Medical marijuana farmers get growing tools back
Let the growing begin again!

District Attorney Mike Ramsey has ordered that the supplies confiscated from three marijuana growers two years ago be returned to them.

The supplies—pots, super-duper soil, grow lights and the like—were taken from Paradise residents Glenda Sue Spengler and Roger Chambers and Cohasset resident Mike Rogers after they were charged with cultivation and conspiracy to distribute marijuana in 1999. All three admitted to growing marijuana but insisted that they were doing so only to supply themselves with their medicine (all three are Prop. 215 patients) and to give to other medical users.

The charges against Spengler and Chambers were dismissed last year, and Rogers was acquitted this fall.

Spengler, for one, said she knows exactly what she’s going to do with her things now.

“I’m going to plant my seeds, of course,” she said.

Johannessen says good-bye to politics
State Sen. Maurice Johannessen, R-Redding, is calling it quits.

There had been some speculation, now that term limits lock him out of the Senate, that Johannessen would run for another office, but he put those rumors to rest. He stated in a press release that of his options, which included state Assembly and U.S. Congress, a place on the Board of Equalization was “most tempting.”

Instead, he wants to spend more time with his wife, children and grandchildren.

Johannessen has been a familiar face in Northstate politics for 17 years. He served on the Redding City Council before becoming a Shasta County supervisor and then being elected to the Senate seat in 1993, 1994 and 1998.

His current term ends at the close of 2002.

“Coming to the United States from Norway in 1952, I never would have imagined that my future would bring me to this point,” he stated, thanking his family and supporters.

Johannessen’s exit is having the domino effect of pitting various Northstate Republicans against one another as they vie for his vacated seat and others, in turn, step up to run for those positions. Assemblyman Sam Aanestad, R-Grass Valley, and Dick Dickerson, R-Redding, will face off in the March primary for the Senate post.

Hey, who turned out the lights?
For anyone convinced that the huge power outage that plunged most of Chico into the dark last Friday was the nefarious work of terrorists, let us reassure you—it was something far more pedestrian.

The outage was caused by a breaker failure (cause: undetermined) at PG&E’s Table Mountain substation. When the breaker blew, it shut off the lights to upward of 44,000 people in Chico, Nord, Durham and Nelson from 5:40 to 6:45 p.m.

Local law enforcement reported being besieged with callers demanding to now if terrorists were responsible for the outage.

But again—it wasn’t sabotage, so fret not.