Stones rock Zingg: Geez, the guy just got here. Fortunately, when Chico State University President Paul Zingg was taken to Enloe Medical Center by ambulance on March 29, his scary stomachache turned out to be kidney stones.
Still, those suckers hurt, so Zingg, who was released three and one-half hours after he got to the hospital, is taking a little rest.
“He’s expected to be fine in a day or two,” said Joe Wills, Chico State’s spokesman.
Hate the game: The two geniuses who allegedly drew swastikas and other racist graffiti all over Whitney Hall got a break in court last week when Judge James Reilly threw out the prosecution’s hate crime charges on the grounds that no particular group or institution associated with a group was targeted. D.A. Mike Ramsey, who had argued that a defaced school diversity poster was enough to bring hate crime enhancements, said he still hoped to get the defendants—CSUC students Deric Braito and Timothy Simmons—on felony vandalism charges, which carry a maximum of three years in prison. Under the law, vandalism must cause $400 in damages to be considered a felony, so the defense will likely challenge CSUC cost estimates and ask that the charges be dropped to misdemeanors.
Man sentenced in fatal tank explosion: The owner of the company responsible for the fatal explosion of a gasoline holding tank three years ago was sentenced to one year in the county jail, given three years’ probation and fined $1.3 million in Butte County Superior Court March 26. Howard Jacobson, 72, was supervising the cleanup of a 25,000 gallon tank at Jessie Lange Distributor on the Midway in south Chico when a spark from an improperly grounded vacuum hose caused an explosion that killed 37-year-old Jack Nickerson and badly burned 49-year-old Randall Barclay of Durham.
District Attorney Mike Ramsey said his office wanted prison time for Jacobson but was satisfied with Judge Thomas Kelly’s sentence.
“Judge Kelly decided to do jail time and probation, which is understandable considering you have a 72-year-old with a clean record and a number of [letters from] supporters.”
Included in that support was a letter from Nickerson’s parents who said a prison term would not bring back their dead son.
“In our mind it was criminally negligent,” Ramsey said. “All the things that he did not do added up to a blueprint for disaster.” He said the company was “cutting corners to save money.”
Ramsey said Kelly noted that he sees a lot of tragedy in his courtroom “but also sees flashes of human dignity and the ability to rise above adversity. ‘And Mr. Barclay,’ the judge said, ‘you are one of those people.’”