40-year-old William Erlbacher of Concow was sentenced Thursday to 48 days in jail and ordered to pay over six thousand dollars in victim restitution.
The charges stem from November 8th incident when Cal Fire crews returned to the Jarbo Gap Fire station after battling the Camp Fire to discover that it had been burglarized and that a personal truck of one of the firefighters had been stolen. That truck was found a few days later in Chico. Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey says Erlbacher admitted to taking the truck after being contacted by law enforcement.
The North Valley Community Foundation has released a report about donations received and grants awarded in the six months since the Camp Fire. The report, called "Rising From the Ashes" can be viewed and downloaded from the Foundation website at www.nvcf.org
Nearly 14 million dollars have been issued in the six months since the fire and over 55 million dollars has been donated.
Police have identified the victim of a fatal collision in east Chico Monday afternoon. 61 year old Cathie Lawson of Chico is the woman who died in the crash. Police say Lawson was driving a Subaru that pulled out in front of the path of a GMC Pickup near Highway 32 and Yosemite Drive. That pickup was driven by 68 year old Robert Maxam from the Los Angeles area. According to police, Lawson was trapped in her vehicle and was extricated. She died a short time later at a local hospital. Authorities say drugs or alcohol were not involved and Maxam is reportedly cooperating in the investigation.
One witness reported seeing another dirver stop from another lane of travel, and waive Lawson out into the roadway. If anyone saw this collision and has not already talked to police you are asked to call the Chico Police Traffic Line at 897-4970.
The crash was reported at Highway 32 and Yosemite Drive after 1:30 Monday afternoon. A pick up truck reportedly collided with a car and both vehicles ended up off the road and into a ditch. According to a Chico Police press release, one of the drivers was trapped in their vehicle with serious injuries. The unidentified person was extricated from the vehicle and transported to the hospital where the driver was later pronounced deceased.
Officers say the driver of the other vehicle remained at the scene and has been cooperating with the investigation.
Contractors for PG&E will perform routine gas meter inspections in Butte and Glenn counties in July and August. Inspections will start this week in Shasta County.
In Butte County inspections will take place in Chico, Oroville, Durham, Paradise, Biggs, and Gridley. Inspections in Glenn County will take place in Orland, Willows, Glenn, and Artois.
According to PG&E, contractors with Alisto Engineering will be carrying mobile phones to take pictures. They will be wearing a PG&E hard hat and safety vest, but their shirts will have a contractor logo. Workers will not be driving PG&E vehicles but will have PG&E place cards on their dashboards. Workers will be carrying photo IDs and fact sheets that they will present at the request of the customer. If you still feel uncomfortable you can call PG&E's customer service line to varify at 1-800-743-5000.
PG&E say that the work will not affect gas service.
A 30-year-old male skateboarder was traveling eastbound on West Sacramento at the intersection with Bidwell Avenue before 7:30 Sunday Morning when he was reportedly struck by a silver or gray sedan. According to the CHP, the skateboarder landed in a green area on the side of the road which helped to reduce his injuries. Witnesses say the driver allegedly continued eastbound without stopping. Investigators believe there is severe windshield damage to the sedan.
The incident is under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call the Chico area CHP at (530) 332-2800 or 332-1200.
Police are investigating the robbery of a Chico cannabis dispensary. After 11:30 Thursday morning officers were dispatched to West 4th Avenue and Warner Street where they met an employee of the dispensary. The employee told officers that while on a delivery two men lured him to that location and allegedly robbed him of cash and marijuana. The suspects then fled on foot. Police say the suspects allegedly used their fists and a rock during the robbery. The suspects are described as black males in their mid-twenties to early thirties. Both are said to be 6 feet tall. Anyone with information about this robbery is asked to call the Chico Police Department at 897-4900.
