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KPAY News Archives for 2018-01

Congressman LaMalfa on Train with GOP Lawmakers that Collided with Truck

GOP lawmakers were on a train taking them to a policy retreat in West Virginia that struck a dump truck near Charlottesville, Virginia. One person was reported killed in the truck.
Action News Now is reporting that North State Congressman Doug LaMalfa was on the train. Reports indicate that the passengers on the train were not injured in the collision.


Ponderosa Fire Starter Sentenced

The man who started the Ponderosa Fire last August gets 14 years in prison. 30 year old John Ballenger received that sentence today in Butte County Court. The exact sentence was 14 years 4 months with a minimum of 12 years behind bars before he's eligible for parole. He must also pay 2 point 9 million dollars in restitution. He'd pled no contest to the arson charges.

Bodies Found on Property in Arbuckle, Man Arrested

Colusa County Sheriff's detectives  say a man has been arrested after two women's bodies were found on his father's property _ one in a freezer and another in a pond. The Colusa County Sheriff's Office says Martin Ehrke was arrested Thursday. Detectives had been called to the property in Arbuckle with a report of a woman's body found. They discovered her in a large freezer in a bedroom. Hours later found the woman in the pond, and arrested Ehrke.

Chains Required in Butte and Tehama Counties

The Chico Enterprise Record is reporting chains being required on sections of Butte and Tehama county roadways this morning. As of 7:30 there are chain requirements on Highway 32 from eight miles east of Forest Ranch. Chains are not required for four wheel drive vehicles with snow tires.
Chains controls are also in place on Oroville Quincy Highway from Upper Baldrock Road to Mountain House.
In Tehama County Highway 36 eight miles west of Mineral chains are required.


The Butte County Sheriff's Office Records Division Closed Today

The Sheriff's Office says the all day closure of the records unit today is so staff can learn a new records management system. 
Some of the services provided by the Records Unit include, release of crime reports, release of impounded vehicles the processing of California Concealed Carry Weapons Licenses and other permits. 
The Records Unit is located at 5 Gillick Way in Oroville. 

Tornado Warning | January 25, 2:10pm PST Affecting Loma Rica, Palermo areas of Butte County.

If you live in the Loma rica, Iowa City or Palemo areas, please take shelter immediately. Tornado Warning has been issued for Butte, Yuba Counties until 2:45pm. Take shelter immediately if in its path!
Sign up for KPAY Weather Alerts to get live Doppler and weather alerts to your mobile device.


Former CPD Officer enters Plea in Court

A former Chico Police Sergeant charged with assaulting a suspect pleads not guilty in court Wednesday. It comes in the case of Scott Ruppel whose attorney gave his plea of not guilty in his place. The charges stem from body camera video reportedly showing Ruppel putting 21-year-old William Rowley the 2nd who was already in handcuffs in a stranglehold back in August. According to Chico Police, Ruppel was put on administrative leave and he has since retired from the police department.

Chico Mayor Previews State of the City

Chico's Mayor says the State of the City Celebration is like Chico's Oscars. Chico Mayor Sean Morgan made that statement on our Morning News today in previewing tomorrow's State of the City at the Card Center at 3 in the  afternoon. Morgan says he'll outline how people can help the problems pushed on the city by the state.

Chico School Lockdowns

A domestic violence call leads to school lockdowns in south Chico. A girl called Chico Police stating that her stepfather, identified as 32-year-old Michael Sterling and her mother were engaged in an argument at their apartment on Notre Dame Boulevard before 10:30 Tuesday morning. That argument allegedly escalated into a physical altercation. Police received a report that Sterling had left the area on foot, allegedly armed with a pistol. This prompted police to place nearby March Jr. High School and Little Chico Creek Elementary School on lockdown. According to a Chico Police Department press release, officers quickly located and detained Sterling. Police called off the lockdown which lasted less than 5 minutes. Sterling was arrested for domestic violence and a felon in possession of a firearm.

Chico Vice Mayor Wont Seek reelection

Chico's Vice Mayor will not seek re-election. Vice Mayor Reanette Fillmer made that announcement Tuesday. Fillmer recently took the position of vice president and chief administrative services officer at Golden State Farm Credit. She said the new position would have a greater workload and time commitment. With Fillmer leaving that leaves 3 seats open for the Council for the election in November.

Rep Doug Lamalfa reacts to Immigration and DACA

The recent government shutdown didn't have to happen and defied logic to both parties. That from Northstate Congressman Doug LaMalfa. He says the Senate will give the immigration issue a hearing--but he made it clear the Senate is only guaranteeing a process, not an outcome. LaMalfa says members of both parties are more sympathetic to the DACA situation than people might think. He says the top issue for him and other House Republicans is border security.


