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Giving thanks for community volunteers PAGE







See Special Pull-Out section



NOVEMBER 4, 2021



Vol. 45, Issue 5 • November 4, 2021 OPINION


Editorial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Letters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Editor’s Note. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Guest Comment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 This Modern World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Second & Flume . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 Streetalk . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7




Downstroke . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Camp Fire survivors struggle to rebuild . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8 Redistricting heats up . . . . . . . . . . 10 The teetering orchard . . . . . . . . . . . 12




Local Heroes 2021



November Events . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Scene . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23 Reel World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Arts DEVO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 Brezsny’s Astrology. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27


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Our Mission: To publish great newspapers that are successful and enduring. To create a quality work environment that encourages employees to grow professionally while respecting personal welfare. To have a positive impact on our communities and make them better places to live. Editor Jason Cassidy Editor at large Melissa Daugherty Contributing Editor Evan Tuchinsky Staff Writers Ashiah Scharaga, Ken Smith Calendar Editor/Editorial Assistant Trevor Whitney Contributors Alastair Bland, Juan-Carlos Selznick, Robert Speer Managing Art Director Tina Flynn Publications & Advertising Designers Cathy Arnold, Katelynn Mitrano, Jocelyn Parker Sales & Business Coordinator Jennifer Osa Advertising Consultant Ray Laager Distribution Lead Jackson Indar Distribution Staff Michael Gardner, Drew Garske, Josh Indar, Bill Unger, Richard Utter, Jim Williams, David Wyles

Advertising Mail PO Box 13370 Sacramento, CA 95813 Phone (530) 894-2300 Website chico.newsreview.com President/CEO Jeff vonKaenel Director of Nuts & Bolts Deborah Redmond Director of Dollars & Sense Miranda Hansen Accounting Staff Gus Trevino Developer John Bisignano System Support Specialist Kalin Jenkins Got a News Tip? chiconewstips@newsreview.com Post Calendar Events chico.newsreview.com/calendar Want to Advertise? cnradinfo@newsreview.com Editorial Policies: Opinions expressed in CN&R are those of the authors and not of Chico Community Publishing, Inc. Contact the editor for permission to reprint articles or other portions of the paper. CN&R is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts or review materials. Email letters to cnrletters@newsreview.com. All letters received become the property of the publisher. We reserve the right to print letters in condensed form and to edit them for libel. Advertising Policies: All advertising is subject to the newspaper’s Standards of Acceptance. The advertiser and not the newspaper assumes the responsibility for the truthful content of their advertising message. CN&R is printed at PressWorks Ink on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN.

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A dangerous propagandist

by Jason Cassidy j a s o n c @ n e w s r e v i e w. c o m

Bperpetuating licking the boots of a prominent member of his party by a coronavirus conspiracy theory, an apparent utte County’s all-hat, no-cattle congressman, Doug LaMalfa, is

conflated in right-wing circles with speculation on the origin of COVID-19. But as Fauci notes, a connection between the viruses studied via NIH funding and the one fueling the attempt to make a name for himself no matter the cost to pandemic is “molecularly impossible.” his constituents. Never mind that were there a link, it would have happened Indeed, the county is on the gradual comedown of a recent on Trump’s watch. An Obama-era policy halted gain-ofsurge that killed an average of one resident per day in August function research on severe acute respiratory viruses, or and September. Yet rather than focusing on efforts that would SARS, which is the class of virus that includes SARS-CoV-2, protect locals, including encouraging them to get vaccinated, the one that can lead to COVID-19. That prohibition ended LaMalfa is taking on one of former president Donald Trump’s during the Trump administration. Unsurprisingly, LaMalfa rivals, in this case the nation’s top infectious disease expert, failed to point that out while lambasting Fauci. Dr. Anthony Fauci. The North State is used to being embarrassed by LaMalfa With Trump sidelined at Mar-a-Lago, LaMalfa has been and disgusted by his voting record. We’re talking about the echoing an inane talking point proffered by Sen. guy who was one of 14 nay votes out of the Rand Paul, who has repeatedly castigated Fauci more than 400 cast by members of Congress, during congressional hearings on Capitol Hill. Republican and Democrat alike, to make The North Without a shred of evidence, Paul has insisted Juneteenth a national holiday. He’s same that the virus that causes COVID-19 came out of State is used person who has raked in at least $1.5 million a lab in Wuhan, China. in farm subsidies while calling for cuts to to being Despite being a licensed eye doctor, Paul embarrassed foodIt’sstamps. isn’t exactly a shining example of scientific easy to scoff at the congressman, but acumen. To wit, the senator from Kentucky we mustn’t forget that his words and actions by [Doug] was suspended by YouTube in recent months are dangerous. LaMalfa echoed conspiracy LaMalfa ... for perpetuating false information related to theories about the results of the 2020 presiCOVID-19. dential election and ultimately voted against In his latest line of attack, the one LaMalfa certifying those results. He participated in the has adopted, Paul lays out a specious claim that Fauci lied political brinkmanship that led to the siege on the Capitol last when he denied that the U.S. had intentionally funded risky January—the sort that still threatens the nation—while ignorresearch—so-called gain-of-function experiments—inside the ing the very real issues here in his backyard. Wuhan lab. LaMalfa has snatched that political football and And in terms of the pandemic, he’s gone full retrograde on run way out of bounds. On the House floor a few weeks ago, virtually all attempts to mitigate the virus through vaccination he not only called for Fauci to resign but also said he should policy. Meanwhile, nearly 1,500 of his constituents in District be prosecuted for perjury. 1 have died of the virus. The fact that the National Institutes of Health funded Calling for Fauci to resign is absurd. If anyone needs to be experiments in Wuhan with Chinese partners has been Ω booted from Washington, it’s LaMalfa.

