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KPAY News Archives for 2013-05

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A new poll shows most Californians favor paying down the state's debts and building a reserve over restoring cuts to social services.The poll released Wednesday by the Public Policy Institute of California found 55 percent support more frugality. The findings are good news for Gov. Jerry Brown, whose budget plan calls for debt reduction and modest spending increases for education, health and human services and prisons. Many fellow Democrats in the Legislature would rather see more spending on social services. Lawmakers have until June 15 to pass a budget. The poll found that 61 percent approve of Brown's spending plan and 48 percent approve of the job he's doing. The telephone survey of 1,704 adults has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The state Senate has passed a series of firearms bills designed to reduce the chances for mass shootings, but opponents say the measures won't keep weapons out of the hands of people intent on bloodshed. Among other changes, the seven bills that moved to the Assembly Wednesday would expand the list of people who are prohibited from owning firearms and require permits and a fee when buying ammunition. Semi-automatic rifles with detachable ammunition magazines would be outlawed. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, who pushed the ban on detachable magazines, says the bills would close loopholes in existing laws, keep firearms away from dangerous people and strengthen requirements for gun ownership. Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen says the real problem is mental illness.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Polluters liable for $100 million in cleanup fees for contaminated properties were never billed, and instead California taxpayers were stuck with the tab. The Sacramento Bee reports the state Department of Toxic Substances Control simply failed to send bills to polluters for the cleanup of some 1,700 sites ranging from junkyards to small businesses over the past 26 years. California law stipulates that polluters must cover cleanup costs. In addition, the department identified $45 million for which bills were sent but money was not collected, and nearly $40 million that is tied up in litigation, bankruptcy or other legal matters. The agency's chief, Deborah Raphael, tells the newspaper the failure to send bills apparently stems from a lack of clear rules and paperwork mistakes.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California would take its first steps to protect the public from the increased use of unmanned aircraft under a bill approved by the state Senate. SB15 would amend state privacy laws to take the new pilotless devices into account. The bill by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla would make it clear that recording people without their knowledge could not be legally done using an unmanned device. Those using a drone to collect information when there is a reasonable expectation of privacy could face civil and criminal penalties. The bill also would prohibit mounting weapons on drones. Law enforcement agencies would have to get search warrants in non-emergency situations before using unmanned aircraft. The bill passed the Senate Tuesday and now goes to the Assembly.

QUINCY, Calif. (AP) - Officials in a part of northeastern California that was shaken by a magnitude-5.7 earthquake last week are estimating that the temblor caused more than $1 million in damage. Plumas County Office of Emergency Services Director Jerry Sipe said Tuesday that more than 50 homes in the Lake Almanor basin were damaged during the quake on Thursday night. Sipe says broken and toppled chimneys were the most common type of damage, but that the quake also broke decks, porches and windows. Some homes suffered flooding and water damage, and one was lifted off its foundation. The earthquake also ruptured a tank that supplies residential drinking water, but an advisory instructing customers to boil their drinking water was lifted over the weekend.

A grisly discovery as officials conducting a salmon count came across a body. It happened Wednesday morning on a stretch of Sacramento River in Shasta County. Officials say Fish and Wildlife were working when they discovered the body. It appears to be that of a woman in her mid 30's with tattoos. Investigators say there's no visible sign of trauma. An autopsy is being conducted.

A Chico elementary school hit by vandals over the weekend.   Chico Police say Shasta Elementary on Leora Court  was damaged between Saturday and Sunday. That damage included broken doors and windows, and vandalized computers and copy machines.   Anyone with information is asked to contact Police.

Authorities investigating several violent incidents in Tehama County over the weekend.   The Red Bluff Police Department says it received a report of a shooting on South Main Street Saturday and found a 55 year old man dead outside. At last report, officers were investigating the case as a suspicious death.   The Red Bluff Daily News is reporting an Anderson man told officers he was stabbed Sunday near the Palomino Room. He was treated at a local hospital for a non-life threatening injury.

GREENVILLE, Calif. (AP) — An earthquake has struck Northern California's Plumas County with a preliminary magnitude of 5.7.  Rafael Abreau, a geophysicist with the U.S. Geological Survey's National Earthquake Center, says the temblor struck at 8:47 p.m. and was centered six miles west northwest of Greenville, and 26 miles southwest of Susanville. Abreu says there have been no reports of damage in early field reports. The quake was felt in Chico, Redding, and Sacramento area.  There have been mulitple aftershocks ranging from 2.6-to-3.5-magnitude.  Abreu said the shaking measured by the quake could have inflicted light damage of structures.