Police say a nationwide phone scam is circulating where male suspects are calling random people and stating they have kidnapped their daughter, usually with a female's voice on the line saying "Daddy, daddy." The caller demands money and then directs the potential scam victim to a store where they can wire money to a bank account in Mexico. According to police, the callers typically have a country code such as "525" preceding a long number.
According to a Chico P.D. press release, elderly citizens are especially at risk.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric Corp. officials say the utility discovered around 1,000 high-priority safety risks on its transmission lines and distribution poles during several months of inspections and most have been fixed.
Sumeet Singh, vice president of PG&E's wildfire safety program, said Wednesday that some of the line issues mirror those that sparked November's deadly Northern California wildfire [Camp Fire] that killed 85 people.
Singh says the safety risks found are unacceptable.
PG&E has been inspecting its equipment in high-risk wildfire areas as part of a wildfire mitigation plan it was required to submit to state regulators.
The utility has been blamed for sparking some of California's most destructive wildfires in recent years. It filed for bankruptcy in January while facing potentially tens of billions of dollars in liability.
In related news....
PG&E announced Wednesday that the Caribou-Palermo transmission line that Cal Fire identified as causing the Camp Fire was permanently de-energized. Officials say the line has been inactive since December, but now the line will be taken down. PG&E is reportedly working with a third party generator company to provide power to residents along the Caribou-Palermo line.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — PG&E has agreed to pay $1 billion to local governments after being blamed for igniting several wildfires that killed dozens and destroyed thousands of homes.
Attorneys representing 14 local public entities announced the settlement with Pacific Gas & Electric on Tuesday to cover "taxpayer losses." The fires include a 2015 fire in Butte County, a series of 2017 fires in Northern California wine country and the 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 85 people.
PG&E Corp. filed for bankruptcy earlier this year citing billions of dollars in expected losses, mostly from lawsuits filed by individual fire victims, businesses and insurance companies. A judge overseeing that case must approve the settlement announced Tuesday.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Hoping to keep it all in the family, the wife of a newly elected California state senator is running for his old Assembly seat.
Republican Megan Dahle announced Tuesday that she is running in the 1st Assembly District, which sprawls from the Sacramento suburbs to the Oregon and Nevada state lines.
Brian Dahle gave up the seat last week after he was elected to fill a Senate vacancy.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has yet to declare the special election to fill the Assembly seat.
The Dahles have been married more than 20 years and live in Bieber, about 193 miles (311 kilometers) north of Sacramento.
She previously served on a school board.
Megan Dahle said she's running because she knows it's important for rural California to have strong representation in Sacramento.
The Butte Strong Fund awarded three new grants, last week, to local organizations assisting Camp Fire Recovery Efforts.
$50,000 was awarded to the Enloe Foundation for the Camp Fire Compassion Fund.
Another $50,000 went to fund a portion of Chico State's campus community liaison coordinator, who works with local and out of state groups to encourage recovery efforts.
The Third Grant of $4,000 was awarded to the North Valley Catholic Social Services.
These federal loans are for property damage caused by severe winter storms, flooding, landslides, and mudslides that occurred from February 24th to March 1st of this year.
According to Director Tanya N. Garfield with the U.S. Small Business Administration's Disaster Field Operation Center-West, the loans are for eligible private nonprofits may apply for SBA federal disaster loans up to 2 million dollars to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, equipment, and other business assets. Additional funds can also be given to help with the cost of making improvements to minimize disaster damage from happening in the future.
Last week officers from the Street Crimes "D" Unit arrested 17 offenders including several wanted felons. According to a Chico Police press release, the arrests were a combination of both focused surveillance as well as proactive enforcement in problem areas. The team focused on the One-mile Park area, Main Street, and the East Avenue/Esplanade corridor.
Chico Police received multiple reports of a traffic collision and hit & run in the area of 4th Street and Broadway around 3:30 Saturday afternoon. Officers believed that the suspected vehicle traveled the wrong direction on 4th Street and collided with four parked cars before allegedly fleeing the area. Officers canvased the area and located a vehicle with front end damage in the area of West 20th Street and Rhodes Terrace. According to Chico Police, officers arrested Dennis Dever for suspicion of driving under the influence, and driving on a suspended driver's license.
