Since You Asked

Asking good questions is at the heart of good journalism.

But we’re not the only ones who can ask good questions. With our new series Since You Asked, we're turning to YOU. What have you always wondered about the North State? What questions do you have about this place we call home?

From the Lemurians who — according to legend — inhabit Mt. Shasta, to why many locals say “am-end” instead of “al-mond,” this series explores the little quirks and curiosities that make the North State, the North State.

Whether your question is lighthearted or hard-hitting, we want to get to the bottom of it. Submit your question using the form below. You can also email us at nsprsinceyouasked@gmail.com, or leave us a voicemail at (530) 433-4887.

Ways to Connect

Marc Albert

“Hi, this is Lana Johnson from Chico California, and I would like to know the history of the Miller Mansion. Is the property significant in Chico history? And who exactly were the Millers?”

 

Thanks Lana, I’ve often wondered about that stately building framed by columns on somewhat storybook grounds.  

 

Yes, the Miller Mansion property is quite significant to Chico history, the house, less so. And the Millers? Well, hold on.

 

PETER SIMS / Flickr, Creative Commons

“Hello, this is Lupe Green. I’m calling from Tehama County, California and my question is how is the issue of water resources for the North State being addressed? I am concerned about the availability of water in the North State over time, given climate change, droughts, increased acres of orchards, and water demands from the southern part of the state. Will the many individual water wells run dry?”

The northern Sacramento Valley is lined with walnut orchards, almond orchards and the communities we call home. All of this takes water, and a lot of it. If you rely on a well, then Lupe is right, there are a number of things that you should be concerned about; especially in an ever changing political and environmental climate. 

Adia White

“Hi, this is Fran Bart and my question is why are there roosters and chickens, lots of them, in the parking lot of Starbucks in Yuba City. It's a big parking lot, like a big mini mall and there's a Starbucks there. It's on Highway 99 in Yuba City, and so I'm just wondering why all those chickens and roosters are running around the parking lot there. Anyway, thank you very much. Bye.”

 

 


 

Photo by College Plus Coordinator, Doug Ferguson

“Hi. My name is Dan and I am a student at Chico State, and I also have Asperger's disorder. My question is, ‘What in Butte County is there for someone such as myself to have as a service here in Chico? That is to say what is available to me through scenarios to cope with any discrimination or misunderstanding?”

NASA

"The discussion about climate change can seem a little bit abstract sometimes. My question is: are there observable phenomena in our area that scientists can confidently attribute to climate change?" - Ken, Chico 

That’s a great question and one that perhaps is harder to answer definitively than at first glance. Science has a pretty high bar for declarative statements. That’s pretty much why gravity and evolution are often referred to as theories.

Now, we obviously lack polar ice caps or sea levels here in interior Northern California — the items typically measured, mentioned and argued over — but there are plenty of natural systems locally, and people keeping tabs.

Agriculture is huge in the North State, as are rain, snow and migrating wildlife, not to mention temperature records dating back to the late 19th century.

California energy commission

“My name is Nick and I’m from Chico. My question is, where does the power in Butte come from and how much of it comes from renewable sources?”

Like Nick, I also wondered where our energy comes from. When I run my washing machine, turn on the heater, or switch on the lights, it all seems to work like magic. But as miraculous as it all is, it’s of course not magic. The energy we use comes from a lot of different sources. For example, in the North State we have many dams that generate a form of energy called hydroelectric power. There are other ways to generate power too, like burning coal, oil or natural gas. You can even use heat from the magma beneath earth’s surface, which is called geothermal energy. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

“Hi, my name is Beverly Thomassian and I want to know what pesticides they are spraying on the almond orchards throughout the year and if they’re harmful to the humans living adjacent to the orchards.”

This was something I also wondered since moving to Chico several years ago. Fortunately, California keeps meticulous data on which pesticides are used throughout the state. I was able to find the top five pesticides used on almonds in Beverly’s neighborhood with the state’s Agricultural Pesticide Mapping Tool. They’re Ziram, Oryzalin, Glyphosate, Paraquat Dichloride, and Clarified Hydrochloric extract.

Marc Albert

“My name is Josh Hegg and I had a question. When I first moved to Chico, a big point that everyone made was that Bidwell Park was the third largest municipal park in the country, so I’m curious where Bidwell Park actually stands in terms of park size in comparison to the rest of the country and where that rumor started and if it holds any merit at all.” 

What’s safer, Highway 99 or 70?

That’s a simple enough question, right? Or at least it seems so.

"Where exactly is Northern California?" is a question I’ve had since moving from Butte County to Santa Cruz. I remember living there thinking, “Is this still Northern California?” What I learned from Santa Cruz locals was that they did consider themselves to be a part of Nor Cal, but they were quick to tell me that they – unlike so many of the Northern Californians I grew up with – did not use the word “hella.”