One man arrested following a home invasion robbery in Chico.  Police say 3 men forced their way into a Cherry Street home Wednesday, took cash, then fled.  The three were described as Hispanic men, one was wearing an ankle monitor.   Police found one of the suspects, identified as Santos Vasquez, a short time later around Forest Avenue.    Vasquez was booked into the county jail for robbery.  At last report, officers were still trying to identify the other 2 suspects.

Authorities have identified the Los Molinos man killed by a falling log in Chico.  42 year old Deacon Murphy died Wednesday, after a log rolled off a logging truck and struck him on the head.   Murphy was taken to a local hospital, where he died from his injuries.   The accident is being investigated by Cal-Osha.

A 17 year old missing persons case from Butte County is being looked again as a possible homicide. It was January of 1996 when  Vicki Pyrskalla was reported missing friom West Chico. A woman's body was found soon after that in Yolo County, but it wasn't until authorities matched up Pyrskalla's parents' DNA that they found a connection. Butte County Sheriff's Lt. Al Smith says back in 1996 the technology was not very advanced. He says the official cause of death of the woman in Yolo County is drowning, but there are more questions. Anyone with information regarding this case is urged to contact the Butte County Sheriff's Department.

Chico Police say a 42 year old man has died after being hit by a log from a logging truck.   Police say the victim was the driver of the logging truck and was delivering a load to Sierra Log Homes Wednesday afternoon. Police say he was unfastening the tie down chains when a large log fell on top of him.    The man was rushed to Enloe Hospital, where he later died from his injuries.  Cal-Osha is investigating the fatal accident.

Chico Police closing the investigation into the death of a 22 year old woman following a fall in Bidwell Park.   Investigators say 22 year old Marissa Madrid died in April after falling from a tree near One Mile.   A toxicology report showed her blood alcohol content was .11%.  The Police Department says Madrid's death was an accident and did not involve anything criminal.

Butte County fire crews have contained an early morning blaze at 150 acres.  The fire began just before 1 AM south of Chico along Neal Road.   Cal-Fire says the cause of the fire is under investigation.

Chico Police say the man hit and killed by a train this weekend had a loaded revolver in his pants and a glove on one hand.   The body of 30 year old Pedro De La Torre was found Sunday near W. Sacramento Avenue shortly after  gunshots were heard in the area.   The train operator told police the man was seen runnning in an apparent attempt to beat the train and get across the tracks.   Police say they suspect that De La Torre shot his handgun and was fleeing the scene when he was struck by the train.

Two dogs reportedly saved their owner from a mobile home fire in Oroville.   The blaze happened early Tuesday morning on A Street.    The Oroville Mercury Register reports the man woke up when two of his dogs were trying to pull him out of bed.  The man escaped but the dogs died in the fire.   At last report, the blaze was still under investigation.   

Chico Police reforming its gang unit.   The Chico ER is reporting the local police department will try to have the specialized gang unit back in place in June.  The gang unit was dissolved last year to put more officers on patrol.    But a police lieutenant tells the newspaper that gang activity had been increasing.

Serious injuries Monday afternoon for a man working on the roof of the old Koret Building at the Chico Airport. Chico Fire Inspector Marie Fickert says the 36 year old man was helped by crews after he fell through a skylight and landed on a piece of machinery. Fickert says fire crews got the call just after 1 Monday afternoon. The injured man was transported to Enloe Hospital.


Authorities have arrested an Oroville man following a stabbing last week at a local party.   20 year old Dillon Fite was taken into custody Sunday in connection with the Friday stabbings that injured 3 teenage boys on High Street. Two of the victims required surgery.   Fite is facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon.

Oroville city leaders turning their attention to the budget and potential layoffs tonight.  The Oroville Mercury Register reports the city has been looking at options to reduce a 4.2 million dollar deficit, with layoffs on the table.  The City Council meets tonight...proposed layoffs could be released next week.   However, the city's mayor is requesting the council consider an outside financial analysis before moving forward with layoffs.

