play4smee / Flickr CC

The message is simple: leave the rockets red glare, the bombs bursting in air this year, to the pros.

With North State forests and grasslands seemingly as parched as the Mojave, traditional Independence Day revelry runs the risk of sparking devastating wildfires.

“Every year we have fires up and down the state of California started by fireworks, whether they be illegal fireworks or even the safe and sane product when not used correctly can start a fire,” says Tonya Hoover, the California state fire marshal.

A hawk in south Chico has tested positive for West Nile virus.

Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control says that the virus has been found in the county every year since 2004. Since then, there have been 153 residents infected with seven deaths reported.

Mosquitoes can spread the virus from an infected bird to humans or horses. There are vaccinations available for horses, but not humans.

The district advises that people stay indoors during the evening and morning hours when mosquitoes are most active. Protection is also available with repellant containing deet.

Gov. Brown Signs Mandatory Vaccine Bill

Jun 30, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Most California school children will have to be vaccinated if they want to attend school in the state. Governor Jerry Brown signed a mandatory vaccine bill into law Tuesday.

The bill eliminates the personal belief exemption for children whose parents do not want them to be vaccinated.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Some holders of highly coveted “senior” water rights received some unwelcome and unprecedented news late Friday — they’re officially in the same boat as everyone else.

For the first time, water rights dating as far back as the mid-19th century are being curtailed. Citing drought conditions, the State Water Quality Control Board told 11 entities, including the operators of three canals and two irrigation districts to stop taking water from the San Joaquin River and its tributaries.

All of the new restrictions are south of the Delta.

The boat dock at Frenchman Lake, near Portola, has been pulled and will no longer be available this season due to low water conditions. Officials with the Plumas National Forest say the concrete boat ramp at the Frenchman boat facility will soon be out of the water also, but the shoreline directly below the ramp is still available for small craft such as canoes. Nearby lakes that still have launch facilities include Lake Davis and Gold Lake.  

Marc Albert / NSPR

A man who police say recently robbed two Chico banks and possibly one in Paradise has been arrested.

According to a press release, officer Kevin Hass was making a routine patrol through the parking lot of a local motel and saw a man he thought matched the description of the suspect. The man, identified as Joe Federico Nunez Martinez of Salinas, was arrested on an outstanding warrant and later was linked to the bank robberies, the latest of which was the Rabobank on East Avenue yesterday.

A former highway patrolman, fired after being convicted of inappropriate behavior on the Central Coast, was hauled before a Butte County Judge Tuesday as prosecutors presented testimony alleging he committed lewd acts on a child.

The alleged victim in the case is a boy younger than 14. The abuse allegedly occurred between March and June of last year and happened in the Chico area.  Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey said the defendant, 34-year-old Jacob Duenas, was convicted of two misdemeanor counts of child molestation in Monterey County in 2008. 

Plans to reconfigure and enlarge the Butte County jail took another step forward Tuesday as the Butte County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved revised proposal.

When all is said and done, the jail will be able to house 666 inmates, up from 614 today.

The existing jail was built half a century ago and expanded in the mid-90s. Cells in the original building will be turned into program and classroom space. Sheriff Korey Honea said rehabilitation of inmates depends on such programs and that the new facility will also improve conditions in other ways.

Daniel Incandela / Flickr CC

California’s drought has killed so many trees that the Board of Forestry and Fire Protection is adopting emergency regulations to remove them. The board is concerned about the growing threat of wildfires.

Rafael Gonzalez / Flickr CC

It may never be bustling, but a busier terminal with more flights to more destinations may be the reality at the Chico municipal airport somewhere down the line Butte County officials were told Tuesday morning.

The bullish assessment was offered to the Butte County Board of Supervisors by Tom Reich, a representative of AvPorts, a management firm hired by Chico to run the airport after Skywest airlines pulled the plug on its passenger service last December.