LETTERS Remembering Stephen Vest Last night, I shared with a close friend the body-worn camera video of Chico “peace” officers Nick Bauer, who forgot his bean-bag shotgun and fired two shots from a .45, and Tyler Johnson, who fired nine shots from his 9mm in two seconds, hitting Stephen Vest with eight of their bullets and killing him one year ago (Oct. 15, 2020). My friend, a retired teacher, wondered why the shooters did not use a less lethal device like



NOVEMBER 4, 2021

a BolaWrap or pepper-spray balls to stop Stephen and get him the medical attention he needed. What Stephen got was bullets. As usual, District Attorney Mike Ramsey exonerated the killers. The police investigate the police and find no wrongdoing, but does the public know that Officer Bauer has previously been a member of the Butte County Officer-Involved Shooting/ Critical Incident Protocol Team tasked with investigating just this type of killing? The same team that

investigated the conduct of Bauer in this one? Is that a conflict of interest, Chicoans? Is this investigation impartial and unbiased, Mr. DA? Do the good people of Butte County need a new DA? Scott Rushing Ventura

Don’t call it chaos News commentators were quick to use the word “chaos” to describe the LETTERS C O N T I N U E D

O N PA G E 7

J’s school Hey, I’m the Editor now! How did that happen? As an avid reader of the Chico News & Review since 1989, and a writer and editor the past 18-plus years, my journalism school has been the CN&R. Before I was hired as arts/calendar editor in 2003 by then-Editor Tom Gascoyne, my experience was limited to creative-writing classes as an English major at Chico State; one semester on the staff of the Butte College Roadrunner; and a year or so of local freelance arts and music writing. My first months on the CN&R job were a crash course taught by an all-star team of local journalism legends— Gascoyne, Senior Editor Bob Speer, Designer Tina Flynn, Associate Editor Devanie Angel, News Editor Josh Indar and photographer Tom Angel. Tom Gascoyne taught me courage and curiosity (prodding me to always try and open closed doors) and to appreciate the work we do. I studied storytelling with Bob, copyediting with Devanie, and I (kind of) learned to stick to deadlines thanks to Tina (who has also been my longtime partner in arts appreciation). And from that entire editorial crew, I learned to be cynical—mostly in questioning everything and not relying on one source for answers, but also in just kind of being a smartass. As new heartbeats came into the office, I tapped into the fresh blood for knowledge and inspiration. Under Editor Evan Tuchinsky, I received a lesson in kindness (the health of the staff should come first); Managing Editor and master copy editor Meredith Cooper broadened my editing horizons; and righteously principled friends like Sales Manager Alec Binyon and Greenways Editor Christine LaPado stoked the fires of my passion for community journalism. The list of excellent (and often award-winning) writers and passionate scene-watchers who influenced/inspired me is too long for me to do justice here, but I’ll at least mention Richard “Doc” Ek and my good buddy Ken Smith among the former and my longtime dude Mark Lore among the latter. My capstone course, of course, has been the tenure of my predecessor and friend, Melissa Daugherty, probably the finest journalist I’ve ever met. Her standards of rigor and commitment to getting things right are nonpareil, but her greatest and most influential trait is her conviction to purpose. More than anybody in Butte County, Melissa honors the journalism credo of “comforting the afflicted and afflicting the comfortable,” and I have seen firsthand how she’s lived that role tirelessly (and sleeplessly), speaking truth to power and standing up for wildfire survivors, our unhoused neighbors and anyone else whose voice wasn’t being heard. Now that Melissa has officially passed the reins to me (though she remains with the paper part time as Editor-atLarge—see her Second & Flume on page 6), I’ll try to guide my efforts with those same principles as well as live up to the legacy of this newspaper that, since 1977, has endeavored to empower the full range voices here in Butte County.