A weekend drug bust lands two Oroville residents in jail.   The Butte County Sheriff's Office says deputies searched a vehicle Saturday and located more than a third of a pound of methamphetamine.   Gordon Thurman and Anita Kamaitis were arrested on drug charges.

Chico officials get the grim financial news Tuesday---the city has been spending money it doesn't have. That's the opinion of the city's new Administrative Services Director. Chris Constantin will tell the City Council Chico has lost more than 20 million dollars of its cash assets in the last five years. And unless something is done, the city won't be able to make payroll by the end of December. He's sugesting a 10 year plan to get the city back on firm financial footing.

Chico Police say the railroad crossing at West Sacramento Avenue was shut down for hours after a train hit and killed a man early Sunday morning.   The man's body was found just after 3 AM.   Union Pacific told investigators the man was seen running towards the tracks in an attempt to cross the tracks ahead of the train.   At last report, the man's name had not been released.

One man stabbed...another run over with a vehicle during separate weekend assaults in Chico.   Police say a man was stabbed in front of the Beach on E. 2nd Street Saturday.  The suspect, described as a black man with a goatee, had reportedly argued with one of the victim's friends before the attack.  In a separate case, police say 42 year old Eric Turner allegedly struck another man with his vehicle after an argument on E. 10th Street Friday night.  The victim suffered cuts and a broken wrist.  Turner was arrested for assault with a deadly weapon.

Chico Police looking for the public's help identifying an "organized burglary crew."   Officers say the 3 suspects targeted local health clubs and businesses over the last 2 and a half years, taking credit and debit cards from lockers and using them to make large purchases, including high end electronics.    Investigators say the burglary crew may be traveling a circuit through the Western United States.   Police say loss to the victims is estimated at more than 40
thousand dollars.

What organizers say was a peaceful protest brought local law enforcement to the Berry Creek Rancheria Offices Thursday morning. One eyewitness says the protest was over efforts to dis-enroll some 58 members of the Berry Creek Rancheria. Berry Creek Rancheria member Charlene Delagarza says dis-enromment can cost a tribal member.  Law enforcement reportedly arrested about a dozen people at the protest. The Tribal Offices are next to  Gold Country Casino in Oroville. Others involved in the protest or other Tribal Members were unavailable for comment.

PETROLIA, Calif. (AP) — A weeklong search for a Shasta County man suspected of killing his wife and two young daughters is being scaled back. Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey said at a community meeting Wednesday that Shane Miller has most likely killed himself or left the area. According to the Times-Standard of Eureka, Downey said the Sheriff's Office and other local agencies will remain in the area for the next week. But outside law enforcement agencies are leaving. Investigators were searching for Miller in the Petrolia area of the county. His family was discovered slain on May 7 at their home about 200 miles away, but investigators found Miller's abandoned pickup truck the next day near Petrolia. They say he contacted a woman he had previously had a relationship with there.

The latest report on crime in Chico shows overall crime went up last year, after a decrease the previous three years. Overall, figures show crime was up 7 percent, including assaults, robbery and rape, but murders were down. Chico Police Captain Ford Porter says burglaries were up 9% from 2011. The report says the highest density of crime continues to be that with a student population in the South Campus and North Campus areas.

A 14 year old gang member has been found guilty of stabbing two men in Chico.  The local District Attorney's Office says the teen went to trial this week in juvenile court and was found guilty by a judge of assault with a deadly weapon.
Authorities say the boy stabbed two men after a confrontation and argument on E. 20th Street in February.  The DA's Office says the defendant was a gang member, but the attack was not gang-motivated.  He'll be sentenced in June.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown's latest budget plan proposes a $17 billion bump for California's K-12 schools over the next four years, a dramatic turn-around from the teacher layoffs and program cuts that became common during the recession. He also wants to reshape the financial decision-making process by giving local districts more authority to spend state money as they choose. The question now is whether all the additional money and the freedom to decide how to spend it is enough to restore the luster of California's once-renowned public schools. The updated state budget Brown released this week would push per-pupil funding in California to an average of $8,475 for the remainder of the current school year. That figure is expected to rise significantly by the 2016 school year, to $9,929 per student.

