You Can Race Your Own Car at the Thunderhill Raceway

It’s racing season at the Thunderhill Raceway in Willows!

On Sunday the Sports Car Club of America hosted an event where anyone who wants to can come and race.

They do have another event coming up in October, and it’s quite the adrenaline rush going around the track. Plus, you don’t have to have a race car, you can bring your own car and push it to the limit.

“It’s mentally exhausting,” said first time racer Rick Thomas.

This was a bucket list item for him, and he brought his 2013 Camaro ZL1.

“It’s got a top speed of about 180 miles per hour that I’ll probably never see,” he said.

And he’s probably right, because at this track, it’s about more than just speed.

“Anybody can go fast and straight, so the straights are fun, but it’s about getting those curves down and understanding how that works and how the car works with you.”

“We teach you about hand positions, where to have your eyes, we teach you about shifting points and breaking points,” said SCCA driver and coach Eric Diamond.

“I love getting a student who’s never done this and putting them into a car, they’re all scared out of their mind and have no idea what’s going to happen

The SCCA puts on the event, this one was the Reno region. It’s an all-day thing and you spend some time in the classroom before going out with a coach to perfect your skills, skills that go beyond the track.

“You start looking at turns differently, you start looking at the on-ramp to your house differently, and you start looking at breaking differently,” said Diamond.

And if you’re just looking for an adrenaline rush, here’s your chance to get one.

“They watch NASCAR, they watch F1, they watch Indie, this is actually where you can come out and experience it rather than just sitting on your couch and watching it,” Diamond said.

The next event is on October 28th & 29th. Check out their website for more details.

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Chico State Police Combat Stolen Bikes With New Equipment 

Having a bicycle stolen can be a huge setback, especially for a college student.

Chico State Police are taking a new approach to fighting the problem, and they’re doing it with two wheels; the department now has two motorcycles.

They’re both electric, and each costs about $21,000, hoping this will help cut down on the bike thefts.

“When the campus is so busy they just blend in, they put on a Chico State sweatshirt, they’ll throw on a backpack, a ball cap,” said Chico State Police Officer Lance Conlan when talking about the thieves.

He said they get hundreds of reports of stolen bikes every year, many of them in broad daylight, and that’s just the ones people have bothered to report.

“Even though the theft occurred under the nose of probably no less than 10 to 15 direct witnesses, they just never realized what they were seeing,” Conlan said.

They also get at least 15 complaints a day about transients on campus.

“Bicycle theft and other types of petty thefts are directly correlated with the drug addiction here,” Conlan said.

He said heroin and meth can be directly linked.

“They’ll turn over a high value stolen bike for pennies on the dollar.”

He’s hoping the motorcycles will help bring down the crime rate.

“The deterrent factor is just as important as pursuing in places a patrol car couldn’t,” Conlan said.

The motorcycles can go up to 95 miles per hour, and can go more than 150 miles on a single charge.

Five officers have their license to ride, hoping this will help reduce the crime rate.

CHP Air-Ground Speed Enforcement Detail

9 people have died on Highway 70 just in the last 4 months, according to the CHP.

In light of these numbers, the CHP is trying to both educate people about the dangers of speeding, as well as enforce the law.

On Wednesday afternoon, the California Highway Patrol did a speed enforcement detail using an aircraft in and around Oroville: the airplane flew above the highway looking for speeders; once it found a target, the pilot would radio to the officers waiting out on the on-ramp, who would then find the vehicle and pull the driver over.

The aircraft clocked one mangoing 106 miles per hour, and another man going 88 – he turned up to be a suspected DUI driver.

“I hope it makes a difference. We’ve been trying to reinforce the fact that the speed limits are set at that speed for a reason, we don’t set them. The state or the engineers do,” said CHP officer Ryan Lambert.

“There’s no way I was doing 106 miles an hour, it’s completely impossible in this vehicle,” said the driver.

“The aircraft maintained a visual reference of the vehicle throughout the entire time until we stopped. You could hear the airplane officer communicating with us saying ‘it’s turning left, it’s exiting the freeway,’ guiding us directly to the vehicle, so the likelihood that it’s not the right vehicle is 0 probability,” said Lambert.

“Lately with as many fatalities as we’ve had on 70, we need to reinforce these speed limits in our area to get that death number down. It’s 9 in 4 months; it’s ridiculous,” he said.

He says their goal is simply to get people to slow down and reduce the death rate in the area.

In 2 hours, the CHP pulled over about 15 people, all of whom got tickets, and 2 of whom went to jail.

Officer-Involved Shooting

“I said you killed my son man, I said you killed my baby. That’s what I said, and he was laying right there,” said father David Philips.

On Friday Chico police shot and killed 25-year-old Desmond Anthony Philips. Philips suffered from mental illness and had some short term memory loss as well as seizures from previous head trauma.

“He needed to get to the hospital to get some medication, they know that. They’ve been here twice before,” said David Philips.

He called 911 and asked for the fire and medical units.

They said the man was hostile, and that’s when they walked outside and called dispatch.

Phillips and his two grandkids locked himself in two different bedrooms; the father was afraid Desmond would try and stab him, which was the reason for the 911 call.

Chico Police Chief Mike O’Brien said when officers came in, they saw Desmond pacing in a small living room area and holding two knives.

According to Chico PD, Desmond closed the front door so police could not see in. They also received information that he was trying to break into his father’s room and stab him, which is when they went back into the house.

“The subject was now adjacent to the front door and in very close proximity to the officers,” said police Chief Mike O’Brien.

That’s when one of the officers tazed him. The chief said the tazer did not have much of an effect, and, before they could taze him again, Desmond jumped up and started slashing at the officers.