Chico Police Arrest a Robbery Suspect from Oklahoma

A 13-year-old boy from Oroville reportedly asked 32-year-old Jeffrey Karr if he could use his cigarette lighter at the AM PM on Business Lane around 9 Monday morning. Karr had the teen meet him in a jeep parked near Toys R Us. While inside the vehicle Karr allegedly pulled what appeared to be a hand gun and demanded the victim's property. The teen complied and then escaped from the jeep. He found a security officer to call for help.
Officers arrived and located the jeep where they reportedly found an airsoft-style pistol and some of the victim's property. Karr was arrested for robbery and intimidating a victim. Karr's accomplice, 28-year-old Christina Halye was also arrested.
According to a Chico Police Department press release, Karr has an extensive criminal history in Oklahoma.


Facciuto Murder Latest Son Arrested but not charged

A Chico man considered a person of interest in the death of his mother late last week has been charged with auto theft. 32-year-old Alton Facciuto was arraigned in a Butte County courtroom Monday. He is charged with theft of his mother's car and for violating his parole.  Facciuto and his mother Sherry were reported missing Thursday. Later deputies found Sherry's empty vehicle allegedly crashed into a fence near Bed Bath and Beyond in Chico. Early monday morning Sherry Facciuto was reportedly found dead at her home on Anita Road. Deputies found and arrested Alton Facciuto later that morning. According to court documents, Facciuto has an extensive criminal history including prison time for robbery.   
According to the Butte County D-A's Office, Facciuto has not confessed to the murder.

Chico Sting Operation

Chico Police partnered with other area agencies for a theft enforcement operation on Friday. The detail focused on those who are currently on probation for theft and burglary related crimes as well as contacting suspected criminals on the streets. A bait car was also used.
According to a Chico Police Department press release, there were 6 felony arrests, 3 firearms recovered one of which was reported stolen, 2 recovered stolen bicycles, and allegedly 30 grams of heroin was found.
Police say these operations are in response to the on-going high numbers of theft and burglaries in Chico in recent months.


Three are arrested in Chico for Fraudulent Checks

Deputies were dispatched to the California Check Cashing Store on 1456 Mangrove Avenue around 9:45 Monday morning after a person allegedly attempted to cash a fraudulent check. Several checks were also reportedly attempted to be cashed at other businesses in Butte County. Deputies searched a residence on Magnolia Avenue in Chico and reportedly located printing machines, blank checks, and numerous fraudulent checks printed with different business names on them. According to a Butte County Sheriff's Office press release, deputies also found evidence that the subjects were attempting to counterfeit U.S. paper currency.
43-year-old Markee Harris, 35-year-old Jessica Jimenez, and 35-year-old Victoria Johnson were arrested on various charges of check fraud, identity theft, and grand theft.

Bus Service from Chico to Sacramento

Bus Service could be coming to Northstaters going to Sacramento. The Butte County Association of Governments recently applied for a series of grants that could make the service a reality. BCAG Executive Director Jon Clark says after a look at the situation it's for a 3 year pilot program.
The idea is there would be two morning runs at 5 and 6 O'Clock and then return runs to Chico in the late afternoon. Clark says studies show there are about 15 hundred people who work in Sacramento and currently commute there.


Chico Shoplifting Suspect Arrested

A man with warrants out for his arrest is allegedly caught shoplifting at a Chico store. Loss prevention staff at Kohl's spotted a man inside the store around 4 Friday afternoon who was suspected of stealing merchandise from the store two days earlier. The employees believed the suspect was concealing merchandise and as he left the store they reportedly nabbed him. According to a Chico Police Department press release, a records check revealed that the suspect, 50-year-old Thomas Rainbolt had three warrants for his arrest. One of those warrants was for vehicle theft. Besides stolen merchandise police allegedly found a small amount of methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia.

Chico Police Warning About IRS Scammers

The Chico Police Department is warning residents about IRS scammers.
This time of year there are a lot of scammers calling residents claiming to be Internal Revenue Service officials.
Chico Police say if you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the IRS and you don't owe any taxes there are several steps you can take:
*Do NOT give out any personal information and hang up immediately
*You can report your call to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at
or call: 1-800-366-4484
*Report the call to the Federal Trade Commission. Use the FTC Complain Assistant at f-t-c dot gov at
and be sure to add "IRS Telephone Scam" in the notes.


