Supes sent to juvie
Butte County supervisors seemed sufficiently impressed with progress on the new juvenile hall after taking a tour of the almost-ready facility as part of their regular board meeting Tuesday.

The supervisors managed not to look too silly as they donned hard hats and followed Assistant Probation Chief Steven Ellen through the $10.5 million complex, which will eventually be equipped to house 120 juvenile offenders, about twice the number as the old facility. The county received more than $8 million in grants to fund the project, and so will have to shell out only about $2.5 million.

The new kiddie jail will feature a centralized secure control room, a new recreation area surrounded by a 14-foot-high, razor-wire-capped fence and a spanking-new kitchen, among other things. Construction on the complex has taken about a year and a half—a little bit longer than planned because of some problems with subcontractors—but should be ready for its first visitors by June or July.

Standing in one of the approximately 8-foot-square concrete cells, board Chairman Bob Beeler looked at the concrete bench and stainless steel toilet and declared, “Boy, it just breaks my heart.”

Fossil fuel burnout: Measure advocates renewable energy
The new Bell Memorial Union was constructed in a way that wasted both money and natural resources, says a group of classmates who have authored a ballot measure that would make sure this never happens again on the Chico State University campus.

The Renewable Energy Advisory Measure, No. 98 on the Associated Students election ballot, would encourage the A.S. to build in a way that takes advantage of the increasingly affordable technology for renewable energy. At the top of the list would be adding solar panels to the BMU.

Such measures would not only harness the sun and save fossil fuels, they would also save money—thousands of dollars in power bills annually, by the calculations of students in Mark Stemen’s Environmental Studies Capstone class. “As soon as we start conserving energy, we start saving money,” said student Brianna Belmonte.

Stemen requires his students to come up with an environmental-advocacy project that involves participation in the election process. The measure they came up with asks the A.S. to devote $32,000 of the student union fee currently paid by students to developing an energy reduction plan.

Voting will take place online and at campus polling places April 16-17.

CUSD backtracks on budget cuts
Determining the budget isn’t as bleak as they thought in mid-February, the Chico Unified School District trustees voted April 9 to remove several positions from the chopping block.

At the special meeting, Deputy Superintendent Jim Sands explained that for various legal and tactical reasons CUSD staff is recommending removing from the list secondary assistant principals, a director and summer work by agriculture teachers. And instead of all 19.6 counseling positions being subject to layoff, four will be. The board’s vote isn’t the final word on who will be let go to save $2.3 million; that will come on April 30.

The board had previously voted to send preliminary layoff notices connected to 63.4 full-time-equivalent positions. Now, 44.2 will be considered for elimination.

That translates to as many as 217 people, who are entitled to a hearing before an administrative law judge to see if the district was wrong when it considered them eligible to be laid off. That hearing is set for April 22-23.