Inside-job robbery suspect nabbed
In what is alleged to have been an inside job, Chico police arrested 21-year-old Joseph Sains and a 17-year-old March 19 on charges that they conspired together to rob the downtown Golden One Credit Union.

According to Chico Police Sgt. Dave Barrow, Sains walked into the bank and handed his accomplice—who was working as a teller—a note that said, “Give me the money I have a gun.” Sains escaped on foot that day, but his probation officer later identified him from the security cameras.

Police arrested Sains on March 19 after a lengthy foot chase near the busy intersection of East Avenue and The Esplanade. His car, Barrow said, was pulled over for a routine traffic stop, but Sains bolted. Only part of the money he allegedly stole was recovered.

Police are not releasing the name of the 17-year-old suspect, since he is a minor. Both he and Sains were arrested on grand theft and conspiracy charges and are in custody.

Ferret owners, be not ashamed!
If you’re one of the 10,000 California residents who own an illegal ferret, you’ll be glad to hear this one: State Sen. Maurice Johannessen wants to lift the ban on California ferret ownership. He sent out a press release saying just that this week, and more. “It’s time that we allow those who may have ferrets as pets in this state to enjoy their animals without the fear of participating in an illegal activity.”


In advocating the value of ferret ownership, Johannessen points out that dogs are 20 times more likely than domestic ferrets to bite a human. Ferrets are a close relative of weasels, and, in a weasely kind of way, they’re pretty cute.

Supes: Give the vets a home
The Butte County Board of Supervisors agreed to officially support a plan to build a new veterans’ retirement home in Northern California at its meeting March 27.

State Sen. Maurice Johannessen—he of ferret fame—is spearheading the effort to build the retirement home/hospital in the Redding area. The supervisors, in a letter advocating the facility, point out that the nearest veterans’ home is in Palo Alto—four hours away.

In fact, however, there is a veterans’ home and hospital closer than Palo Alto—in Yountville, near Napa.

Now, which school money is this?
In the third and final installment of Gov. Gray Davis’ attempt to tie school test prowess to cold, hard cash, Chico schools will share in more than $729,000.

Half that will go to workers of all types: $591.32 per employee. The other half will go to the schools, based on enrollment, to be allocated as school site councils wish. The money, distribution of which was announced March 26, comes via the School Site Employee Performance Bonus Act.

“This is a one-time program. It’s a nice bonus to the schools,” said Cindy Kampf, director of assessment for the Chico Unified School District. How they spend it, said Kampf, is “up to the schools, and we ask them to consider things in their school plan.”

Most Chico schools will get between $38,000 and $88,000. Shut out because their students, or subgroups of students, didn’t meet their target test scores are both Chico high schools and Chico Junior High School.