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A research firm says California's median home prices surged to their highest level in nearly five years. The San Diego-based research firm DataQuick reported Wednesday that the median price paid for a home in California was $324,000 — the highest since June 2008 when the median price hit $328,000. The median price rose by more than 22 percent compared to April 2012. The firm says it marked the 14th straight month that the median price rose year-over-year. More than 39,000 new and existing homes and condominiums sold statewide last month.
The firm notes that low inventory has kept a lid on sales.

A former Butte County school instructor is accused of sexually assaulting students at an Oroville school.  53 year old You Vang was arrested in Alaska in April, transported back to California, and booked into the Butte County Jail on charges including lewd acts on a child with force.  Vang worked at Poplar Avenue School for a decade as an English as a Second Language Instructor.   The Butte County Sheriff's Office says its Special Victims Unit has been investigating Vang since 2011 and found multiple victims.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown is announcing a spending plan for the coming fiscal year that is $1.2 billion lower than he projected in January despite surging state tax revenue.  The somewhat surprising reduction Tuesday in the state's general plan spending is due in part to actions by the federal government. The forecast for growth of personal income is lower because the federal government did not extend the 2 percent payroll tax reduction. That reduced the projections for personal income growth for the coming year in half, to 2.2 percent.
The governor's budget document says the federal government spending cuts — the so-called sequester — also helped erode the budget projections for the fiscal year that starts July 1. Even with the reduction, the Democratic governor is making education a top priority in the $96.4 billion general fund he proposed Tuesday.

Chico Police say a man was found with head injuries Tuesday after apparently being hit with a 2 x 4 piece of wood.    The assault happened on Magnolia Avenue at New Roads Sober Living.  Police say officers had to force their way into the residence after the suspect, identified as 36 year old David Swendeman, locked the door.   He was taken into custody for assault with a deadly weapon.

Glenn County authorities say the body of a 2 year old boy was found in an irrigation ditch about an hour after the child was reported missing.  The Sheriff's Office says 2 year old Jonathan Perez was able to leave a home on County Road VV unnoticed Monday night.  Officials say the toddler was found in an irrigation ditch across the street from the home.   An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.


The Sigma Chi Fraternity has reportedly announced it will end its 20 year relationship with Chico State University. Sigma Chi was one fraternity suspended last week after an alcohol related incident. The two year suspension came amid charges of brewing beer at the frat house. A news release from Sigma Chi's headquarters reportedly admits the fraternity did indeed violate the alcohol free policy for Greek houses, but went on to say Chico State has rigid guidelines and wants perfection and that prevents the chapter learning from its mistakes.

PETROLIA, Calif. (AP) — Authorities hunting for a Northern California man wanted in the killing of his wife and two young daughters in Shasta County have brought in dogs trained to search for cadavers. A Humboldt County sheriff's lieutenant says that while investigators have no indication that Shane Miller may have taken his own life, the canines are part of a larger search through California's rugged and remote North Coast terrain. More than 70 law enforcement officers are scouring the area for the 45-year-old suspected of killing his family last Tuesday in the rural community of Shingletown.  About 100 people attended a community meeting on Sunday. And while schools have reopened, authorities are asking people to be cautious in their daily activities and to stay in and lock their doors at night. 

A small fire in Chico Monday afternoon threatened a home.   The blaze on Dove Creek Court burned outdoor  landscaping and a fence and threatened a residence.   The cause of the fire is under investigation.

An Oroville man eligible for re-sentencing under the state's 3-strikes reform law has been denied a reduction in his prison sentence.  The Butte County District Attorney's Office says 42 year old Kelly Kimble had been convicted in 2008 of stalking and sentenced to 25 years to life.  He had prior "strikes" for attempted kidnapping and criminal threats.   Kimble was seeking a lesser sentence under Proposition 36, which allows prisoners convicted of a 3rd strike that was not considered a serious or violent felony to seek a new sentence.   According to the DA's Office, a Butte County judge denied the appeal Friday...ruling that Kimble's record and behavior in prison madehim an

"unreasonable risk of danger to public safety."  DA Mike Ramsey says there are 11 local defendants who are now eligible for re-sentencing.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers are locked in a disagreement over how to hand out $900 million by the voter-approved closure of a tax loophole. Half the money to be generated from November's Proposition 39 is to go toward energy projects in schools. The Democratic governor wants to distribute that money to school districts based on the number of students enrolled. Democratic lawmakers favor prioritizing poorer schools, those in more extreme climates and those with older, energy-wasting buildings. The governor is proposing to use the remaining $450 million for various state programs. Democratic Assembly Speaker John Perez, of Los Angeles, wants to use that money to resurrect his proposal to offer college scholarships to middle-class students.