Stockton Gang Member Sentenced For Chico Shooting

24-year-old Tyrone Sotolongo was sentenced Wednesday to 34 years in state prison after he was convicted in November of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and other related weapons charges, that according to a Butte County District Attorney Office press release.
The conviction stems from an incident near the intersection of the Esplanade and Cohasset Road back in June 2017 when Sotolongo chased and fired at least nine shots from a 9mm semi-automatic handgun at a 23-year-old victim. Investigators believe it was a drug deal gone awry. Police say bullets struck buildings and cars. No one was reported hurt in the incident.


Oroville Dam Forensic Report Released

California's Department of Water Resources and other National dam safety experts come in for some harsh criticism in the final forensic report over the spillway collapses last February. The independent panel released its report today and said the Oroville Dam had inherent design and construction weaknesses. It says the fault lies not on any one thing, but a series of events that led to the evacuation order where some 200 thousand people were threatened. In the future, the panel says one person should be responsible for dam safety and the dam safety culture and program within DWR must change.

North Valley Animal Disaster Group gets new Space

Butte County has come to the aid of the North Valley Animal Disaster Group. The county's old public works yard in Chico is now the new home of the group. County Administrator Shari McCracken says the group can now set up shop on 20th and Locust in Chico.The county had to clean up the property because of old fuels there and McCracken says the group said they needed a spot and it all worked out.


Fatal Highway 99 Collision This Morning

UPDATE:as of 11am
The CHP has reopened Hwy 99  after closing this section of the highway since the collision.
A fatal collision on Highway 99 at East Hamilton Road near the Thermalito Afterbay happened before 6 this morning. A pick up and a sedan hit each other head-on. The CHP is saying a Honda Accord involved in the crash was reported stolen and that the unidentified driver of that vehicle was killed in the collision. According to the CHP a Ford Ranger and a Red Suburban were also involved in the crash. The CHP says the occupants of the pickup were injured but no word yet on the extent to their injuries.
Officers have closed both northbound and southbound lanes of Highway 99 and have closed from East Hamilton Road to B Street in the town of Biggs the Estimated time of opening to be around 10:30 this morning. This from the CHP incident website: CALTRANS IS DETOURING TRAFFIC OFF NB 99 TO E BIGGS, TO LARKIN RD TO SR162 WEST BACK TO SR99, AND SB TRAFFIC IS DETOURING OFF AT W HAMILTON RD TO RICETON SOUTH TO AFTON RD EAST TO 8TH ST TO B ST EAST TO SR99.


First Check of Snowpack

A low snowpack does NOT seem to have State Water Officials worried. The Department of Water Resources took its first snow survey Wednesday and the snowpack was only 24 percent statewide. DWR Spokesman Doug Carlson says last year's record rainfall helped a lot.
He says the sought after "rivers of moisture" have been blocked by a High Pressure System off the West Coast. He says that will kick the air into Canada, and that helps explain why it's so cold on the East Coast right now.

Highway 99 Fatal Collision This Morning

The CHP reported a head-on collision at Highway 99 between 162 East and 162 West around 7 this morning.
The northbound and southbound lanes in the area are closed.
According to the CHP website, southbound traffic is being diverted from Highway 99 to Highway 162 West. Northbound traffic is being diverted to Highway 162 West to the Midway. The CHP is saying there is no estimated time when that section of highway will reopen.
No word on the number of vehicles involved --- the CHP is reporting at least one fatality and at least three injuries including at least one major injury with a woman being life flighted to Enloe Medical Center.


Check Before You Light Advisory for Chico

A strong high pressure system is creating strong pollution-trapping inversions prompting the Butte County Air Quality Management District to request that residents in the Chico area voluntarily refrain from using their wood stoves and fireplaces until midnight tonight.
For more information and to sign up for alerts you can visit or call the CBYL Hotline at 332-9409.  

Butte County Authorities are Searching for a Felony Suspect from Chico

Butte County authorities are on the lookout for a suspect wanted on a felony. Deputies arrived to Jasper Way in Chico to serve an arrest warrant to 30-year-old Ryan Rash. He was wanted on a felony warrant for failing to complete the Butte County SWAP program. According to Butte County officials, SWAP is a program consists of working in the community rather than serving time in jail. 
According to a Butte County Sheriff's Office press release, Rash allegedly fled on foot and then got into an Infinity sports car leading deputies on a chase. Deputies called off the pursuit due to the high speeds in residential neighborhoods.
Rash is wanted for the felony no bail warrent and for failing to yield with wanton disregard for public safety. 
Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Josh Brazzi at 538-7321.


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