BRING IT ON: In a case that plays into every stereotype of the bitter, bitchy cheerleader, members of Chico State University’s Cheer and Dance Team have accused their former coach of embezzling money.

University Police Sgt. Robyn Hearne said she investigated the allegations, which were made nearly seven months ago, and found no reason to pursue criminal charges. The Butte County District Attorney’s Office agreed.

“They believed that money was missing,” Hearne said. “It was not substantiated.”

Hearne agreed that it sounded like a case of disgruntled girls who hadn’t been getting along with their adviser.

The coach said she has since resigned from the advising post she had held for nearly a decade but remains employed by the university in another role.

She told the News & Review, who chose not to name her because she was found to have done nothing wrong, that the team members have succeeded in damaging her reputation.

“It’s been a very stressful position to be put in,” said the woman, in tears. “They’re just out to slander my name and hurt me.”

Keene to the rescue? State Highway 32 heading east out of Chico needs to be widened, what with all the current and future growth on both sides of road. Who pays? Technically it’s a state highway, so the state should kick down, right? Well the state’s broke, and the increased traffic is caused by the residential subdivisions the Chico City Council keep approving. This has been the game for the last 10 years.

Some city councilmembers think our assemblyman, Rick Keene, can argue with the state to free up some of the $10 million needed for the improvements. After all, he spent eight years on the council arguing that the state should pay. Now he’s in Sacramento, where he is gaining power and leverage. That, at least, is what some councilmembers think, and they voted this week to ask Keene to go to bat for the city.

Councilman Dan Nguyen-Tan said he was less than confident that Keene can secure the funding. “Rick was on this council for eight years, and there was no movement [toward gaining state funding],” Nguyen-Tan said. “I’m not optimistic Keene can get that money, especially with the [state] budget the way it is.”

Councilman Dan Herbert said it wasn’t fair for the state to stiff the rural areas like Chico. “It’s certainly worth a fight,” to try to secure the money, he said.

Another option is to increase developer fees, always an unpopular move with council conservatives, who currently account for half of the six-member council.

Play ball, already! Baseball is back in town.

“I’m here to tell you that Chico is one of our charter cities,” said President Dave Kaval from the new Golden Baseball League’s offices in Pleasanton.

“I’m thrilled to have such an enthusiastic baseball community hosting,” he added.

The maiden season of the new pro league will open in late May 2005, with the team playing a 90-game season, with home games at the old Chico Heat haunt of Nettleton Stadium.

In addition to Chico, Long Beach, Fullerton and San Diego, two Arizona teams (Yuma and Phoenix) will be part of the league. A seventh unspecified team will likely be added this week.

Initial tryouts will take place in the fall, and a “name the team” competition is taking place over the next six weeks at the league Web site (