BIGGS, Calif. (AP) — Authorities have identified a Texas man who died after he was struck by the propeller of a crop duster plane in Butte County. The Butte County Sheriff's Office says Willie Valdez Suarez of Houston was killed after he was hit by the propeller of a small plane on Thursday. Undersheriff Kory Honea says the 66-year-old Suarez was part of a crew repaving a private airstrip in Biggs. The fixed wing, single engine turbo plane belonging to Williams AG Service had just landed when Suarez was struck. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Honea says the pilot may not have seen Suarez when landing the plane and that Suarez had hearing problems and may not have heard the plane approaching. The FAA and Cal-OSHA are investigating the incident.

SHINGLETOWN, Calif. (AP) - A sheriff's official says the Northern California search for an ex-convict suspected of fatally shooting his wife and two young daughters is akin to warfare. Shasta County Sheriff's Lt. Dave Kent says SWAT teams were proceeding extremely cautiously on Thursday in the area near the Humboldt County city of Petrolia where 45-year-old Shane Miller's truck was found the previous day.  Petrolia is about 200 miles west of the site of the slayings in the Shasta County community of Shingletown.  Kent says Miller has knowledge of the area and the ability to fortify himself, so deputies are very vulnerable. They also believe he is armed. Miller is suspected of killing his 34-year-old wife, Sandy, his 8-year-old daughter, Shelby, and his 4-year-old daughter, Shasta.

A man convicted of killing his mother in Butte County gets life in state prison without the possibility of parole. 45 year old Anthony Yee received that sentence Thursday for killing Judith Nathan in 2011 and dumping her body in a septic tank. He reportedly had been released on parole from San Quentin State Prison about a week before the killing. 

Cal-Fire says a blaze in Tehama County is now 100 percent contained.   The Panther Fire near Butte Meadows has burned more than 69 hundred acres since it broke out May 1st.   The fire resulted in 6 injuries.   The cause is still under investigation.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Potential GOP candidate for governor Abel Maldonado is leading a campaign to ask voters to repeal a law that has shifted responsibility for tens of thousands of criminals from state prisons to county jails. Maldonado, a former California senator and lieutenant governor, announced Wednesday that he has formed an initiative committee to start collecting signatures to put the measure on next year's ballot. Gov. Jerry Brown, a Democrat, pushed for the criminal justice realignment under a federal court order to reduce prison crowding. The corrections department responded to Maldonado's criticism, saying counties can rehabilitate many lower-level offenders more efficiently. Maldonado is considering a run for governor next year against Brown, but he denied the ballot drive is related. He says "there's a pretty good shot" that he will challenge Brown.

Butte County Search and Rescue coming to the aid of local campers.  The Sheriff's Office says Search and Rescue officials began looking for overdue campers Monday in the Last Chance Creek area.  Steve Vervilan, Connor Vervilan, and Ryan Wright were found by helicopter the next day.  The trio was reportedly stranded after their vehicle battery died.


Shasta County authorities say a nationwide manhunt bulletin has been issued for a man accused of killing his wife and two daughters in Shingletown.  The triple homicide happened Tuesday.    The Sheriff's Office says Shane Miller is considered armed and dangerous and may have access to a cache of weapons.   The victims have been identified as  34 year old Sandy Miller, 8 year old Shelby Miller, and 4 year old Shasta Miller.   

Chico Police say a man was stabbed early this morning in a grocery store parking lot after refusing to give a man money.   The attack happened at the Winco parking lot on E. 20th Street just after midnight.   Police say the victim was able to drive himself to the hospital for treatment of a stab wound.   The suspect is described as a white man with brown or red hair wearing a plaid shirt.

Cal-Fire says more than 80 local government agencies have played a role trying to contain a blaze burning for more than a week in Tehama County.   The Panther Fire near Butte Meadows, which has scorched 68 hundred acres, was 90 percent contained as of Tuesday night.  Cal-Fire says there are isolated pockets of heavy fuel, timber piles, and dead trees that are hampering mop-up operations.