‘Our elders need us’ since the pandemic started. My mother Ididn’t die of COVID-19, but she was in a am one of many people who has lost a parent

quarantined assisted-living facility in April 2020 when we got the call that she had died in her sleep. I feel guilty about my mom being in that place. I did a lot for her over the years, and I loved her very much, but I did not do everything I could. She would say, “I don’t want to be a burden,” and she was by earnest about that—but Joe Wills it also let me feel good The author is a about keeping a certain psychotherapist and distance. writer in Chico. At the same time, I don’t regret making my wife and kids my priority. It’s been the most fulfilling part of my life to find a partner to share it all with, then be fortunate enough to help bring children into the world. As many adult children know, integrating

care for a parent into the rest of your life is an agonizing balancing act. People have struggled with this for time immemorial. A European folk tale—one of many like it—tells of a day when it’s decreed that old men had outlived their usefulness and should be killed. One man could not kill his father and hides him in the cellar. When crops wither, only the father knows to plow the road, where seeds have fallen off farmers’ carts, averting mass starvation. We know in our bones that our elders have wisdom. We also know that we may not have all the time and resources we’d like to care for them. It is an awful, ancient dilemma. Perhaps all we can do is acknowledge there is no solution but stay present in our elders’ lives. Don’t pretend they are doing fine and have everything they need. Don’t forget what great value and understanding they bring. There is an indelible image from the pandemic of an isolated elderly person staring out a window. Perhaps it will serve as a painful reminder of how much our elders Ω need us—and mean to us.

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C H I C O ’ S


by Melissa Daugherty m e l i s s a d @ n e w s r e v i e w. c o m

Disaster lesson I still get anxiety when I visit Paradise. I go up there only occasionally, mostly to visit a friend who, thankfully, lives just off the main drag. I’m all right if I stay on or near the Skyway, but I start white-knuckling when I venture deeper into some of the arterial streets and see lot after empty lot, everyday reminders of California’s deadliest and most destructive wildfire. Before the Camp Fire, if you asked me to describe the Ridge, I’d probably talk about the spectacular views of Butte Creek Canyon from Bille Park; or Feather River Hospital’s popular maternity ward, the Birth Day Place, where I had my son; or Mendon’s Nursery and its amazing selection of plants and fountains. But now, when the subject comes up, my mind goes straight to the blaze. What I witnessed the morning after the disaster haunts me to this day, three years later. I can only imagine what it’s like for those who drove through flames on Nov. 8, 2018. And considering we’ve since become the wildfire epicenter of the West—a phrase I’ve been calling Butte County in the wake of last year’s Bear/North Complex Fire and this summer’s seemingly endless Dixie Fire—it’s increasingly difficult to get beyond the trauma. Aside from the psychological scars, many haven’t managed to get back to a place that resembles their previous life. In fact, some aren’t able to meet their basic needs. Over the past three years, CN&R reporter Ashiah Scharaga has written about the plight of such individuals. That includes people who ended up in temporary housing provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (see “Out of time,” May 6, 2020, at chico.newsreview.com). However, as of mid-September, that safety net is gone. I recently read a story in the Washington Post about the closure of the Chico FEMA camp off Hegan Lane. In it, the reporter chronicles one couple’s tragic last days in the trailer park. They were renters on the Ridge, so they didn’t get an insurance payout to re-establish themselves. Life wasn’t easy before the fire, but it wasn’t the unmitigated nightmare that they’ve been experiencing post-blaze. The wife is severely disabled and her husband’s life is devoted to caring for her extensive needs. The couple’s adult children could help, but FEMA barred them from residing in the trailer due to some bureaucratic red tape. Their daughter is herself a survivor who is now living in a tent at the Comanche Creek homeless encampment in Chico. Despite attempts to locate a new home, the couple found nowhere to go by FEMA’s move-out deadline. A good Samaritan paid for a week’s stay in a motel after they were turned out, but there was no plan beyond that. One of the things that struck me was that the government spent over $300,000 per trailer to establish the facility, an effort ostensibly to keep people from ending up on the streets, only to eventually cut its occupants loose into extremely uncertain futures. What a wasted opportunity. I mean, think of what that amount of money could have done for the aforementioned couple and others like them. It literally could have bought them a home of their own outright. What a life-changing proposition that would have been. I can hear naysayers now: “That’s not cool, I had to buy my own house.” Or, “Why should my tax dollars be used by the government to buy someone a home?” My response: Why the hell not? Seriously. Why not put the money toward permanent housing rather than spending the same amount for a temporary fix? In terms of whether these people deserve it, I’d argue they do. They survived the biggest disaster of 2018, have endured extreme trauma and uncertainty, and most likely have had years shaved off their lifespan. This is just one lesson from the Camp Fire, but it’s important and ties right into the ethical and legal dilemma Chico finds itself in with the homeless population. The question is whether we’re ready to learn from it and allow the government to significantly help people who are struggling to keep a roof over their heads.

Melissa Daughtery is editor-at-large for the Chico News & Review 6


NOVEMBER 4, 2021


What’s your super power? Asked in downtown Chico

David Hines Kitchen manager

Being a little bit too logical. It helps me with recipes and things like that—explaining things, making sure it’s understood by everybody on every wavelength so it’s overly clear.

Mikayla Edwards farmers’ market admin

Recommending things that people will like. I used to work at a book store, so if you tell me a book you like, I can tell you another book you’ll like. I’ve had people call me at, like, 3 in the morning to be like, “What was that one book?”

Muhammad Afsharzadeh f ire crew

I have superhuman jumping [ability]. I play a lot of sports, [like] basketball. I jump pretty f’in high. I dunk and can do tricks and all that.

