County insures against terror
While the likelihood of Butte County being attacked by terrorists is about the same as that of seeing Osama bin Laden buying pork rinds at a Chico 7-Eleven, the Butte County Board of Supervisors still had to buy terrorism insurance for all county buildings.

Approved unanimously as part of the consent agenda at the April 9 board meeting, the action authorizes the purchase of about $30,000 worth of sabotage and terrorism insurance, which will provide coverage of up to $100 million, minus a $500,000 deductible. County Risk Manager Steve Musselman said the insurance policy the county buys every year around this time had been weakened by a new sabotage and terrorism exclusion put in place after Sept. 11. The clause was so broadly written, he said, that it could exclude acts of vandalism and other common crimes.

“Due to the events of Sept. 11, the insurance market has not only increased premiums but started excluding certain events,” Musselman said. “We’ve got over $200 million in county building values, so we’ve got a lot to lose.”

The county’s action comes at a time when municipalities across the country are struggling to provide both terrorism and regular insurance for city buildings and landmarks. The annual price for insuring the Golden Gate Bridge, for example, doubled this year to more than $1 million, and that policy also excludes acts of terror and sabotage. The Bush administration is currently pushing Congress to provide financial backup for insurance companies that offer terror policies.

Enviro class: elective or requirement?
One initiative on this year’s student ballot has elicited both the applause of the environmentally aware and the fear of the lazy at Chico State University. The work of an environmental-studies class may add yet another course to the general-education requirements of incoming freshmen, if voters approve the advisory measure April 17-18 and the administration signs off on it.

Students enrolled in SOSC 240, “Environmental Studies Capstone Seminar,” are required to come up with an initiative for the university as a class project. This semester the students decided to petition to add a new course requirement in environmental studies to the general-education curriculum. About 1,200 students signed the petition.

“Regardless of how the students vote, this will be a great learning process for all the students involved,” said Tiffany Yost, vice president of business and finance for the Associated Students. An environmental-studies minor herself, Yost added, “It is very important for students to know the detriment they can do to the Earth and the footprints that they leave on it.”

McGuire’s last call: He’s outta there
Jerry McGuire, who chose retirement over another run for Butte County superintendent of schools, has decided to leave even before his term officially expires.

McGuire’s 12-year run was slated to end in December 2002, but with his able successor, Assistant Superintendent Don McNelis, waiting in the wings, McGuire decided to turn over the reins in June, to coincide with the end of the fiscal year.

“With Don’s successful election in the March primary, I believe it is important to have a smooth and natural transition for the staff and to start the academic year, the new budget year and the planning for the 2002-03 school year with Don as the county superintendent,” he stated in a press release.

With the exception of his service on statewide boards, his retirement ends a 38-year career in public education for McGuire, who also won young fans by hosting children’s story times and—don’t tell—dressing up as Santa Claus at Christmastime.