Proposed research park gets infusion of your cash
The Butte County Board of Supervisors agreed Tuesday to give planners of a proposed research and business park a quarter-million dollars—and that’s just to see if the plan will work.

Tom Buford, county development services director, asked for the windfall. It will be used to perform environmental tests on six different areas in Butte County that have been identified as possible sites for the research and business park. The sites, identified by the county Planning Department, are all over the county—one in north Chico, two along Highway 99 near Gridley, two near the Lake Oroville Afterbay, and one that abuts north Oroville. All of the sites are in the county’s jurisdiction, meaning that the county would get the lion’s share of the considerable taxes that the park would presumably generate.

The mayors of Gridley, Oroville and Paradise all spoke in support of the project, along with Bob Linscheid, president of the Butte County Economic Development Committee.

While the steep cost of the environmental-impact reports seemed to raise the eyebrows of several supervisors, and discussion about spending the money on the reports lasted well over an hour, the board approved the expenditure unanimously.

City searches for partner in Teichert Ponds improvement
The city of Chico wants to fix up the long-neglected Teichert Ponds, but it needs a little help from its friends, so to speak.

The city bought the 35-acre property four years ago, and since then it has been used as a storm water retention area. But it’s become a “pretty uniform position” of the city, said Assistant Community Development Director Clif Sellers, that the land could be used for a lot more than that. While no improvement plans have been presented yet, he envisioned clearing out overgrown debris, improving the water quality and turning the ponds into a recreation area, complete with trails and a park. Informally, they’re already used for recreational purposes, although there’s no established use.

Trouble is, the city needs a partner to help manage and preserve the ponds once they’ve been fixed up. The city is now looking for that agency, Sellers said.

Teichert Ponds, located on the east side of Highway 99 behind the Chico Mall, were created when crews scooped out massive amounts of dirt and gravel from the area to build the Highway 99 freeway.

Airport calls in the National Guard
National Guard soldiers are now helping keep watch over the Chico Municipal Airport.

The government-funded guardsmen began to arrive Oct. 19, and six were in place by this week. They’re expected to remain there for four to six months by order of President George W. Bush.

Bob Grierson, the airport’s manager, said the men are “augmenting security at the airport,” which isn’t perceived to be at great risk to begin with. They’re “just another set of eyes,” he said, stationed at the screening area inside the airport terminal.

The guardsmen were trained for the assignment by the Federal Aviation Administration and were dispatched from a local unit.

Grierson said that the passengers’ response to the National Guard’s presence has been "very, very favorable, so far."