Butte County authorities say two people were arrested after a brief car chase in the Chapmantown area.  The Sheriff's Office says its gang unit was following a stolen car Tuesday night.  The pursuit ended near Hemlock and 16th in Chico after the vehicle had a tire blow out.  Authorities arrested Rocky Shelton and Krista Melson on various charges.

Butte County authorities say a man defended himself with a knife in Oroville after reportedly being attacked with a hammer.   The assault happened Tuesday morning on Myers Street.  The Sheriff's Office says Jeanette Hughs and Albert Hammons allegedly attacked Marcos Diaz with a hammer.  Investigators say the victim defended himself and stabbed Hammons in the neck with a knife.  Hammons was stabilized at Oroville Hospital, then moved to a medical center out of the area.   Hughs was arrested and charged with assault with a deadly weapon.  The Sheriff's Office says criminal charges against Hammons are still possible.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California agency investigating the deadly 2010 gas pipeline explosion in a San Francisco Bay Area neighborhood says Pacific Gas & Electric Co. should pay a $2.25 billion fine for its negligence leading up to the blast. Officials say the penalty would be the largest ever assessed by a state regulator. The California Public Utilities Commission recommended the fine Monday and said the company's shareholders should shoulder it. The blast in San Bruno sparked a fireball that killed eight people, injured dozens and destroyed 38 homes. Commission investigators and consumer advocates filed a range of proposals for fines Monday. PG&E will file its proposal later this month. A judge from the utilities commission is expected to make a final decision about how much to fine PG&E later this year.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California's highest court says local governments have legal authority to ban storefront pot shops within their borders. The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that cities and counties can use their zoning powers to keep out medical marijuana dispensaries. The unanimous ruling came in a legal challenge to a ban the city of Riverside enacted in 2010. The advocacy group Americans for Safe Access estimates that another 200 jurisdictions statewide have similar prohibitions on retail pot sales. Marijuana advocates had argued that allowing local government to bar dispensaries thwarts the intent of the law California voters approved nearly 17 years ago that legalized marijuana use for health purposes.

Cal-Fire says with favorable weather conditions, crews are expecting to contain a Tehama County blaze Thursday. The Panther Fire has been burning for a week near Butte Meadows.   The cause is under investigation.   At last report, that fire had burned more than 68 hundred acres and was 80 percent contained.  Cal-Fire says as containment improves, aircraft and fire equipment is being released.

CHP officials say a teenage boy survived being hit by a train south of Cottonwood.  The 15 year old boy was reportedly struck Sunday while riding a dirt bike.  He was flown to a northstate hospital, where he was listed in stable condition.


A pressure cooker left near an Oroville church prompted a bomb squad response this weekend.  The Butte County Sheriff's Office says the device was located near Bird Street and Feather River Boulevard around 6 Sunday night.    Officials say the bomb squad was called out following recent vandalism in the area and the "suspicious circumstances" in which the item was left.    The Bomb Squad examined the pressure cooker, detonated it, and found it was empty.

Fire crews continue to focus their attention of the Panther Fire burning in Tehama County.  That blaze near Butte Meadows has burned more than 6800 acres as of Sunday night.  Containment is expected Thursday.   Cal-Fire says there's no longer an imminent structure threat, but 3 injuries have been reported.   Meanwhile, two other northstate blazes were contained this weekend.  The Cedar Fire near Butte Meadows burned 72 acres.   The 306 Fire in Glenn County burned 217 acres.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California agency investigating a deadly pipeline explosion and the City of San Bruno are set to propose major fines they say Pacific Gas & Electric Co. should pay for its negligence leading up to the blast. The City of San Bruno says the utility's shareholders should pay no less than $1.25 billion for violations regulators say PG&E committed before the 2010 explosion. City officials say that would let survivors know the California Public Utilities Commission is serious about preventing another pipeline disaster. The San Bruno blast killed eight people and destroyed 38 homes. Commission investigators and consumer advocates will also file their own fine proposals Monday, and PG&E will file its proposal later this month. A CPUC judge is expected to make a final decision about how much to fine PG&E later this year.