Evan Schuman


C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 4

evacuation from Kabul International Airport in Afghanistan. What I saw was a mostly orderly withdrawal of thousands who were trying to escape. I remember chaos when we were trying to get people out of Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War. They didn’t call it “chaos” when the valiant British evacuated the British and French troops at Dunkirk in World War II. They enlisted all available boats, large and small, to get the troops across the English Channel to safety. In perspective, I believe the U.S. military did an amazing job in evacuating Kabul.


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Corrections In last month’s Best of Chico issue (Oct. 7): We misidentified the owner of Bacio Catering, Takeout & Eatery. Erika Montañez owns the business, which took first place for Best Caterer. In category of Best Bank/Credit Union, the number for third-place finisher, Members 1st Credit Union, should have been (530) 222-6060. The correct year for the opening of Concours Elite Collision Center, winner of Best Auto Paint/Body Shop, is 1981. And finally, we omitted a whole category! Here’s the how the missing entry should have appeared: Massage Therapist FIRST Place: Bodywork by Nikki 341 Broadway, Ste. 309, 570-6311 On the Bodywork by Nikki website, owner/CMT Nikki Vargas explains the approach that has garnered the community’s vote of confidence: “Massage is a perfect therapy that combines conscience kindness and technical understand to provide lasting results. Every massage is customized to each individual client, every single session.” SECOND Place: Babette Maiss 13 Williamsburg Lane, 321- 5668 THIRD Place: Candi Williamson 811 E. Fifth Ave., 521-7328

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Compassion. [Interrupted by niece Isabella: He always is super intuitive about other people’s needs. If you want evidence of it being a super power: One time I got in a car with him … and I was about to ask him if he could turn the music down and he just did it, and then I wanted him to close the window and he just did it without me asking again!]


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NEWSLINES DOWNSTROKE MORE VACCINATIONS: KIDS, MODERNA Butte County Public Health is ramping up COVID-19 prevention efforts by adding vaccination clinics for the Moderna vaccine this month and launching a clinic for the Pfizer vaccine recently approved for children ages 5-11. The department announced Friday (Oct. 29) that it was expanding Moderna vaccinations in Chico with clinics Mondays and Tuesdays, 2-6 p.m. at 560 Cohasset Road, throughout November except Thanksgiving week. The online portal MyTurn.ca.gov schedules appointments and contains information about all clinics, including Wednesdays at the Cohasset site, 3-6 p.m., for Pfizer vaccinations for people ages 12 and over and Johnson & Johnson for adults. The Butte County COVID-19 Call Center, which offers assistance booking appointments, confirmed Monday (Nov. 1) that a Pfizer clinic for kids 5-11 is scheduled Nov. 13, 3-5 p.m., at the Cohasset location. The Federal Drug Administration gave Pfizer emergency-use authorization for that age group on a lower dose of its vaccine. Check Public Health’s Facebook page (facebook.com/buttecountypublichealth), website (buttecounty.net/COVIDvaccine) or call center (552-3050) for additional clinics for COVID and flu vaccinations.

MIOCENE FUND INTACT While PG&E has yet to announce a decision regarding the repair of the historic Miocene Canal—which is owned by PG&E and was destroyed by the Camp Fire—Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey told county supervisors last week that the utility will not subtract costs for its repair studies from funds allocated for water access. For almost three years, farmers, ranchers and families living adjacent to the out-of-commission canal (pictured) have been without their main source of water. In the interim, PG&E has delivered water to those affected, but it’s been well short of pre-fire volume. As a result, the land has gone dry and orchards have been dying. In 2020, PG&E’s then-CEO Bill Johnson promised $15 million toward water access over the next five years, but PG&E then proceeded to subtract the costs to deliver water and conduct canal repair studies—$2.1 million thusfar. During his update at the Oct. 26 Board of Supervisors meeting, Ramsey said he spoke with PG&E attorneys who confirmed that the utility will not dip into the $15 million for those costs (which a PG&E spokesperson also confirmed to the CN&R). 8


NOVEMBER 4, 2021

‘Everybody needs more time’ Three years post-Camp Fire and still living on the edge, low-income survivors feel added pressure from town, county by

Ashiah Scharaga as h i a h s @new srev i ew. c o m

inda Larimer has been living with her

Conboyfriend, son and animals in two RVs a friend’s property in Magalia while gearing up for their return to Paradise, where she’d lived for over 20 years. It’s been a bumpy road for the family, which has experienced setback after setback when it comes to their recovery from the 2018 Camp Fire. Larimer and her family, who were renters before the fire, purchased a plot of land in Paradise after the disaster. She expected to move one of the RVs to her property months ago and live in it while working with various companies to find the right shipping container home to purchase. But instead, she’d been jumping over hurdles to get her property cleared for habitation by the town of Paradise, she told the CN&R. Recently, she was denied a temporary use permit and told by the town that she can’t live there in an RV. The septic system has to be completely

