Respected Ridge historian dies
Butte County lost a valued and beloved soul Oct. 6 with the death of 85-year-old historian and author Lois McDonald. Ironically, a copy of what would turn out to be McDonald’s last book, Magalia to Stirling City, arrived in our offices the same day.

McDonald had lived in a house in the woods in Magalia since 1962 where, with husband Archie, she raised four children, three from a previous marriage. Archie died four years ago. She wrote eight books in her career, including Annie Kennedy Bidwell: An Intimate History, a biography reviewed by this paper last year in a cover story about the wife of Chico founder John Bidwell.

McDonald was born in Illinois and graduated from Illinois State leading to a 30-year teaching career.

Clean up this meth
It might be the first time the Sierra Club and Assemblyman Rick Keene, R-Chico, are on the same side of a piece of legislation. After AB 1078 successfully passed the Legislature, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Oct. 7 signed it into law, requiring the Department of Toxic Substances Control to come up with standards for cleaning methamphetamine contamination on private properties and require owners to notify potential buyers or renters of the meth history there.

Keene teamed up with Democrat Debra Bowen of Marina Del Rey after learning of the travails of Kent and Cindy Needham of Chico, who bought a home only to learn—after suffering a variety of health problems—that it used to be a meth lab.

Bustin’ up the party
Wait for it … The next time you can party ever-so-hearty, that is.

The city of Chico continues to revise its Second-Response Ordinance, considering at an Oct. 12 meeting of the Internal Affairs Committee whether to increase the time limits within which a residence qualifies for a fine for cops coming out again after an initial warning.

As it stands now, the limit is 18 hours under the city’s noise regulations and 12 hours under the civil liability section. After a pair of community meetings, the dominant proposal was 72 hours, but some South Campus residents are vying for 48.

“In Chico, the parties usually start on Thursday,” explained city Police Chief Bruce Hagerty, which means that a party host or property owner could be warned twice in one weekend but never face the fines of up to $1,000 intended to compensate the city for its time.

The city is also considering a Safety Plan Ordinance, which would require people planning large parties (100 or more is the proposal) to file a plan with the city and face finds if it’s violated.

Death on the Tundra
In the long, cold, winter approaching, the homes of the poor will become icy tombs. Weeping mothers will clutch frostbitten babies with gloved hands, holding them close to their sweatered bosoms, wailing with visible breath and cursing the frozen tears on their raw, chapped faces.

Ok, that’s being melodramatic. But the price of natural gas, which is used to heat half the homes in the U.S., is expected to rise by at least 20 percent this winter—maybe more. PG&E blames the increase on a tight supply of gas due to hurricane damage in the Gulf. According to a press release, the company is “expanding payment options” and lowering the bar for financial assistance. See for details.