Marc Albert

Reporter, Morning Edition Host

North State Public Radio reporter Marc Albert joined the staff in 2010 as a morning program host. Formerly a reporter at the Oakland Tribune, Alameda Sun, Berkeley Voice and other publications, Marc is a graduate of the University of California at Santa Cruz and attended the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. A California resident since 1987, Marc has lived in Kyoto, Japan, Georgetown, Malaysia and Bangkok, Thailand. He originally hails from New York City. His first public radio experience was at age 16, answering phones during pledge drives at the storied WBAI. He later served as a volunteer reporter at KUSP-Santa Cruz, WBAI-New York and KPFA-Berkeley before embarking on a decade plus sojourn in print journalism. He has proudly called Chico his home since 2008.

Eight vintage Butte County school buses will be retired by the end of the year in an effort to improve air quality, officials said.  

According to county air regulators, the buses can’t be retrofitted to us particulate-capturing filters.    

Grant money, available through a state clean air program, will pay out nearly $85,000 per bus to retire and replace them. 

The buses are all owned by the Chico Unified School District.

In a conclusion likely to displease both sides, owners of a Tehama County property have agreed to pay over a million dollars to the federal government over alleged violations of the Clean Water Act.  

The case was perceived as a legal showdown between federal officials and Libertarian property rights groups over the limits of environmental regulations. Some observers predicted the case would wind up at the Supreme Court.  

National Weather Service Radar is tracking several large and severe thunderstorm cells in Northern California.

The largest one is currently active along the crest of the Mendocino Range from just west of Lake Pillsbury to an area north east of Covelo.

A smaller cell is currently over State Route 299 in the vicinity of Big Bar.

A third, larger cell is over the Trinity Alps Wilderness Area.

Heavy rain, lightning strikes and thunder, accompanied by hail as large as a quarter is possible.

Getting into and out of Chico from the north will be a major headache this weekend, as construction disrupts travel along State Route 99.  

North and southbound traffic will be shunted onto a single lane across the short, Rock Creek Bridge, just north of Chico. Caltrans expects drivers to encounter up to 20-minute delays.  

One-way traffic controls will be in place around the clock starting at 8 p.m. Friday. Caltrans is urging drivers to bypass the area if possible. Motorists can access Interstate 5 via State Route 32.  

Caltrans

Expect more challenges getting on and off the Paradise Ridge over the next three weekends. Caltrans will be entirely closing a section of Clark Road, State Route 191, as construction work reaches a critical phase.  

The roadway, connecting the unincorporated Butte Valley area with Paradise will be closed from south of Airport Road to just over a mile north of Durham-Pentz Road.  

Caltrans is spending $29 million to remove curves, reduce steep grades and widen shoulders.  

Though he’s considered a shoe-in for re-election, Republican Congressman Doug LaMalfa reaped a harvest of criticism from constituents at a town hall meeting Monday morning in Chico.  

Opponents of the Republican agenda dominated the packed meeting yesterday, critiquing and bashing votes on health care, along with policies and proposals addressing immigration, climate change and taxes. 

report by Tony Johnson, also for the Center for Catastrophic Risk Management

Less than six months after near disaster, Oroville Dam is awash in activity. Workers and equipment are racing the calendar, making sure the nation’s tallest earthen dam can’t again reach the brink of catastrophe. But an ongoing forensic examination suggests otherwise. It says other dangers, possibly undermining the dam’s integrity, remain largely unaddressed. NSPR’s Marc Albert has more. 

Cal Fire

Authorities in Chico responded quickly Wednesday afternoon as a brush fire erupted on the eastern edge of town, spreading across 150 acres. 

The fire spread quickly through dry grass and shrubs near the California Park area and was 50 percent contained by nightfall.  

Aaron Lowe, a division chief with the Chico Fire Department, said officials are still trying to figure out how it started. “The ignition source of the fire is under investigation, we’re still determining the origin and cause,” he said. 

Cal Fire

Firefighters continue surveying the damage and are beginning to mop up after a wind-whipped wildfire exploded across the Happy Valley area of Shasta County west of Anderson Tuesday.  

Cal Fire Public Information Officer Suzi Brady confirmed that five homes were utterly destroyed and two other buildings were significantly damaged despite an overwhelming response by local, state and federal firefighters backed by air tankers and helicopters dropping water and retardant.  

All evacuation orders and warnings related to the Wall Fire in the foothills above Oroville were lifted early yesterday evening. Cal Fire says the fire has burned through 6,033 acres. It is 75 percent contained.  

Separately, a small, nearby 5-acre fire that burst out near the intersection of Rebie Way and Forbestown Road near Lake Oroville has been fully contained.  

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