replaced, but she cannot afford the $15,000 price tag. Her family of three is on a limited income and awaiting a settlement from Pacific Gas & Electric. If she moves to the property without replacing the waste system, she risks being cited and fined. However, her family can no longer stay with her friend, who is moving forward with their own rebuild plans. The town and Butte County have been flexible with their land-use ordinances in order to help survivors rebuild, but things are changing as the third anniversary of the blaze approaches. In August, town officials enacted policies geared toward phasing out the use of RVs, one of the primary sources of shelter for many victims of the mega-blaze. As a result, some residents will have to plead their case to be allowed to stay on their property without facing fines. Additionally, the Butte County Board of Supervisors is considering no longer allowing residents to live in RVs without hookups to all utilities (also known as dry camping). Recovery in the wake of the fire has been impeded by myriad factors, but the barriers are especially difficult to navigate for the poorest survivors. While victims of

all income levels await PG&E settlements to help them rebuild—a challenge in itself amid costs inflated by the pandemic—many low-income individuals have spent the last three years living on the edge. Disaster case managers are working with the most vulnerable populations—such as seniors, single parents with children, and those with disabilities—and say that they need more time to help these households before they are fined for being on their own properties. Larimer is frustrated. She told the CN&R she feels her family has done as much as they can to comply—they have power, water and garbage set up. Because she cannot afford to install septic yet, she has been paying for a portable toilet service on the days they come to work on the property. Her family will be forced to live on their property illegally, Larimer said. They have no other choice. “We will be homeless again if we don’t move to the property that we own,” she said. “I have nowhere else to go.”

‘One last effort’ The Paradise Town Council meeting on Aug. 10 was packed. Residents, some with

Left: Cinda Larimer and her partner, Charles Panell, visit their property in Paradise. She’s been told by the town that she cannot live there in her RV. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

tears in their eyes, pleaded with the panel for an extension of an urgency ordinance that would allow RV dwellers to continue living on their property without a rebuild permit. It was set to expire at the end of this year, but the town extended it through April 2023 for those with no code violations as of Sept. 30. That night, the town also relaxed requirements that residents prove they are moving forward on a rebuild, which many folks had yet to meet for various reasons, including financial barriers and delays due to labor and material shortages. However, Paradise also clamped down on code enforcement, adding a provision that two notices of violation within a year or two citations for a single violation could be grounds to revoke someone’s permit, even if they correct the issue. It was a victory for some—those who have all utilities hooked up and had been issued a temporary use permit (which is separate from the rebuild permit). For those living unpermitted, the council created an exceptions committee (at its Sept. 14 meeting). It will review the cases of these folks, who will need to show that they are working toward compliance. Vice Mayor Jody Jones and Councilman Steve “Woody” Culleton will serve on the committee, which has the authority to unanimously deny applications and must send all other recommendations to the full council for approval. The Town Council will discuss the criteria for exception applications at its meeting Tuesday (Nov. 9). Per the council’s Aug. 10 vote, after April 2023, those living in RVs will also have to have a rebuild permit. Town officials have made it clear that they don’t intend to add any additional RVs as primary residences. (The town still issues temporary use permits to returning residents, but now they must also have a rebuild permit issued to qualify, according to Susan Hartman, Community Development Director of Planning & Wastewater.) Jones told the CN&R that the town adopted such policies to meet health and safety standards. The primary code enforcement issue comes from properties that aren’t connected to a septic system, which is “not sanitary for [the residents] or the people living around them.” “The thinking there is it’s been three years. If you’re not already in town with an RV, you found somewhere else to live. We don’t want the town to become a campground. That’s not part of the rebuild plan,” she said during a telephone interview. “I think that we’re being fair and generous with the timeframe going to 2023, and we’re trying to accommodate all the people that are in RVs [who] are following the rules. “We don’t want to kick people out who

are doing the right thing and coming back to Paradise—we want them to be able to rebuild.” Meanwhile, the Board of Supervisors chose to extend its own urgency ordinance by one year (through Dec. 2022) for county residents impacted by the Camp Fire who have a temporary use permit and are connected to utilities. Dry campers, however, could be cited and fined beginning in January. The supervisors will be exploring the topic at a future meeting. There was unanimous support from the board to ask county staff to reach out to the North Valley Community Foundation, which has managed millions of dollars in charitable donations to help with Camp Fire recovery, to see if it can assist people with barriers such as utility hookups. Supervisor Doug Teeter, whose district encompasses Paradise, made the proposal. He told the CN&R that this provision of the ordinance needs to expire at some point in order to get “bad actors” out—the county has struggled with individuals who have been living on other people’s properties without permission. “The unfortunate side is maybe some good actors are going to be affected, but no matter what, getting those things done, getting a temporary power pole, getting their septic hooked up … those things are going to have to get done to rebuild anyhow.” Teeter added that he sees a partnership with NVCF as “one last effort, or another effort, to find out what issues they’re having … and how can we move them to temporary status.”

