Free pot (cards): Butte County medical marijuana users will soon be able to call themselves “card-carrying medpot patients,” as the county is getting ready to issue medical marijuana cards as mandated by state law SB 420. Supposedly, the cards will help law enforcement separate legitimate patients from recreational users. At the state level, patients have largely ignored the cards, believing the program to be just another way of tracking and eventually busting them.

The new county cards will be free, thanks to a vote by the Butte County Board of Supervisors Tuesday, in which it proposed that card applicants pay $56, the amount county public health bean-counters figure it will cost to issue each card.

At the meeting, a disabled and angry vet told the board the fee would be an undue burden on hundreds of patients in situations similar to his own. In the end, Oroville supe Bill Connelly moved to pass the package of new public health fees, minus the card application fee.

Paradise supe Kim Yamaguchi decried SB 420 as “an unfunded mandate” and joined Richvales’ Curt Josiassen in voting against the motion. It passed 3-2.

County CEO Paul McIntosh seemed peeved by the vote, and reminded the board that the county will still have to issue the cards, only now it will have to find the money to do so somewhere else.

Sick of pledge drives? Some genius with a Tec-22, a semi-auto machine pistol capable of being converted to full-auto, was arrested Sunday night for allegedly shooting up a building at First and Main streets. No one was hurt.

Acting on a witness description of the car used in the drive-by shooting, cops arrested Manuel Magallanes, one of four passengers in the vehicle, about 20 minutes after the shooting and booked him on various weapons charges. The building is home to public radio station KCHO, which was broadcasting at the time, as well as the university’s Geological Services Center.

Hey, that’s not what you said! Did a lack of money kill year-round education or was it a matter of convenience? Supporters of a calendar with alternating short breaks and school sessions feel misled by the Chico Unified School District, because when trustees voted that 2005-06 would be the last year of YRE, the discussion hinged on $69,000 in annual savings. So proponents set about looking for ways to cut costs and raise money to save the program, which they feel gives students a better learning experience.

“In my opinion, kids’ growth and success are not an inconvenience,” said parent June McLaughlin.

Randy Meeker, business guru for the CUSD, said the idea of simplifying things by not running multiple calendars “was always there but we didn’t bring it up in budget cuts because it wasn’t material.” Now, the district is considering a compromise that would stretch the school year out for everyone—sure to ignite even more debate.

Somebody please think of the children! The troubled nonprofit that runs Butte County’s Head Start preschool program was stripped of federal funding and may have to give up control over the program, as their regional appeal to federal Administration for Children and Families officials was denied.

The Community Action Agency (CAA), which provided services to some 660 families, was suspended and taken over by the feds in late September, after inspection teams found problems at an Oroville daycare center. CAA program director Tom Tenorio disagreed with the ruling and vowed to continue the appeals process.