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 light-hearted 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

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.”