Pressing needs remain Larimer, who delivered newspapers for the Paradise Post, lost her job after the fire. She picked up a pizza delivery job but was let go again when disaster clean-up crews left town, she said. She and her boyfriend, Charles Panell, who is retired, make welded artwork—peace signs and birds of paradise—and that has helped supplement their limited income. Larimer has tried to find more stable work, but she suffers from chronic illnesses that make securing employment difficult. “I’ve been through hell in so many different ways after the fire,” she said. “We’ve struggled for three years and continue to struggle.” Larimer doesn’t qualify for many helper programs—take, for example, one established by the town to repair and replace septic systems; it’s only for those who owned the property at the time of the fire. To add to her plight, she did not receive a disaster case manager until two and half years after the fire due to a long wait-list. She’s not alone. In February 2019, Erin Kennedy was hired as director of case management for the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley. The nonprofit created her position to respond to the

Paradise Vice Mayor Jody Jones says the town is trying to accommodate all the people in RVs who “are following the rules.” CN&R FILE PHOTO BY MEREDITH J. COOPER

occupancy for those units until May 31, 2026. Because of these barriers, many are banking on their PG&E settlement.

Waiting for a lifeline

dire need in the wake of the Camp Fire and help survivors one-on-one. Since then, her team has grown—she wrote grants to get two more full-time case workers—and these days they’re busier than ever. They have helped approximately 31 people rebuild their homes, 26 individuals resettle inside of the burn scar and 21 relocate elsewhere. Currently, Kennedy and her team are assisting 104 people. These individuals are the most vulnerable, she said, with many barriers impeding their recovery and rebuild progress. One such client is a senior who has no telephone or internet service and lives in a remote part of the county; Kennedy said, she communicates with her case manager via letters. These clients are low-income and either had no insurance or very little, she added, and it’s nearly impossible to find programs to help them financially. One program that can provide some relief, Kennedy mentioned, offers grants of up to $200,000 to single-family or mobile home owners. The ReCover California program is designed to cover unmet needs if insurance, Small Business Administration loans, Federal Emergency Management Agency aid, legal settlement and other resources did not fully cover the cost of rebuilding a home. However, the program didn’t start accepting applications until this July. Plus, renters don’t qualify. The state has allocated $55.9 million toward the construction of affordable rental housing in Paradise via federal Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery funding, intended to reimburse the town and housing developers for costs incurred while creating multi-family housing. These rentals have yet to be built, however. In fact, the application deadline for these projects isn’t until Dec. 31, 2022, and the program doesn’t require a certificate of

Joe Earley, a Paradise attorney who lost everything in the Camp Fire, has been representing survivors in the legal battle with PG&E for nearly three years. To this day, many who are depending on their settlement to rebuild have yet to hear a word from the Fire Victim Trust on what they might receive. The court-appointed trust was formed after PG&E’s bankruptcy proceedings were finalized to evaluate, administer, process and resolve claims. Earley’s family has been able to temporarily resettle in Chico until they can afford to rebuild in Paradise. It’s where he’s relocated his office, too. But many of his clients aren’t as fortunate, he said. Earley has helped several of them apply for their cases to be reviewed by the Fire Victim Trust sooner due to extreme hardship, but that process hasn’t been as effective as he’d hoped. “All I know is there are a lot of people who aren’t helped fast enough, and they’re in desperate homeless situations,” he said. In the meantime, Kennedy is concerned for the folks living on the margins. Code enforcement fines from the town or county could put them into greater debt and deplete their already limited financial resources, she said. Then, when they are able to rebuild, they’ll potentially have property liens, which “ultimately keeps them in the situation they in.” “I think everybody needs more time at this point,” she said. “Give people the time that they need to A) heal; and B) figure out what’s next; and C) if they’re waiting on settlement money, let them get settlement money before you start fining them to live on their own property.” As for Larimer, she is among those counting on PG&E settlement money to help her family rebuild. In addition to replacing her septic system and getting a shipping container home in place, she wants to plant a vegetable garden and some fruit trees, and have a tiny patch of grass for her dog to enjoy out front. She said her family will have to proceed with the exceptions committee route and plead their case and hope that the town will hear them out. It’s their last option. “It’s been a hell of a fight, and I’m tired,” she said. “We should be able to move to our property and be able to live there until we can afford to rebuild, but that’s not how it’s working.” Ω NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

O N PA G E 1 0



NEWSLINES Draft Redistricting Maps

Lines drawn

Plan A Current Butte County Supervisorial Districts

Redistricting heats up in and around Butte County

Plan B by

Evan Tuchinsky evant@ n ewsrev iew.c om

Dmonths. the cartographer the past few Ever since 2020 census ebra Lucero has become quite

numbers triggered redistricting for Butte County’s Board of Supervisors, Lucero—who represents Chicoans in the current District 2—has scrutinized maps submitted for board consideration via an online portal. Members of the public had uploaded 77 map suggestions as of last Monday (Nov. 1), with around a third coming after the Oct. 12 supervisors meeting at which the county consultant managing the process, Redistricting Partners, presented three plans based on communitydrawn maps. Lucero and her colleagues gave enough critiques that Redistricting Partners may well bring different plans to the next meeting, Tuesday (Nov. 9). The map ultimately adopted will determine the county’s representative balance. At present, two of the five supervisorial districts encompass Chico, home to around half the county’s residents—101,475 of 211,632 per the 2020 census. Conversely, the district covering the Ridge has a population gap as Paradise, recovering since the Camp Fire, suffered a loss of over 22,000 residents in the recent count—half Public input: Butte County—www.buttecounty.net/ redistricting/Maps CUSD—www.chicousd.org/Our-District/ Initiatives/By-Trustee-Area-of-Election-System



