Handicapable of crimes: Matthew Lakota, the self-styled disabled activist who was convicted in July of using phony parking tickets to extort money from drivers parked in handicapped spaces, was sentenced last week to serve some 400 hours of community service and pay more than $4,000 in fines. Lakota, who represented himself, dragged his case out for months with a series of legal maneuvers that seemed alternately to exasperate and amuse presiding Judge Robert Glusman.

Though not an actual lawyer, Lakota is a well-known figure at Butte County Superior Court, having been named a “vexatious litigator” for the sheer number of lawsuits and actions he has filed there.

I fought the law… The new Chico baseball team logo has finally been given a face, although it’s hidden behind a bandana.

The Chico Outlaws was chosen as the new name after months of sifting through hundreds of entries as part of the organization’s “name the team” contest. The name was submitted by Lennie Votaw of Corning, who received a check for $500 for his winning entry.

A banner with the logo was unveiled Dec. 15 at a public rally at the Mangrove Safeway, where fans also had a chance to purchase official caps, shirts and sweatshirts.

The yet-to-be-named mascot will be a “cartoonish, kids-friendly raccoon.”

Supermarket strikes loom: Grocery workers in local Albertson’s and Safeway stores may vote next week on whether to go on strike. This news follows a decision by their union, UFCW 588-Northern California, to terminate an extension of their current contract.

The union and store management have been in tough negotiations for five months, since the previous contract expired, without apparent results. The supermarkets are seeking labor concessions in order, they say, in order to meet the competition looming from non-union Wal-Mart supercenters.

“We are committed to maintaining the finest supermarket contract in the industry,” said Jack L. Loveall, president of UFCW 588-Northern California. He said this means no employee-paid premiums for health care and no permanent two-tier system of wages or benefits, such as were granted by supermarket workers in Southern California earlier this year.

The contract extension termination also applies to union members at Northern California Ralphs supermarkets. Extensions are still in place with Bel-Air, Nob Hill, Raley’s, Save Mart and other, independent markets.

UFCW 588 represents some 19,000 members who work in nearly 300 stores in Northern California.