Stately Blue Oak a Chico Heritage Tree Tree probably took root after end of Civil War

photo story by Karen Laslo

This Blue Oak (Quercus douglassi) is one of 10 Chico Heritage Trees. It has a 53-inch diameter, quite large for a Blue Oak because they grow very slowly. Chico’s urban forester, Richie Bamlet, estimates the Oak is about 150 years old. It can be viewed at the east end of Baroni Park or by bicycling down to the end of Preservation Oak Drive off East 20th Street.

If Bamlet is correct about the tree's age, it took root during Reconstruction after the American Civil War. For more information about Chico’s Heritage Tree Program click here or watch for more ChicoSol photo features on this topic.

DA: Deputy killed armed man in self-defense Sniper Calkins was almost 130 yards away from Jensen

Butte County District Attorney’s slide

by Dave Waddell

A Butte County sheriff’s sniper was nearly 130 yards away from a drunken, pistol-waving Mark Jensen when the officer shot him dead with a rifle Aug. 17 in the roadway in front of his Durham residence.

The distance between the two men was about the same as from the back of one end zone to the back of the other end zone on a football field.

Jensen never fired his .45 caliber Glock semi-automatic, but the sniper, deputy Matt Calkins, peering through his rifle’s scope, believed Jensen was pointing the handgun at him and fired in self-defense, Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey ruled this week. Calkins was in a prone position behind a tree in an orchard wearing camouflage clothing, including a dirt-colored helmet, when he pulled the trigger on his .308 caliber rifle. read more

Desmond’s dad: Meeting set with AG Civil rights attorney reached out to Xavier Becerra

photo courtesy of the Phillips family

by Dave Waddell

A prominent lawyer representing the family of Desmond Phillips, a mentally ill young black man killed March 17 by Chico police, has arranged a face-to-face meeting with state Attorney General Xavier Becerra to discuss the shooting, according to David Phillips, Desmond’s father.

The meeting will be held Nov. 9 at the AG’s office in San Francisco and include David Phillips and his attorney, John L. Burris of Oakland, Phillips said.

“Mr. Burris was the one who got the meeting with Xavier Becerra,” David Phillips told ChicoSol this week. “The purpose is to present our evidence … to have those officers fired and brought up on murder charges.” read more

Migrant Ed students present to BCOE A summer institute changes lives

by Leslie Layton

Five teenagers from this area who have participated recently in Migrant Education summer leadership programs described a transformational experience in presentations Monday to the Butte County Office of Education board.

Migrant Ed student presentations

Oct. 16 Butte County Office of Education board meeting

Marco Antonio Villa Cruz

"One of the most interesting things I learned was about how Martin Luther King fought for the freedom of African Americans. He wanted a new way of living and he believed we could do it."

Angel Barrera

The 14-year-old Gridley student visited sites in Washington, D.C., including, he said, the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Marine Corps War Memorial and Lincoln Memorial.

Noemi Chavez

"I was forced to get out of my comfort zone and make friends."

Victor Jimenez

He couldn't get into the flamenco guitar elective, because it was full, but liked theater "even better."

Janet Velazquez

"My parents work their butts off and I have to make them proud."

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Noemi Chavez, a Gridley High School senior, said the Migrant Student Leadership Institute (MSLI) program at California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), “taught me how to be myself.”

“Three or four years ago, I never would have said I was born in Mexico,” Chavez told the board. “MSLI taught me not to hide where I came from. It gave us hope. Now I’m applying to college.” read more

Report on bias incidents and hate crimes to national database Submit your report through ChicoSol

ChicoSol is partnering with newsrooms around the country to create a national database of hate crimes and bias incidents for use by journalists and civil-rights organizations. There’s no authoritative data on hate incidents in America, and the Documenting Hate project led by the nonprofit ProPublica wants to change that.

If you’ve been a victim or witness, tell us your story here by filling out the form on the “Read more” page and submitting it the national database. This is not a report to law enforcement.

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Suicide prevention event draws hundreds Emotional remembrances mark Saturday's walk

photo by Dave Waddell

More than 300 people gathered Saturday at City Plaza and then walked through downtown Chico in support of suicide prevention.

Chico’s eighth annual Out of the Darkness Walk included some emotional remembrances from nine area residents, each holding a paper heart representing being touched by suicide or attempted suicide.

The event drew 307 walkers and raised nearly $10,500 that will be used “to prevent suicide, to defeat the stigma surrounding mental illness, and to support survivors of suicide loss and those at risk of suicide,” said walker co-organizer Lisa Currier, who directs Crisis Care Advocacy and Triage.