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California may speed up the release of inmates while allowing inmates with a violent history to become firefighters in order to cut crowding in state prisons. Gov. Jerry Brown filed the plan under protest late Thursday, warning that the options he presented to federal judges would undermine public safety. The judges required the state to outline how it will meet a court-ordered population cap by the end of the year. Brown's plan calls for increasing early release credits for inmates and paroling elderly and incapacitated prisoners, while slowing the return of thousands of inmates who are being held in private prisons in other states. The Democratic governor intends to seek a delay while he appeals the ruling on overcrowding, which already has been upheld once by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A northstate fire agency hiring firefighters early as multiple blazes put a strain on resources.   Kevin Colburn with Tehama-Glenn Cal-Fire says the original plan was to hire 40 firefighters next week...15 were hired back Thursday.    More than 250 firefighters are battling the 306 Fire in Glenn County.      Colburn says as of Thursday night, that blaze has burned 217 acres and is 50 percent contained.

One of two blazes burning near Butte Meadows has grown significantly.  The Panther Fire has burned 10 thousand acres, with containment at 10 percent as of Thursday night.  Cal-Fire says the jump in acreage was due to "extreme fire behavior and better mapping."   Meanwhile, fire crews continue to gain ground on the Cedar Fire also burning near Butte Meadows.  That blaze remains at 55 acres, with containment at 70 percent.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation expanding the ability of state agents to seize firearms from nearly 20,000 Californians who are not allowed to have them. They collectively own more than 39,000 handguns and 1,670 assault weapons. But they are prohibited from owning firearms because they have been convicted of crimes, ruled mentally unstable or are subject to domestic violence restraining orders. The bill the Democratic governor announced signing Wednesday authorizes $24 million for the state Department of Justice's Armed and Prohibited Persons program. The money will go to hire more agents to confiscate the weapons and reduce the backlog over the next three years. The program, which is unique to California, cross-checks five databases to find people who bought weapons they are no longer legally allowed to own.

The Butte Humane Society says the last cats have been taken from a local hoarder...with the final count at 136  rescued animals.  The Humane Society says some of the cats were spayed and neutered this week, and will be available for adoption starting today.   The local animal shelter says it doesn't have the space to take all 136 cats at once, so other agencies and foster homes are temporarily housing many of the cats. 

A second day of battling flames near Butte Meadows.  Hundreds of firefighters continue to work to contain a pair of fires that began Wednesday.   As of this morning, the Panther Fire has grown to 1600 acres with no containment.  The Cedar Fire has burned 55 acres and is 40 percent contained.  Matt Damon with Cal-Fire says the agency is dealing with limited resources as they try to get a handle on the flames.  No word yet on the cause of the two fires.

Two fires burning south of Butte Meadows today. Butte County Cal-Fire says the Cedar Fire is near the 10E last report, it's burned 20 acres.   The Panther Fire is on the 140 K-3 Line and has scorched 20 to 30 acres.   Matt Damon with Cal-Fire says the agency is dealing with limited resources as they try to get a handle on the flames.    Both fires were reported this morning.

Chico Police say a 22 year old student has been identified as the woman who died after apparently falling from a tree in Bidwell Park.  Police say the exact cause of death of Marissa Madrid is under investigation, but it appears to be a "tragic accident."   Madrid was found early Sunday morning injured at the One Mile Recreation Area and died at a local hospital.

Two Chico schools go into lock-down Tuesday, while police investigate a nearby disturbance allegedly involving guns.    The Chico Police Department says the lock down affected Bidwell Jr. High School and McManus Elementary.   Authorities say 3 people reportedly brandished a gun at a North Avenue home, assaulted a man, then took off in two cars.   Police stopped both vehicles.  One person was arrested for driving on a suspended license...another was arrested for being in possession of a handgun.

Multiple fires across the northstate Tuesday.   Blazes were reported in Chico, Orland, Biggs, and Palermo.   Flames destroyed a house and garage on 7th Street in Biggs, with two other structures damaged.   Three vegetation fires reported in the Orland area, with one burning through brush on the north side of Stony Creek.   A grass fire broke out on Dustin Lane in Palermo. And crews were called to handle a fire in a pile of walnut hulls near Wilson Landing Road.

Tehama County prosecutors say a Gerber man has pleaded guilty to child molestation.  The District Attorney's Office says 64 year old Ralph Martin pleaded guilty this week to molesting 8 children at a daycare operated by Martin and his wife.   He'll be sentenced later this month...he faces 24 years in prison.

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