NOVEMBER 4, 2021

At right: Three proposed Butte County redistricting maps were presented to Butte County supervisors by Redistricting Partners. All three would change the boundaries of the current district map (at left), where District 1 corresponds to District A in the proposals, District 2 to District B, etc.

the amount proportioned for the new districts (42,500 each, plus or minus 10 percent). Meanwhile, supervisors are divided on whether agriculture, primarily situated in one west county district spanning north Chico to Gridley, should have greater representation. These considerations, along with dictates from the federal Voting Rights Act and state Fair Maps Act, mean that not every possibility is on the table. Who compromises, and how, could be a hot contest. “I like that the community has been so involved [and] been able to draw maps and attend meetings and voice their concerns,” Lucero said at her downtown Chico office. “My concern is that this public input is not going to come out as a reality in the process.”

The county’s process is running concurrently with others’. California is redrawing districts for the state Legislature and U.S. House of Representatives (see wedrawthelines ca.org/visualizations). In response to litigation, the Chico Unified School District is shifting from at-large board members to district seats as Chico did for the 2020 City Council election. Since county officials go up for election in the primary next spring, the supervisory redistricting has a tight deadline, with the final map due for approval at the Dec. 14 board meeting. “Obviously with the devastation that Butte County has been subjected to with the Camp Fire and the North Complex Fire, and that shift of population, this is one of the most

challenging redistricting processes of all time,” Brian Ring, the county’s assistant chief administrative officer, told the CN&R by phone. “You do have some leniency or some deviation where you can have one district or some districts vary in size, but they have to conform [to legal requirements]. “So, with that, District 5 is going to have to grow—but where does it grow? Does it come down into the Oroville area? Does it come down [farther] into the Chico area? Does it go more into the WUI [wildlandurban interface]? And obviously any changes there affect other districts.”

County lines The Oct. 12 meeting, where Redistricting Partners first presented its recommended options, raised

Plan C

eyebrows of supervisors and the public. An issue was preserving— or, in some cases, restoring—historical connections: Bidwell Park with Chico, Barber Neighborhood with Chico, Lake Oroville with Oroville. Certain maps severed such ties for the sake of population counts. Geographic boundaries also came up: namely, the North Fork of the Feather River for a Ridgearea district line and Highway 99 as a divider in Chico. Then came the ag discussion, which put Lucero at odds with Supervisor Tod Kimmelshue of the current rural District 4, who proposed that the

SPECIALIZING IN Supervisor Debra Lucero, in her downtown Chico office, says it’s important for the city to be represented proportionately and holistically under Butte County’s redistricting. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY

county’s top industry merits more representation than from one supervisor with an expansive area. “We don’t represent industries or land, we represent people,” Lucero told the CN&R in response. “The city of Chico has 110,000 people [including Chico State students], and we need two solid districts in Chico, not four quadrants of four supervisors representing Chico. I don’t think that’s in the spirit of the Voting Rights Act at all.” The Voting Rights Act prohibits a jurisdiction from making a change that affects voting, including redistricting, unless it demonstrates neither a discriminatory effect nor purpose. The Fair Maps Act, passed in 2019, prohibits gerrymandering of city and county districts. Paul Mitchell of Redistricting Partners explained to the supervisors that “the architecture that might have made sense under the prior structure simply doesn’t work. There’s too much gravitational force coming into Chico, and that makes it harder to draw the rest of the county when we’re forced to draw districts with equal population…. “Even among all the agencies we’re working with,” he added, “this is going to be one of the most disruptive redistrictings because of all the realities on the ground.” Board President Bill Connelly, whose District 1 covers the Oroville area, told Mitchell after the supervisors and public commented, “So, I guess you have your direction: Start over.”

The consultant will review additional map submissions—some twodozen more—and attempt to reconcile all the feedback. Ring said the public may continue to submit maps and comments ahead of Tuesday’s meeting (see info box). Connelly advocated for Lake Oroville and for east county mountain communities to remain in his district (the latter also pushed by District 5 Supervisor Doug Teeter) while supporting Kimmelshue’s proposition—asserting apolitical intentions. “I could easily run in Oroville and Thermalito [without having other communities in the district] and get reelected,” Connelly said. “I want to be more logical.” Lucero, up for election in 2022 along with fellow Chico Supervisor Tami Ritter, expressed skepticism about her colleagues’ motivation: “I believe there are politics at play in this.”

