Big train a’comin': The world’s largest operating steam locomotive will be passing through these parts Sept. 2 as it makes its way from Portola to Roseville as part of its seven-state, 37-day tour of the Western United States. Built in 1943, old No. 3985 weighs in at a whopping 1,070,000 pounds, is almost 122 feet long and runs on 12, 6-foot diameter driving wheels and can reach 70 mph.

The big locomotive is scheduled to steam through the Feather River Canyon for a half-hour stop in Oroville at the Old Western Pacific Depot on 2191 High St. at 1 p.m., Friday Sept. 2. For more info go to:

BC says “no” to forester (again): The Butte County Supes once again decided against hiring Frank Stewart, a professional forester who works with the Quincy Library Group (QLG), to advocate for QLG forest management projects. The vote went the same way it did Aug. 2—the last time this came up—with Chico supervisors Jane Dolan and Mary Anne Houx putting the kibosh on Stewart’s efforts to include Butte in a seven-county alliance set up to defend QLG against lawsuits and promote its forest plans.

Those plans are opposed by some environmental groups, partly because they allow loggers to cut trees up to 30 inches in diameter. Several speakers at Tuesday’s meeting said QLG plans would provide both economic benefits and fire protection. But there was some question as to how much oversight Butte would have over Stewart. Houx had also previously stated that the $12,820 Stewart was asking for was too much for the county to put toward defending and promoting the QLG, a federal project already funded by taxpayers.

Vet’s hall takes a fall: The ballroom at the Chico Veterans’ Hall on the Esplanade has been deemed by the county as unfit for use. Apparently following up on complaints received after lath plaster from the ceiling began falling on guests at a recent wedding reception, county officials canceled all upcoming events at the hall until repairs could be made.

Chico’s hall, built in 1927, is just one of five such halls the county owns. The hall has hosted everything from church groups to wrestling matches over the past few years, but with maintenance costs spiraling, the revenue from such events hasn’t been enough to make necessary repairs. The county’s general services division is working to update the rental fees and policies for all its halls, beginning with Paradise’s.

Isn’t that special? Nicole DeMartini, director of legislative affairs for the Associated Students, has stepped down from her position to study abroad in Spain. DeMartini, who was named the California State Student Association’s advocate of the year in 2005, was instrumental in organizing student trips to the Capitol to protest fee hikes in the CSU system. The A.S. will accept applications through Sept. 8 and a special election will be held Sept. 29. Devlin Donnelly, who ran for A.S. president last semester and is known for rapping his speeches, has expressed interest in running for the vacant position.