This is not a 1920s Steinway.

This is not a 1920s Steinway.

Skeeter scare: The county Health Department is warning residents to drain ponds and stagnant pools on their property in order to help slow the spread of the mosquito-borne West Nile virus.

Photo By Tom Angel

The virus, which in rare circumstances can cause illness or even death, was confirmed to be in Butte and Tehama counties after dead birds discovered here were found to be carrying it. The virus, which has been moving steadily westward across the United States since 1999, is more of a danger to horses and birds than to humans but has killed almost 600 Americans, mostly elderly Southerners, in the last five years. The virus affects only about 1 percent of those bitten by a carrier mosquito, giving the victim flu-like systems.

Grand old gift: Chico State Music Department’s 1921 Steinway piano is getting a facelift, thanks to Earl R. Kruschke, professor emeritus of political science, and his wife Marilyn Ann’s $25,000 gift. The donation was received in April, and the piano was shipped off to be rebuilt May 1 in New York City. Dr. James M. Bankhead, chairman of the department, said that because of budget cuts the university would have never been able to afford a new Steinway, which now cost about $125,000. “With the gift from Dr. & Mrs. Kruschke, we will have a wonderful instrument that will be equal to or possibly even superior to the instruments being built today,” Bankhead said. The first public performance with this instrument will be on March 25, 2005, at 7:30 p.m. in the Roland-Taylor Music Hall.

Chill, dude: Show-goers at the newly renovated Senator Theater will be happy to hear that the cavernous concert hall should be much cooler in the future, thanks to repairs made to the building’s air conditioning system. According to Senator proprietor Damon Fadale, some of the ducts and vents in the theater had been either disconnected or blocked some time ago but have now been cleared. Attendees at the last two shows there complained of sweltering temperatures and not enough access to water.