Public schools take center stage in battles over civil rights Chico Unified School District sued by conservative group

photo courtesy of EMS
Michaele Turnage Young

by Natalie Hanson
posted Jan. 19

Civil rights advocates say that battles over student rights have become polarized by far-right “special interests,” and they foresee a fight ahead to protect childrens’ rights.

Those fights may involve issues ranging from protection against discrimination to materials students are allowed to access and read. And at a Jan. 18 Board of Trustees meeting for Chico Unified School District (CUSD), officials responded to concerns raised by a lawsuit filed by an organization that supports many of the political right’s causes with court fights. read more

Chico State spirals into deep hole Commentary: "The trust Hutchinson wants to rebuild may be hard won"

photo courtesy of Ariana Powell

by Ariana Powell
posted Jan. 4

It’s been two years since the start of Professor David Stachura and Chico State’s spiral into a deep hole. Stachura’s alleged decision to engage in a “consensual” relationship with one of his students started it all. Following that, Chico State decided to keep the investigation, and later reports of violent threats, from its faculty, staff and student population.

Even though I am not a part of the biology department at Chico State, there are multiple aspects surrounding the handling of the Stachura situation that raised red flags for me -– both as a Chico State student and a woman. read more

Covid data collection slows in Butte County and elsewhere Older data will make it harder to track trends, Hammond says

photo courtesy of Christian Hammond, who used Butte County Public Health data for his Covid-tracking database.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Nov. 17

During the past few months, Butte County -– like many California counties — has scaled down its local COVID data collection process.

The change comes after two years of maintaining a database displayed on the Public Health Department website that was based on data gathered daily from local medical service providers.

Now the county is relying on state data that is updated only once per week -– and that worries data wizards like Christian Hammond. Hammond, who runs the Unofficial Butte County COVID-19 Dashboard -– separate from the dashboard managed by public health –- said only getting updated data weekly will further impede what is already a slow, flawed way to study the novel coronavirus. read more

Chico’s Stonewall responds to parent complaint, media report Stonewall Alliance gives LGBTQ 101 workshops

photo courtesy of Andrea Mox

by Natalie Hanson
posted Nov.11

Stonewall Alliance Chico’s Executive Director Andrea Mox was worried last month when a parent at Blue Oak Charter complained to school staff that their child came home asking about terms for LGBTQ+ people after attending a suicide prevention workshop.

Mox said the parent complained to the school and local media that they did not know their child would be attending a “sex education” workshop. The parent, quoted by a local news station without giving a name, was angry that their 12-year-old child was learning about terms like “pansexual.” read more

Cash rolls into races for 3 school board seats New PAC helps fund conservative candidates in unusually partisan race

photo by Karen Laslo
CUSD school board candidates in hotly-contested races for three seats answered questions at a September forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters.

by Natalie Hanson
posted Oct. 14

A trio of candidates — two of whom are challenging incumbents — are backed by a new, conservative political action committee that has raised an unusually large amount of money that is filtering into the races for three hotly contested seats on the Chico Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees.

The candidates -– Rebecca Konkin in District 1, Matt Tennis in District 4 and Logan Wilson in District 5 -– are funded in part by Chico Parents for In-Person Learning, and the three have raised far more than their opponents. The Chico Parents group formed a political action committee (PAC) in March 2021 as it unsuccessfully attempted to recall every CUSD board member, except for the group’s co-founder, Tennis. read more

TEK celebrates Indigenous Peoples Day Chicoans visit Verbena Fields to work and observe

photo by Karen Laslo
Master TEK Practitioner Ali Meders-Knight prepares willow for basket-making.

posted Oct. 10

Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated today in Chico with something resembling an “open house” at Verbena Fields, where visitors and volunteers have been learning about and practicing ecosystem restoration through the Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) program.

Community members were arriving at Verbena Fields at the end of East 1st Avenue late this morning to help out or learn more.

The Traditional Ecological Stewardship Program encourages “ecosystem replenishment” with native, climate-change-adapted plants. TEK offers field trips for children and volunteers gather weekly for weed gathering, willow care and vernal pool development. Visit the TEK website to learn more about the indigenous-led land management program. — Leslie Layton read more