A Butte County Sheriff's Deputy stopped a vehicle Thursday near the intersection of Oro Garden Ranch Road and Lower Wyandotte Avenue in Oroville for a traffic violation. Detectives from the Butte Interagency Narcotics Task Force were in the area and assisted the deputy. A K-9 reportedly detected drugs inside the vehicle. According to authorities, a substantial amount of heroin and methamphetamine was allegedly found inside the vehicle. The driver, identified as 36-year-old Daniel Shamblin of Oroville was arrested for transportation of and sale of drugs. According to the Butte County Interagency Narcotics Task Force, Shamblin attempted to conceal additional heroin in order to bring it into the jail which brought on another charge.
The open houses will center around the utility's Community Wildfire Safety Program. A few of the topics of the meetings will include PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff program, enhanced vegetation management around power lines, accelerated safety inspections of electric infrastructure, and hardening of the electric system.
PG&E is inviting customers to drop by any time between 6 and 8 pm. The Redding open house will be on Tuesday, June 11 at the Red Lion Hotel on 1830 Hilltop Drive.
The Chico Open House will be on Wednesday, June 12 at Manzanita Place at the Chico Elks Lodge 1705 Manzanita Avenue. Again drop in times for both locations are any time between 6 and 8 pm.
Webinars will also be available for those unable to attend in person. For more information go to www.pge.com/wildfiresafety
30-year-old Evan Palmer of Chico was sentenced Wednesday to nine years in state prison after pleading guilty to charges of Child endangerment and manufacturing butane honey oil.
The charges stem from an explosion back in February at a residence on Burnap Avenue due to an explosion. Officers searched the house and found components of a butane honey oil lab. Investigators learned that Palmer's five month old daughter was at the house at the time of the explosion. The child was unharmed and was taken into child protective custody.
According to a Butte County DA's Office press release, 29-year-old Brittany Larsen the mother of the child, who was also at the home during the explosion, is scheduled to be sentenced next week.
Two more Camp Fire victims have been identified. The Butte County Sheriff's Office announced Monday that remains found were positively identified as 68-year-old Matilde Heffern and 20-year-old Ishka Heffern both of Paradise. Reports indicate that they were grandmother and granddaughter. According to a Butte County Sheriff's Office press release, of the 85 fatalities from the Camp Fire, two are still unknown.
The Butte Strong Fund has approved an over 300 thousand dollar grant to the Butte County Mosquito and Vector Control District. State and federal funding was not readily available to support the massive increase in work in the county's mosquito and vector control district. That prompted the district to ask for the funds in order to help with increased labor costs and insecticides, along with mosquitofish needed to address mosquito breeding sources in the Paradise area. According to a Butte Strong Fund press release, officials say after the Camp Fire new mosquito breeding sources are prevalent on properties where no one is currently living.
Chico Street Crimes Unit made multiple arrests and seized drugs during its first week active. Last week the Street Crimes D Unit focused on the East Avenue and Esplanade corridor along with the City Plaza and Depot Park areas. During their patrols officers made 14 arrests and seized several ounces of methamphetamine and Heroin.
According to Chico Police, the Street Crimes Unit is made up of officers who normally patrol the south campus area, but during the summer months their focus is redirected towards street level crime that effects the quality of life in Chico.
Police respond to reports of vandalism in southwest Chico Sunday morning. Graffiti was reported on Poppy Street as well as the corner of West 9th and Cherry streets around 8:30 Sunday Morning. Officers arrived and allegedly discovered swastikas and racial slurs spray painted at each those locations along with 9 others. According to a Chico Police press release, City of Chico graffiti removal staff were called in to clean up private and public properties that were affected by the suspected vandals.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Chico Police Department at 897-4900.