CSU trustees hike fees
It will cost Chico State University students more to attend school next year. That’s because, at their meeting Wednesday (March 14), Cal State trustees voted to hike undergraduate fees by 10 percent, to about $3,400, beginning in the fall.

CSU officials argue that the increased revenues are needed to maintain quality and that the universities are still less expensive than most peer institutions. Students say the hikes will make it harder for many people to attend college in a state where the cost of living is high.

Jail-bound, not prison-bound
Chico’s most famous grandmother, Cathy Webster, is heading to the Sacramento County Jail Wednesday (March 21) to start her two-month sentence for trespassing on a military base. “Going to a county jail is something new for us federal misdemeanorites,” Webster wrote in an e-mail. Typically, she would have been sent to a federal prison rather than a county jail. She expects to be released May 21.

In other activist-granny news, Dorothy Parker recently released a book titled You, Too, Could Go to Federal Prison, in which she chronicles her incarceration for the same crime as Webster’s. It’s available at Lyon Books in downtown Chico.

Supes weigh in on Wal-Mart
There are many reasons why a Wal-Mart would be a bad idea for north Chico, Butte County supervisors agreed unanimously Tuesday morning (March 13).

“We were not looking at it as Wal-Mart,” Supervisor Maureen Kirk explained by phone. “We were looking at it as a large retail store, the size of the complex, that would affect north Chico.”

The board sent a letter to Steve Peterson, Chico’s planning director, regarding the site’s draft environmental-impact report. The letter addresses concerns from several departments in Butte County, including Public Works, Development Services and Butte County Fire/Cal Fire.

Among the biggest concerns are that the DEIR doesn’t take into consideration the county’s North Chico Specific Plan, which includes the project site. “It is clear … that a regional shopping center of the scale proposed under this DEIR was not anticipated for this area by the NCSP,” the letter reads.

Impacts to traffic, fire services and Shasta Elementary also were not properly looked at, Kirk said.

Utility goes electric
Think the electric car is dead? Think again. PG&E announced recently that it is buying four electric sport-utility trucks to its fleet in June and expects to order 200 more of them before long to help cover 70,000 square miles in Central and Northern California.

The zero-emissions vehicles (pictured) are made by Ontario-based Phoenix Motorcars, cost about $45,000, travel 100 miles or more on a charge and can reach speeds of 95 mph carrying five passengers and a full payload. The key is a new lithium-ion battery that, with a special tool, can be recharged in just 10 minutes.

For more on these remarkable vehicles, go to