Judge rules for Butte in solar flare-up: Butte County Judge Thomas Kelly ruled against opponents of the Butte College solar project and said the project, which has been on hold since November, may move forward. The Butte Valley Preservation Society, a group of Butte College neighbors, had charged the college did not follow proper environmental-review procedures prior to breaking ground for the solar-panel array that would sit on 13 acres north of campus.

“There is no doubt that [Butte College] addressed environmental concerns with an initial study of the project’s environment effects,” Kelly said in his ruling.

The judge also ruled that the school had properly noticed the project, despite the neighbors’ claim to the contrary, and that the content of the posting was sufficient.

The neighbors, headed up by Maria Rock, who owns a horse ranch that borders the field where the solar array is to be installed, say the project will have a detrimental impact on the environment, including the area’s “viewshed.”

Kelly said based on the evidence it was better to deny the injunction to stop the project because it appeared the school could lose “very significant sums” of money should it be granted.

School officials said they were losing about $1,000 per day on the $1.7 million project that will power up to eight buildings. The school will get a $3.7 rebate when the project comes on line later this year.

Candy vends V-Day vows: Chico residents won’t have to go to Lake Tahoe or Las Vegas in search of a quick wedding this Valentine’s Day. Instead they can enjoy the romantic setting of the Butte County Elections Office. Elvis look-alikes will not be performing the weddings, but soon-to-be-spouses can elect to have Butte County Clerk-Recorder Candace Grubbs pronounce them husband and wife.

“It’s a special time getting married on Valentine’s Day, and the staff likes to make it special and memorable,” Grubbs said. The Clerk-Recorder’s Office announced that it would have a full-wedding package that should fit any budget. The entire ceremony comes in at $127, which includes a marriage license, performance of the ceremony and one certified copy of the marriage license.

To make the day as lovey-dovey as possible, Grubb’s office also provides a bouquet of flowers and a framed picture of the ceremony.

Campus cops checking INTO “derogatory” flyer: University police are looking into what they are terming a “hate incident” after a flyer targeting a minority group was found in the first-floor bathroom of Butte Hall over the weekend. Det. Sgt. Robin Hearn said the department couldn’t release any further details about the contents of the flyer, as that might compromise its investigation. She did strike down a rumor, however, that a specific professor had been targeted. “That would make it a hate crime,” she said.

Hearn called the flyer an “isolated incident” but added that the university is taking it very seriously. Last year, several incidents of racism shook the campus community, including one in which a pair of students was arrested and expelled after they vandalized Craig Hall with racist graffiti, drawing swastikas and writing anti-black, anti-gay and anti-Mexican slogans on doors, posters and message boards. Later, the students claimed they were not racist, just drunk and wanting to “shake things up.”

Tipsters are encouraged to call CSUC police at 898-5372.