homicide, 42-year-old Charles Blalock of Paradise on Monday changed his plea to no contest.

Blalock will be sentenced to 25 years to life at a hearing in August, said Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey.

Blalock is accused of beating to death Brian Clouser, his 54-year-old disabled landlord, at his Concow home last May 31. According to Ramsey, the 6-foot-7 Blalock attacked Clouser after accusing him of a supposed peeping incident.

CSU, Chico campus map

This story was updated Tuesday, June 2, at 1:30 p.m. 

A natural gas leak on the Chico State campus Tuesday led to evacuations.
The leak, from a line on Arcadian Avenue, prompted school officials to evacuate Holt Hall, the Aymer J. Hamilton building and Modoc Hall. All students, faculty, staff and residents were advised to stay away from those areas as well as Mansion and Legion avenues.
Pacific Gas and Electric repaired the line by 12:45 p.m. and the affected buildings reopened for business.

City of Redding water customers have saved over 399 million gallons of water, or a 36 percent reduction compared to last year, according to a press release from the City Manager’s Office. For the period from May 17–23, residents conserved more than 86 million gallons, a 38 percent reduction from last year. Officials say the cooler weather may have contributed to the reduction in usage, but continue to stress that as the temperatures go up, the need to conserve will also increase. Pamphlets explaining the importance of water conservation will be sent out in the next water bill.

Michael O’Brien, who has spent 23 years in a Chico Police Department uniform, was named the department’s new chief Thursday.

O’Brien, already a lieutenant, will succeed interim Chief Mike Dunbaugh June 5.

City manager Mark Orme praised O’Brien’s character, integrity and outlook. Orme predicted that O’Brien will garner the respect and trust of rank and file officers, elected officials, administrators and local citizens.

A lodging establishment that generated nearly 1,000 calls for service from the Redding Police Department over a recent three-year period has been served with an inspection warrant. According to a police department press release, the Americana Lodge on Pine Street was served at about 8 a.m. Wednesday. The inspection team is comprised of inspectors from the City of Redding Code Enforcement, Building Division, Fire Department, Electric Utility, and Shasta County Environmental Health. 

Red Bluff is mourning the loss of Larry Snell, a captain in that city’s volunteer fire department who died Tuesday.

Snell suffered an undetermined medical issue while hiking at the Whiskeytown Lake National Recreation Area. He was 52. The department posted a photographic tribute to Snell on its Facebook page. A brief statement notes Snell died “doing what he loved most, hiking and taking in nature.” Friends, colleagues and relatives have added their condolences.

The Meadow Lane School in Anderson was locked down briefly Wednesday morning after police received a call that there may have been a man with a gun on campus.

Once officers arrived they determined that the incident was a domestic dispute between a couple who are in the middle of a custody dispute. The woman had told school officials that the man had a gun. Once police determined that there was no gun, the lockdown was lifted. The man had apparently been trying to serve the woman with legal documents.

Man Drowns At Oroville Wildlife Area In Gridley

May 27, 2015
California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Authorities say a man drowned at the Oroville Wildlife Area near Palm Avenue in Gridley while trying to cross a pond carrying a rock.

Twenty-one-year-old Austin Harr was reportedly attempting to swim across a pond Monday while holding a rock estimated to weigh about 10 pounds.

His friends called for help when he did not emerge from the water.

It's unclear why Harr was swimming with a rock, although California Highway Patrol says alcohol may have played a role.

Sarah Bohannon contributed to this report.

Two small quakes shook an area about 10 miles north of Chico Tuesday morning, but it’s likely you did not feel them. The USGS says a 3.0 shaker hit at 8:01 in the foothills north of Pine Creek in Tehama County. The second quake hit just three minutes later in Butte County, south of Pine Creek. Both were at a depth of 10.5 miles.

Meanwhile a 4.3 quake shook the north coast Tuesday morning 30 miles west south west of Eureka. That quake struck at 3:17. There are no reports of damage or injuries from any of the quakes. 

Late-night highway construction will cause delays for drivers using state Highway 65 through Rocklin this week, Caltrans said.

A section of the highway will be closed as workers build an overpass and interchange for Whitney Ranch Parkway between Twelve Bridges Drive and Sunset Boulevard.

All southbound traffic will be detoured between 11 p.m. Tuesday night and 4 o’clock Wednesday morning. Northbound traffic will be detoured between 11 p.m. Wednesday and 4 a.m. Thursday.

Additional closures may be required.