County: Summer blackouts could bankrupt farmers
County Agricultural Commissioner Richard Price painted a grim picture of what the forecasted summer blackouts might do to local farmers at the Butte County supervisors’ meeting April 10.

The blackouts—which have been estimated at totaling 300 hours from May to October—could deliver a lethal blow to agriculture here. He said the energy crisis would be especially brutal to prune growers, who depend on natural gas to dry their fruits, and rice farmers, who use a substantial amount of energy to process their harvests. With an increasingly expensive and marginally available energy flow, Price said, farmers will have to almost double the amount of product just to break even.

Butte County agriculture is a $300 million a year business, Price said, noting that it will likely be able to produce far less money than that this year.

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Price said.

County green lights new Juvenile Hall
The Board of Supervisors approved the new Juvenile Hall April 10, paving the way for construction to begin on the new and improved building.

Flintco Inc. will build the structure, a 120-bed building separated into six 20-bed pods. It will cost just over $9.1 million and is scheduled to open 13 months after crews start building it. The county’s current Juvenile Hall is more than 30 years old and chronically over-populated.

Chief Probation Officer Helen Harberts said the new building would house classrooms and more comfortable and modern housing and monitoring facilities.

Census: Butte’s getting bigger
According to federal Census figures, the population of Chico grew nearly 13,000 in the last 10 years. That’s a relatively whopping increase of 16.3 percent.

There are now 59,954 people who live in Chico. There were just 40,079 Chico residents 10 years ago.

Most of the population boom was within Chico’s city limits, a result of quite a bit of annexation in the 1990s, along with a slew of residents new to the area. In 1990, when the last census was taken, there were 38,538 people who lived outside Chico’s city limits. Now, there are just over 31,000 outside the city limits, a drop of 18.4 percent.

County population grew, too. According to the census, Butte County got just over 21,000 new residents in the past 10 years.

Bookin’ it: Chico State authors display work
Looking for a book about feminist writings in Germany? How about a quick read on the bureaucratizing of the Good Samaritan? Or maybe a little something called Earthly Bodies, Magical Selves?

You’ll find all of them—and 24 other books written by some of Chico State’s faculty—displayed on campus this week. The university is hosting the display, which features all two dozen of the books published this year by Chico State faculty. The titles range from The World’s Best Places (by Michael Graf), to God in the Details (by Kate McCarthy) to Introductory Plant Biology (by Kingsley Stern).

Samples of the books are on display outside Tehama 211.