Heavy equipment used to remove belongings in Bidwell Park As campers are pressed to move, protesters ask where they'll go

photo by Karen Laslo
Loading up belongings for removal.

A bulldozer arrived early today in lower Bidwell Park when city employees, accompanied by Chico Police Department Target Team members, began clearing what Councilor Scott Huber said was “abandoned personal property” at the horseshoe pits encampment.

The action follows a vote by the new conservative majority on the Council to enforce a ban on camping in the park. Huber stood with about 60 protesters who, with signs, banners and conversation, pointed out that the homeless living in the park have nowhere to go. read more

An election ends Gridley’s “political slumber” Chico Democrats look to the small farming town for lessons

photo courtesy of Catalina Sanchez
Sanchez will be the first Latina to serve on the Gridley City Council.

by Leslie Layton

There are many things to say about the Nov. 3 General Election, including this: in southern Butte County, the small town of Gridley has awoken from decades of political slumber.

Three incumbent city councilmembers were ousted in Gridley, and two of the candidates who won their seats are apparently the first Mexican-Americans elected to the Gridley City Council. This fact in itself is surprising, because about half of Gridley’s residents are identified as Hispanic or Latino, with the vast majority of that population coming from families that immigrated from Mexico. read more

Conflict of interest in Stephen Vest killing probe? Shooting sergeant member of Ramsey investigative team

from Butte County District Attorney website
Chico police Sgt. Nick Bauer, a member of the DA’s OIS investigation team, worked on the report about the killing of Mark Jensen.

by Dave Waddell

The Chico Police Department sergeant who shot Stephen Vest last month is a member of a designated team of officers that investigates officer-involved shootings in Butte County.

Sgt. Nick Bauer has been part of District Attorney Mike Ramsey’s Officer Involved Shooting/Critical Incident Protocol Team, which Ramsey has described as made up of “seasoned” law enforcement officers from agencies throughout the county.

In killing Vest on Oct. 14, Bauer fired his revolver twice, while officer Tyler Johnson shot eight or nine times in two seconds, Ramsey said. Vest was armed with a folding knife with a roughly 4-inch blade. Other than Vest, no one was hurt in the incident. read more

Reformers want outside probe into police killing Stephen Vest slipped through the cracks, observers say

photo courtesy of Lisa Currier
Stephen Vest as a youngster in Paradise.

by Dave Waddell and Leslie Layton

Chico police reform advocates are questioning the independence of the investigation underway into the killing of Stephen Vest, who was shot Oct. 14 by an officer and his sergeant after Vest’s behavior frightened motorists and passersby.

Reform advocates want a state investigation into the killing outside the local Petco store. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey insists his system for investigating police shootings ensures impartiality and falls within the purview of his position. read more

COVID-19 outreach events reach hundreds of needy families Ethnic disparity in positive cases appears to drop

photo by Kate Sheehy/Semillas
Reyna Nolta from the Hispanic Resource Council at the COVID-19 prevention event in Orland on Saturday.

by Leslie Layton
A COVID-19 prevention campaign targeting low-income and minority communities in the region — that public health officials believe has been effective — is reaching hundreds of families as it winds down for this calendar year.

Spearheaded by the Hispanic Resource Council of Northern California, staffers from a host of social service agencies and Butte County Public Health have distributed more than 2,000 masks, more than 1,000 bottles of hand sanitizer, information packets and educational materials translated into Spanish at events throughout the North State. The latest events, held Oct. 17 in Orland, Chico and Oroville, were the last big projects in the 2020 prevention campaign although other facets of the campaign will continue. read more

Greenpeace floats hot air balloon over Chico farm Message to governor: Stop fossil fuel extraction

photo by Karen Laslo
The Greenpeace protest balloon floats up over the north Chico farm in the early morning light.

by Karen Laslo
guest commentary

If you were driving west on Sacramento Avenue past the CSA GRUB Farm early Oct. 8, you might have seen a big blue and green globe floating above the tall trees on the edge of the farm.

It was a Greenpeace hot air balloon, painted to look like planet Earth and trailing a giant banner with a definite and firm message to the governor of California: “Newsom: Stop fueling the flames.”

The message was in reference to the massive climate change-driven wildfires that have scorched Northern California. read more