Photo By Tom Gascoyne

Clean-burning building: As the winter rains start to fall, the city has issued a cleanup notice to the owner of the building that burned last July 5 at 320 Flume St. (pictured below). For the past five months the exterior of the burned-out hulk has remained in the same sorry state as the day firefighters rolled up their hoses and drove their fire trucks away. Broken glass, wood, shingles, a small barbeque, metal flashings and material burned beyond identification litter the yard around the building, which was the site of the original Enloe Hospital. Most of the roof is missing, and large strips of sheet metal hang from the broken window frames and the sides of the building.

Last July an old-style electrical connection apparently heated up in the building’s basement, sparking the fire that left three businesses and three dwellers homeless. A strip of the yellow police warning tape cordoning off the site is still attached to the front door. A city code enforcement officer issued the notice on Nov. 19, and some cleanup has taken place.

Dave Purvis , a city building official, said his department is sensitive to issuing such notices to those who’ve suffered a fire loss. But still the owners are responsible for securing damaged buildings that are accessible to transients or the otherwise curious. Owner Roy Ellis is said to be considering rebuilding the structure as another residential/commercial mix.

Stark park on mark to embark: Now that they’ve gotten those bothersome 130-year-old elm trees and the pesky day-time drug dealers out of the way, the city can move ahead with plans to spruce up the downtown City Plaza Park. And that’s exactly what the City Council did at the day-long meeting this week when it voted 7-0 to adopt a mitigated negative declaration (we can live with any environmental degradation that may result) to have the Parks Department return next spring with ideas on how to pay for the renovation and a time frame to put it into place.

With its new centerpiece fountain, public art, new trees and performing arts stage, the price tag will run between $1.5 million and $1.7 million. Work could begin by next summer. Give it a hundred years and it’ll look just like the old park.

Money, honey: Paul Zingg , who will officially start work as Chico State University’s new president on Feb. 1, 2004, will be earning $205,008 annually, plus a $30,000-a-year housing allowance. It may stand out that Zingg’s housing kitty alone is more than many Chicoans’ gross income, but in setting his salary Nov. 19 the California State University Board of Trustees acknowledged that the CSU pays significantly less than comparable public and private schools.

Plus, Zingg is making less than both of his predecessors, Manuel Esteban and the man who will become Zingg’s right-hand man, Provost and Interim President Scott McNall .

Chico State presidents used to chill in the Julia Morgan House near campus at 341 Mansion Ave., but when Esteban came to town he found the conditions lacking and negotiated an allowance to pick his own digs.

Now, the building formerly referred to as the President’s Mansion is the Albert E. Warrens Reception Center.