Skeeter without pity: It used to be that mosquito bites were just itchy and annoying. Now everything from window glass companies to bug spray bottles are touting their power against West Nile virus, the scourge that’s caused 88 deaths nationwide.

On July 21, the Butte County Public Health Department reported the first 2005 case here: a teenager whose infection was discovered only because he donated blood.

County Health Officer Dr. Mark Lundberg said the case is a “reminder that WNV is in our community and everybody needs to protect themselves against mosquito bites.”

About 80 percent of those infected with the virus exhibit no symptoms and emerge just fine. Most others have mild symptoms. But a small handful suffer severe reactions, and some even die.

At least it ain’t Biggs: After a grand jury report released July 8 found widespread accounting irregularities and wrongly charged student fees within the Chico Unified School District, the school board outwardly seems to be treating the document like a welcome addition to its planning process.

At the board’s July 20 meeting, President Rick Anderson said the report could spur the District Office to oversee school fund management more closely, rather than trusting it all to site management. Student body accounts, for example, will be supervised by the CUSD Business Office.

As recommended, the district is contracting with an outside firm, Fiscal Crisis & Management Assistance Team (FCMAT), that will spend four days in Chico and make money-handling recommendations. The district has 90 days to respond to the grand jury’s report.

Noticeably absent from the action plan was any directive to consider the grand jury’s recommendation that it retract charges made against demoted Marsh Junior High School Principal Jeff Sloan. Superintendent Scott Brown accused Sloan of using student body funds incorrectly and championing Marsh to the detriment of other schools, but the report largely vindicated him.

Trustee Jann Reed read a statement from vacationing Trustee Scott Huber. Huber agreed with that the district should apologize to Sloan and should not stand in the way if he applies for CUSD administrative positions in the future. He went on to say that it would be in the best interests of the district for Brown, who has announced his retirement, to “take leave immediately without cause.”

Mom’s gone—sorta: Chela Patterson, who served as director of activity fee for the Associated Students since 2002, was recently selected as director for the Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) at Chico State.

As director Patterson, a former EOP student herself, will advocate for underrepresented, low-income and first-generation students. Patterson replaces Assistant VP for Student Life Herman Ellis, who served as interim director of EOP, and will begin her new duties this fall.

Patterson’s departure after three years leaves an important vacancy in the A.S., where she not only served as director of activity fee, but as sort of the den mother for the other officers. The A.S. is currently searching for a replacement.