Dr. Goodfeel: Oroville hospital administrators confirmed this week that a recently hired surgeon is a past ethics violator who made inappropriate comments and groped a patient while she was anesthetized.

Dr. Steven F. Fletcher, who recently signed a one-year contract to practice surgery at Oroville Hospital, was fined $5,000 by the South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners in 2001 after the board found that Fletcher acted inappropriately toward a female patient in 1998. According to the board’s report, Fletcher “placed an EKG pad on each of the patient’s nipples, commenting, ‘I’ve always wanted to do this,’ and jiggled the patient’s breasts.” His further comments about “pasties” and “a titty bar” apparently made two attending nurses upset enough to report him.

Oroville Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Karl Johansson said the hospital was aware of the incident but considered it “not a problem.”

“He was cleared, he did his little thing, he went to whatever he was required to do,” Johansson said. “He had no problem before and none since, and I think he’s a cool dude.”

No time for Gill: Harjit Singh Gill, the Chico activist who last year pled guilty to perjuring himself before a federal grand jury, was sentenced Monday to 36 months’ probation. According to his attorney, Gill will likely spend six months of that time in a Bay Area halfway house.

Gill, a 22-year-old anarchist, IWW labor organizer and former Chico State student, was well-known among politically active young people in the Chico area for helping organize protests against the Iraq war and against local hate groups. He was called to testify before a federal grand jury in Sacramento investigating a spate of property crimes in the area attributed to the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which the FBI considers a domestic terrorist group.

His lawyer said Gill’s crime was that he failed to provide the names of two witnesses the grand jury was interested in. Subsequently, the FBI arrested Gill at a November 2003 campus event and charged him with perjury, which can carry a sentence of five years in prison. His codefendant, Robert Brooks, was fined $500 in a sentencing last week.

Solar rocks! After months of legal entanglement, Butte College’s solar-panel project will finally see the light. Butte County Superior Court Judge Thomas Kelly ruled June 2 against the Butte County Preservation Society, a group led by neighboring property owner Maria Rock looking to block the project.

Rock has contended throughout that the college ignored environmental impacts and failed to properly notice neighbors of the pending project. The BVPS’s case was filed Nov. 2 to challenge the college’s adoption of a negative declaration of environmental impact through the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). The $7.4 million project, which is partially done, was supposed to be completed last month. Rock blamed her legal loss on the press, calling it “pro-college and very unethical.”