BEC wins again on wetlands
Thrice Chico’s Butte Environmental Council has sued to protect endangered species that live in seasonal vernal pools, and thrice it has prevailed.

The latest victory came last week, when federal District Court Judge William B. Shubb, in Sacramento, overturned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to omit 900,000 acres in 11 counties from its 2005 final rule designating critical habitat for 15 imperiled vernal-pool plants and animals.

The decision restored protection for the full 1.7 million acres of critical habitat that, as a result of an earlier BEC suit, the FWS had been required to designate in 2002. A Bush administration appointee subsequently blue-penciled the habitat in five counties, including Butte, occasioning further lawsuits.

In his ruling, Shubb accepted the central argument of the plaintiffs, who included five other conservation groups, that the FWS, in excluding the critical habitat, had failed to consider the importance of such a designation to the ultimate recovery of the vernal-pool species. The judge’s decision orders FWS to reconsider its decision to exclude the 900,000 acres and issue a new critical-habitat rule in 120 days.

Pioneering ISP sold
Michael DuFloth is moving out of the Internet business to pursue his dream of winning the World Series of Poker.

DuFloth, who with his wife, Rhonda, started Access Now way back in 1996, when the Internet was still in its infancy, announced this week that the business has been sold to for an undisclosed sum. The sale includes a wealth of local town domain names such as,, and so on that DuFloth had the foresight to acquire for a song shortly after he went into business.

“It was a fabulous 10-year run,” he said in a press release, adding that he hopes to pursue his “lifelong passion of becoming a legendary socialite and community volunteer.” He also expects to indulge his love of poker and hopes to bring a big title back to Chico. He’s not bluffing, either.

Pollock still in Chico?
When Teri Horton appears on The Late Show with David Letterman this Friday (Nov. 10) to promote the documentary Who the $#%& is Jackson Pollock?, a few Chico artists will be watching and wondering how the $#%& this 73-year-old retired long-haul truck driver continues to enjoy the national spotlight.

“We all kind of forgot about it, until we saw that they were doing a film about it,” said Chico artist Susan Larsen. The documentary (which premiered this week in New York City) follows the story of Horton’s struggle to authenticate a painting she bought for $5 in a thrift store as a genuine work by Jackson Pollock. Larsen says she knows the painting is not a Pollock, but rather the work of longtime Chico painter Francis Brown.

After seeing an article in People magazine several years ago about Horton’s find, Larsen and her partner Pat Collentine pointed out the story to Brown, who is a friend. Brown cut out the article, put it in a frame on the wall and forgot about it until Larsen and Collentine saw notice of the film’s premiere in last week’s Sunday New York Times. And, Larsen said, after Collentine made contact with the paper, “the Florida investors who want to purchase the painting called and wanted to talk to Brown.”