Flight delayed? Log on
Travelers waiting for flights at the Chico Municipal Airport now can log on to the Internet to pass the time.

The city decided to offer free wireless access in the terminal in anticipation of added flights to Los Angeles and Portland, Ore., in the coming months. It’s also a way to help the business community, said Lynn McEnespy, Chico’s Information Systems director.

The wireless connection, which started up in mid-November, was the idea of Assistant City Manager and Airport Manager Dave Burkland. “He wants to encourage business and the use of the airport,” McEnespy explained. “He said, ‘What would it take to put wireless out there?’ And frankly, it doesn’t take a whole heck of a lot.”

The service is available at all times and does not require a password.

Monopoly or competition?
In the latest twist in MediaNews Corp.’s buy-up of nearly every newspaper in the Bay Area that it didn’t already possess except the Hearst-owned San Francisco Chronicle, a federal court judge has slammed the two companies for failing to reveal they had secretly been planning to collaborate on advertising sales and distribution.

In her Nov. 28 ruling in an antitrust case brought by San Francisco developer Clint Reilly, Judge Susan Illston issued a restraining order forbidding the two companies from entering into such an agreement, noting the “likelihood that the transactions at issue here were anti-competitive and illegal.”

Illston did not throw out the MediaNews purchase deal altogether, ruling that if Reilly succeeds in proving it illegal, it can be broken up later. (MediaNews also owns the Chico Enterprise-Record in addition to numerous other papers in the Sacramento Valley.)

It’s finally final
Two of this past local election’s closest races, for the District 3 seat on the county Board of Supervisors and the third seat on the Chico City Council, have finally been decided after the remaining provisional and paper ballots were tallied this week.

Maureen Kirk, the favorite to win the supervisor seat, did just that, beating Steve Bertagna by 521 votes. Tom Nickell (pictured), whose lead decreased from 40 to a scant 28 votes over Mark Sorensen after some 13,000 absentee ballots were counted Nov. 20, tripled his lead to win a council seat by 78 votes.

One local Democratic activist who was on hand at the Elections Office office when the 2,000 provisional and paper ballots were being counted said he noticed that many of them had come from the Bell Memorial Union at Chico State, which may explain why Nickell’s lead increased so dramatically.