Sutter County rice grower Alfred Montna was presented with the 2001 California Rice Industry Award Aug. 29 at the annual Rice Field Day at the Rice Experiment Station near Biggs.

Montna, who holds an agricultural-management degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, has worked to affect national policy—like farm bills—and helped found the Northern California Water Association. For years, he was on the board of the California Rice Industry Association, pushing for water quality, conservation and other goals. Now, he serves on the board of the California Department of Food and Agriculture and holds roles in various other groups.


The Chico television stations KHSL and KNVN have jointly announced appointments to two key positions.

Morgan Schmidt, who’s been production manager at KNVN for two years, is now the promotion director for both affiliates. Christopher Westbay, who came to KHSL in July 2000, is now the production manager.

Health care

Feather River Hospital in Paradise earned high ratings from patients in a recent survey. The hospital volunteered to be a subject of the 2001 Patients’ Evaluation of Performance in California (PEP-C) project, which gauged the impressions of 20,000 people treated in 113 hospitals statewide.

Respondents gave the hospital three stars, for “above average,” the highest possible rating. Breaking it down, surgical patients gave three stars, while maternity and medical patients both gave the hospital a two-star rating: “average.”

By contrast, Enloe Medical Center, Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital and Oroville Hospital each rated two stars.


Butte College is breaking ground Sept. 12 on a classroom, its first new, permanent facility in 25 years. The structure will house health and public safety programs, and college Superintendent/President Sandra Acebo stated, “This new facility will help us train the people who touch our lives every day.”

The police and fire academies are a key part of the local economy, and nurses are needed to address shortages. These groups had been taught in portable, “temporary” buildings that had been in use since 1968.

Economic development

The Tri-County Economic Development Corporation is joining up with the California Statewide Certified Development Corporation and the California Economic Development Lending Initiative to aid business financing.

The goal is to “expand lending to growing businesses in rural areas north of Sacramento,” explained Marc Nemanic, Tri-County EDC’s executive director, in a press release. This should happen as the different organizations pool their resources toward the common goal.

Rick Farley, who recently was a commercial loan officer with Butte Community Bank, has been hired to lead the new venture.