“The tazer went off and then, I would say, in less than 5 seconds, the bullets started going off,” said Philips.

Next door neighbors Nick and his girlfriend Janet were watching from their upstairs window.

“I didn’t even register them as gunshots first because they sounded like fire crackers,” said Janet.

“It sounded like there was a lot of bullets going off,” Nick said.

“I counted at least 7 bullets coming from that officer, not knowing there was another officer shooting my son from over there,” said Philips.

“At least 10 shots were fired,” Nick said.

There are 3 bullet holes in the walls. The two on the main wall went through the wall to the adjacent apartment.

Andrew Perlinger wasn’t home at the time and came back in the morning to find one bullet went through his TV and into his microwave, and the other through both walls and through a shirt in his closet before stopping above his bed.

Now community members are both disturbed and upset, saying we need to work on better handling situations involving mental illness.

Police chief Mike O’Brien says the department did not yet have body cameras, so there was no objective video evidence of what happened.

First Responders Assaulted

2 Butte County paramedics and a Chico firefighter are okay after being assaulted during a medical call early Wednesday morning.

Butte medics were first on the scene a little after 2:30 am, when they responded to a call of a man having difficulty breathing in downtown Chico.

When EMTs, got there they tried to help 45-year-old Chico resident Roy Brown, but, instead of cooperating, the man actually punched both EMTs and then started running toward Broadway Street, which is when Chico firefighters called the police and asked for backup.

According to Chico Fire, Brown stopped about 75 feet from the truck and started yelling at them before opening the door and trying to pull the driver out of the fire engine.

A firefighter jumped out of the back seat and tackled Brown, but the truck was still in drive and rolling away; that’s when the captain tried to dive back in the truck to hit the emergency brake.

Unfortunately, his foot got pinned in the door when the firetruck crashed into the EMS van.

“Now my biggest concern is my captain, my captain is severely injured, in my mind. It couldn’t be any worse right now,” said Chico fire engineer Ken Smith, the one dragged out of the driver’s seat.

Fortunately, Smith soon realized neither the captain nor the EMTs were seriously injured.

However, this is the 3rd assault of a Chico firefighter just in the last month.

“It’s not a common, but it’s not an uncommon occurrence. We do everything we can to mitigate those circumstances,” said Chico Fire Chief William Hack.

Brown was medically cleared and taken to the Butte County jail.

He was arrested for 3 counts of battery on emergency personnel, 1 count of battery on emergency personnel with serious injury, and 1 count of carjacking.

Aerobatic Flight School Comes to the North State

The North State now has an Aerobatic flight school. Aces High Aero opened in October and uses the Oroville airport.

Aerobatics is the practice of flying maneuvers involving aircraft altitudes that are not used in normal flight, but flight instructor Cade Boeger says it’s more than just about joy-riding, and knowing these skills will make people much better and safer pilots.

“I just always loved airplanes. All my toys were toy airplanes, my mom actually got me a plane-ride for my 6th birthday and from then on the hook was set,” said Boeger.

And he’s been living-out that dream for more than 25 years.

“Go to the air shows and people will say ‘he’s crazy, he’s doing these ridiculous stunts, he has kids. What’s he doing?’ and it’s nothing like that. The aircraft is inspected on a regular basis: it’s stressed and designed for these kinds of maneuvers,” he said.

He recently started competing, and came first in both competitions he entered.

Boeger says the cliché motto of “if you love your job, you never have to work a day in your life” really does exemplify what he does on a daily basis.

“I have something I’m passionate about; I have something I think I’m pretty good at and hopefully can pass that on and light a fire in somebody else.”

And that’s why he wanted to bring Aerobatics to the North State.

“The competitions are unbelievably exhilarating, but the best part about it – and this is why I’ve been an instructor for so long – is to take that information and that knowledge and that joy and just pass that onto somebody else,” Boeger said.

He says any aircraft can move 360°, most pilots just don’t know how to because the basic license doesn’t require it. That’s why he’s committed his life to teaching these skills and helping people become better pilots.

“If you have been inverted in an aircraft and you know how to get out of that, if that was ever to happen to you by accident due to wake turbulence from a bigger jet or some form of extreme turbulence or thunderstorm or something like that, you are a safer pilot because you know how to recover from an unusual situation.”

And though doing flips and spins is certainly fun, he says there’s one golden rule in the aerobatic community: “Safety is first, and we don’t take unnecessary risks, especially when training others. We don’t ‘hot dog’ or show off, it’s all about precision, safety, and just increasing your skills.”

Along with training and teaching, Aces High Aero does also do joyrides.

Oroville Residents Remain Optimistic Despite Tough Year

2017 has been a rough year for residents in the Oroville area: first the Oroville Dam Spillway crisis, and now the Wall Fire has brought another disaster to the town of a little more than 16,000 people as well as the surrounding areas.

But, that’s not getting people down, and many still believe Oroville is the best place in the world.

Patrick Butler owns the Wagon Wheel in Oroville, and he said he’s never been so busy in the 40 years he’s been there.

This year the market has been making sandwiches and lunches for the Spillway workers and the Wall Fire responders, causing employees to basically work non-stop.

From her house, Mayor Linda Dahlmeier had front row seats for both disasters, but like many of the residents, she believes there’s very little this city can’t get through.

“Miraculous. It’s miraculous. It’s charming, it’s fun, there is so much to do here,” said Dahlmeier.

“Resilient. We’re going to be here. We’re going to be here doing our thing, and it’s a great, great town and we are lucky to live here,” said Patrick Butler.

They both said people can say all the negative things they want, but you can do that for any place.

They also said it’s been amazing to see the community put aside its differences and come together to help in a time of need.