Strike on hold
The California State University has reached a tentative agreement with its faculty’s union, the California Faculty Association, apparently averting two-day rolling walkouts planned to begin next week.

According to a CSU press release, the contract would give faculty base pay increases totaling 20.7 percent over four years, as well as step increases for those eligible, making the package worth 24.87 percent.

In addition, the release states, “$28 million will be provided in the form of merit and equity increases that will provide raises for senior faculty who have reached the top of the pay scale, as well as boost junior faculty compensation.”

By the end of the four years, tenure-track professors will be making an average salary of $90,749 and full professors $105,465. The total package will cost the CSU more than $400 million. A portion of that will come from a 10 percent student fee hike.

Final contract language remains to be written and then must be ratified by both the CSU trustees and the CFA membership.

Park gets protection
After some discussion of how it would be implemented, the Chico City Council voted Tuesday (April 3) to establish a sphere of influence around Upper Bidwell Park that would enable the Bidwell Park and Playground Commission to weigh in on planned development there.

The commission had requested the SOI because of concerns about degradation of the park’s viewshed resulting from intrusive home construction on the bluffs above Upper Park and Middle Park. The cow is out of the barn on that one, but the commission wanted to participate in trying not to make a bad situation worse, General Services Director Dennis Beardsley said in so many words.

The commission will be given an opportunity to comment on proposed developments in the SOI before they go to the Planning Commission but will have no official role in the process.

Drunk and dangerous
Janet Edna Stephens, 22, the Chico State senior who plowed into a pedicab last Sept. 16, seriously injuring five people, pleaded guilty March 29 to a single count of felony driving under the influence and five additional allegations of causing serious bodily injury.

Stephens will be sentenced on May 29. She faces up to 18 years in prison.

Bennett to bounce
Sean Bennett (pictured), sports director and lead sports anchor at KHSL-TV and KNVN-TV, is headed out of Chico just a few months after the departure of his former co-worker—and sweetheart—Melissa Cabral, whose last assignment in Chico was as anchor at CW10.

Fortunately for the 28-year-old sportscaster, he landed a job in Fort Myers, Fla.—the same city as Cabral—albeit at a competing station. Bennett starts Monday (April 9) at the NBC affiliate WBBH, where he’ll be co-anchoring a new 30-minute Sunday evening sports show in addition to weekday reporting duties.

His move to Florida bumps him from market No. 130 to No. 64. It’s a good move, he said, adding the most important thing was to be near Cabral, who works as an education reporter at CBS affiliate WINK.