Trustee: Talk with feds proves Schmidbauer site bad idea for school
A Chico Unified School District trustee returned from a July 31 meeting with federal regulators more convinced than ever that a high school can never be built on the chosen site in meadowfoam-covered south Chico.

Steve O’Bryan traveled to Sacramento with CUSD Superintendent Scott Brown, where they met with officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, who he said told them “what we’ve been hearing from the Butte Environment Council [about wetland regulations] is pretty darn accurate, and what we’ve been hearing from the property owner is pretty inaccurate.”

“I don’t see how anybody could listen to those regulators and not be clear,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to be able to build anything out there [on the east side of Bruce Road], and we’ll have to move on.”

Jim Mann, who represents the Schmidbauer family, which owns the property along Bruce Road, said it’s O’Bryan who is “naive” about the process. He said if the feds are so adamant, they should write a new biological opinion trumping a 1995 document that OK’d building on part of the land. If the CUSD wants to write off three years of effort and move to another site, he said, “let them move it [and] pay three times the money.”

Mann also said the owner is considering submitting the high school project and a housing development as two separate applications, hoping that may move the process along. “We’re going to continue the process with or without the Chico Unified School District.”

Former inmate files claim over slippery shoes
Andre Christopher, a former Butte County Jail inmate, filed a claim for damages against Butte County this week, alleging injury due to unsafe footwear.

Christopher reports in his claim that the floors in the jail were too slick and his jail-issued shoes too slippery when he fell on the jail stairs on Feb. 22. He also claims that he asked for tennis shoes to replace the slippery loafers but was denied them. As a result, he claims that he suffered some sort of permanent injury (which isn’t identified in his claim) and is asking for $500,000 in damages.

Christopher lists his address in Oroville and his occupation as “disability.” Attorneys for Butte County couldn’t be reached for comment. Petitioners are required to file claims for damages that are reviewed by county counsel before they can file lawsuits.

Bently gets ‘minor’ sentencing
Matt Bently, the former Glenn County sheriff’s deputy who was charged with having sex with the 17-year-old daughter of a Fish and Game warden, was sentenced to six months in jail for the offense on July 27.

Bently, 32, denies that he ever had sex with the girl and claims that she made the allegations in a failed attempt to extort money from him. He’s been fired from his job and is now back in college earning his master’s degree in social studies.