Patriot missive: Having been shot down by the Oroville City Council in its quest to have at least one local agency back a resolution against the federal Patriot Act, members of the Oroville Bill of Rights Defense Committee will try their luck at next Tuesday’s Butte County Board of Supervisors meeting.

The Oroville committee, a sister group to Chico’s defense committee, has had an uphill battle in trying to sway its largely conservative community against the Patriot Act, which gives the federal government more police powers, ostensibly to combat terrorism. When the group’s director, Leslie Kuykendahl, tried to get a hearing from the Oroville council, a bureaucratic snafu caused the item to get basically dropped from the agenda. This time around, the committee will again face a board that is not likely to be overly receptive to its cause.

Say it, don’t spray it: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently gave the California Department of Pesticide Regulations (DPR) a $40,000 grant to promote environmentally conscious pesticide use by almond growers in Butte, Kern and Stanislaus counties. The EPA has found that working with farmers on their pest management practices results in increased utilization of reduced-risk pest control alternatives and environmentally sound spraying practices. Says Chris Heintz, director of the Almond Board of California, the grant “will enable the industry to continue educational efforts about dormant spray impacts and best management practices.” A previous grant from the DPR saw almond growers’ use of the pesticide chlorpyrifos drop from 298,000 pounds to 163,000 pounds and use of the pesticide Diazinon drop from 114,000 pounds to 63,000 pounds. The reduction of these chemicals is a significant gain for environmental advocates, as the pesticides pose a considerable risk for runoff contamination.

Safeway to provide more gas to East Avenue neighborhood: The Chico City Council has agreed with Safeway officials that the growing residential neighborhood sprouting behind the East Avenue store needs another gas station to call its own. The council overturned a Planning Commission vote to deny the station in August. The commission said the station did not meet the General Plan requirements for the area or meet the neighborhood/commercial zoning conditions.

But the council sided with Councilmember Dan Herbert, who noted there is a seven-mile stretch from the Safeway shopping area east to Manzanita and south to 20th Street without a filling station. There is currently a four-pump Union 76 at the Safeway center, but neighbors complained that the price is too high and four pumps are not enough to slake the mighty thirst of their vehicles.

The new station, if it makes it though final approvals, will offer 12 nozzles and should prove popular—the Safeway station on Mangrove dispenses more fuel than any other in Butte County.