Valley’s Edge opponents worry about environmental impacts Fight over foothill development has wracked Chico for decades

photo courtesy of Steve Evans
From left, Steve Evans, Michael McGinnis and Kelly Meagher announced the No way San Jose campaign in 1988 to stop development next to Upper Bidwell Park.

by Leslie Layton
posted Feb. 4

Thirty-five years ago, a small, progressive coalition stopped development in the lower foothills adjacent to Upper Bidwell Park with the rallying cry, “No way San Jose.”

That area has been protected under the name of Bidwell Ranch since the 1988 referendum that stopped the project. Voters in favor of stopping the Rancho Arroyo project wanted to protect northwest Chico -– not so much from inevitable population growth -– but from the kind of suburban sprawl that had come to be associated with California cities like San Jose and Fresno. read more

Mike Ramsey’s backward notions on mental illness Butte County’s forever DA has history of demonizing in-crisis victims

photo by Karen Laslo

Butte County DA Mike Ramsey

by Dave Waddell
commentary posted Dec. 17

I know Butte County has an elderly district attorney, but who knew Mike Ramsey’s thinking on mental illness was so prehistoric?

I am referring to a quote from Ramsey, Butte’s 35-year (!) DA, in Leslie Layton’s ChicoSol story about the difficult societal problems presented by Thomas David Bona.

Bona is a serial criminal living with schizophrenia and a multitude of delusions. He thinks he’s a member of the Sureños gang, which he isn’t. He also seems to have violently acted out his perceived ties to “The Sopranos” television crime family. read more

Tuscan Water District ballot-counting cancelled; election to be “redone” Ballot deficiencies had "consequences," attorney says

photo by Karen Laslo
Deseret’s facility on Wilson Landing Road.

by Leslie Layton
posted Sept. 29

Ballot-counting in the election on the Tuscan Water District (TWD) was cancelled Sept. 27 because of defects in the noticing process, the Butte County Clerk-Recorder’s office has said.

In a press release Sept. 28 -– the day the ballots were to be counted -– the clerk-recorder released a statement saying that concerns had been “raised regarding whether adequate notice” to voters had been provided. Today Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs said the election “wasn’t noticed properly and will be redone.” read more

Saturday event recalls people killed by police Memorial brings 7 families together on fifth anniversary of Tyler Rushing’s death

Paula Rushing with her late son Tyler

by Dave Waddell
posted July 21

The year was 1976 and Paula Staben from Santa Paula was a senior child development major at Chico State. She lived off campus at Gordon Hall, an “all-girls dormitory.” As that year’s activities director for Alpha Chi, Paula frequented the sorority’s distinctive yellow house at the corner of Fourth and Orient streets. There, she coordinated events such as theme dinners and movie nights.

Paula completed her bachelor’s degree, returned to Ventura County, and married Scott Rushing, a real estate broker and property manager. She became mom to Tyler and, a couple of years later, to Hillary. She directed a preschool. She launched a 17-year public school teaching career after her children went off to school. read more

Disinformation dampens enthusiasm for Covid vaccinations In Butte County, misinformation appears to affect case rates

This graph from Butte County Public Health’s Covid page shows the comparatively low vaccination rate as cases surged nationwide in recent months.

by Natalie Hanson
posted July 7

As California assesses the lasting impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, public health experts say they are concerned about managing future health emergencies after battling a disinformation crisis.

For the last two years, county public health departments have been tasked to respond to a pandemic unlike anything seen in decades. As guidance from the California Public Health Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for managing local crises shifted weekly, local departments like Butte County’s faced an enormous task of keeping the public informed using rapidly changing methods, including Facebook and YouTube – with mixed results. read more

Public health experts: the vaccine is safe for babies and young children Covid vaccine rumors scare parents, leaving children at risk

This graph from the Public Health Covid dashboard shows the number of confirmed and probable cases of Covid by age in the county since March 14, 2020, including more than 5,000 confirmed cases among children

by Natalie Hanson
posted July 7

California children are lagging behind adults in vaccination rates, and misinformation about vaccine safety may increase risks for families, health experts say.

The battle over scientific data versus politicized debate erupted in Butte County, where parents and political leaders at times pushed false information about the virus to argue against shutdowns and removal of masking requirements.

While vaccines for those younger than 5 were approved in June, vaccines for children older than 5 have been available for months. But the state’s Health Equity dashboard shows that statewide, in the 5-11 age bracket only 36% are fully vaccinated and in the 12-17 bracket 67% fully vaccinated. The average vaccination rates for adults in California range from 78% to 85%. read more