And then there were two: Sometimes, it’s enough just to be nominated. Motivated by “extensive soul-searching,” one of the three finalists in the search for a new Chico State University president has pulled out: Karen S. Haynes, president of the University of Houston-Victoria.

Now only two candidates will face the campus community next week: Lois Muir, vice president for academic affairs at the University of Montana, on Oct. 20, and Paul J. Zingg, provost and vice president for academic affairs at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, on Oct. 21.

Zingg might face questions about his involvement as a defendant in a lawsuit filed Sept. 25 by Cal Poly student Steven Hinkle, who alleges that Zingg and other administrators stifled his First Amendment rights. Hinkle was in the student union putting up fliers promoting a speech by a conservative black author when liberal-minded students objected. The university charged Hinkle with violating a state code forbidding disruption of a campus function, and the issue has since received national media attention.

Zingg said the case is “unfortunate” and that no one in San Luis Obispo or Chico “would find a stronger advocate than me on free speech and First Amendment issues.”

He said he is excited to visit the campus and face questions next week. “I can’t wait. I love it,” he said. “The whole purpose is to get to know the campus and for the campus to have further exposure to me.”

Muir said she, too, is a people person and looking forward to visiting Chico for the first time. She’s an optimist, even knowing the tight budget situation here. “Every position I’ve held we have dealt with difficult economic circumstances,” she said. “[I try to] do it in a way that gets people pulling together.”

Wasting away Chico: Residents may see a rise in their garbage pickup rates soon. One company is asking the city for permission for a 47-percent hike, and its competitor says increases are not far off for it, too.

Norcal Waste Systems on Oct. 15 went before the Solid Waste Committee, a subcommittee of the City Council, asking for the increase to cover increased workers’ compensation, vehicle license fees and other expenses.

Bill Mannel, district manager for North Valley Waste Management, said in an interview that his company is facing similar cost pressures; it’s just waiting to see how much the county raises tipping fees later this month before calculating how much it needs to raise prices. “We would like to deal with the approved facts as we understand them,” he said. “Then we can figure out the impact to the homeowner.”

Forty-seven percent may sound like a lot, but in dollars it translates to about $4.50 more per garbage can picked up per month.