What water problem?
It turns out the test on the water in Trinity Hall that caused Chico State to disconnect the fountains for 10 days last month was not accurate after all.

After the initial test by the Department of Health Services reported an elevated amount of cadmium in the water Feb. 5, university officials took an additional 18 samples inside and outside Trinity and Colusa halls. The results came back Feb. 23, all of them well below the federal standard of 5 parts per billion for cadmium.

Staff and students had good reason to be concerned—the initial sample came back at 12 parts per billion. In the short term, drinking water containing more than the standard of cadmium can cause vomiting, diarrhea and muscle cramps. Long-term effects include kidney and liver damage.

After the tests came back at two-tenths part per billion, the faucets were turned back on Feb. 21.

Faculty set to strike
Meetings continued this week between the California Faculty Association and the California State University system in an effort to reach an elusive contract agreement.

Charley Turner, a political science professor at Chico State University and spokesman for the local chapter of the CFA, said that if an agreement isn’t reached, the CFA will vote on whether to strike March 5-8. The CFA board of directors voted Feb. 27 to allow a vote.

Turner said based on what he’s heard from other faculty members, it looks like a strike is inevitable if things aren’t hashed out this week. “It shows we’ll go as far as it takes to get a good contract,” Turner said.

If a strike does occur, it would be the largest in higher education in U.S. history. Turner said it would be arranged in “rolling strikes,” where different campuses would strike only one to two days a week.

Turner said the rolling strikes would minimize impact on students, but that it’s really the last thing anybody wants: “I get up every day hoping it will be resolved.”

Unlikely death at Enloe
Both Enloe Medical Center and the Butte County coroner are looking into the death of a 44-year-old man who died during routine outpatient surgery.

He was John Perrucci, and he’d gone on Feb. 8 to Enloe’s Outpatient Center on Bruce Road to have surgery on his shoulder, which had been injured in an accident. Several physicians who spoke to Chico Enterprise-Record reporter Larry Mitchell said the cause of death was an anesthesia problem.

In a statement, Enloe’s public relations department said it had “started a formal investigation of the case by a multi-disciplinary clinical team” led by the hospital’s medical staff leadership and had brought in an outside agency to do an external review. “We have extended our deepest condolences to the family of the patient,” it stated.

The news comes at a difficult time for the hospital. Last year’s conflict between its administration and anesthesiologists led to the ouster of the highly respected Anesthesiology Associates of Chico in favor of a splinter group of anesthesiologists. There has been concern for some time that the new group of anesthesiologists was too small to meet demand and too reliant on traveling doctors. Enloe has consistently maintained that is not the case and that patients can feel confident about the quality of anesthesiology.