School districting Chico Unified’s effort stems from a pre-pandemic lawsuit, part of a statewide effort aimed at ensuring cities and school districts represent communities of color. Under the threat of litigation from law firms in Sacramento and Malibu, the city of Chico authorized district elections, which proponents say improve diversity of candidates and access for constituents. CUSD resisted until a costly court battle loomed. In the settlement, which hasn’t been finalized, Chico Unified

agreed to establish districts within its enrollment area, which extends beyond city limits. School board members get elected in November, as do city council members, but added layers of county and state approvals mean CUSD must finalize its map no later than January. The city, in an earlier phase of redistricting for council seats, just received consultant applications. “Now is when we hope people will engage,” CUSD Board President Eileen Robinson said by phone. “We have not made a selection [among the draft maps], but we have all of the interest points identified from the board’s perspective. We have limited information from the public, so that’s what we’re trying to generate.” Establishing districts is “not something that we would have done on our own,” added Robinson, a school board member since 2010. “But when we were faced with what the firm that sued us felt was noncompliance with the Voting Rights Act, we felt … we might as well save [school] district dollars and just comply.” CUSD turned to Chico-based King Consulting, its longstanding consultant for demographics analysis, to manage districting. As in the county’s process, Chico Unified and the public got three maps, scheduled for consideration at the board meeting on Nov. 3. Two emphasize high schools— either separating Chico High and Pleasant Valley or including each of them in every district—while the third stresses elementary schools, among other criteria. The board will hold another map session Nov. 17 before deciding district lines Dec. 15. Three members have terms ending next year: Robinson; Board Vice President Kathleen Kaiser, first elected in 2006; and Tom Lando, in his first term. “There’s no consideration for incumbency,” Robinson said. “Our concern is setting the districts up appropriately. Where people [on the board] live, we haven’t even Ω looked at it.” NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

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CARE PROVIDERS Needed! Make Extra Money and Change a Life! Adult(s) with special needs lives with you in your home, and you mentor them towards a better future. Must be at least 21, have a spare bedroom, clean criminal record and vehicle.

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Opportunity to Participate in Study about Rebuilding and Relocation after the Camp Fire I am a graduate student looking for participants for an exciting research study on rebuilding and relocation after the 2018 Camp Fire. The study involves one confidential interview which lasts no more than one hour.

Participants receive $25 as a thank you. Topics include the decision to stay or relocate, the rebuilding process, and the future of Paradise and climate change in California. Participants can be any adult that lived or had a business in the Paradise area at the time of the Camp Fire.

Please contact mtk378@nyu.edu or (310) 433-2061 to receive more information. The researcher was born and raised in California and studies in the Department of Sociology at New York University.

O N PA G E 1 2

NOVEMBER 4, 2021




Harvest hurdles Century-old Noble Orchards faces complications from Camp Fire, COVID


Ken Smith kens @new sr ev iew.c o m

W Paradise on Nov. 8, 2018, Jim and Laurie Noble barely escaped

hen the Camp Fire raged through

with their lives. Almost everything they left behind, including three homes and eight outbuildings that composed the infrastructure of their business, Noble Orchards, went up in flames. However, the heart of their operation—the apple and stone-fruit orchards—miraculously survived. Insurance enabled the couple to rebuild their house, but there wasn’t enough to rebuild any of the remaining buildings needed for the farm to properly function. Three years on, and at the end of this year’s apple harvest, survival remains a struggle complicated by the slow pace of promised payouts from the Fire Victims Trust, a $13 billion PG&E-funded account set up for those who’ve suffered loss due to fires that company is responsible for starting. (For more on survivor struggles, see “Everybody needs more time,” page 8.) “We have a business that’s ripe and ready to go, literally,” Laurie said last Thursday (Oct. 28), “but we lack facilities and they’re not yet funded. We understand it’s an extremely complex situation, so we’re doing what we can. But we wish things would move a little faster.” Recovery has been impacted by another disaster—COVID-19. Not only has business been drastically reduced during the pandemic, as it has for many, but recent efforts to uphold safety protocols while salvaging what they can of the harvest have been met with blowback from their community.

Delayed relief

Jim and Laurie Noble stand among some of the remaining apples in their orchard from this year’s crop. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH


CN&R N O V E M B E R 4 , 2 0 2 1

The Nobles told their story while sitting on a flat piece of land overlooking the orchards that was once occupied by their cold storage unit, which was a repurposed packing shed built by Jim’s grandfather in the 1930s. The lack of that particular building is the root of their most pressing current challenge: The picking season for most of the more-than-one-dozen varieties of apples grown on the land has

already passed. Only Granny Smiths remain in abundance, and it’s a matter of weeks, or days, before they, too, will overripen and drop to the ground. “Normally, when we pick Galas in August, we’ll still have some for sale in December,” Laurie said. “But because of the cold-storage situation, everything on the trees needs to be picked, and everything picked needs to be sold.” Laurie explained that they had a plan for a cold-storage unit in hand within weeks of the fire, but that rebuilding is not only dependent on the funding that’s been delayed but also a complete plotting of everything that needs to be rebuilt. “That all ties into M-O-N-E-Y, which is a huge unknown,” she said. “We have to decide what we can afford to rebuild and how the business will continue without spending every penny we have.” “Especially at our age,” Jim interjected, noting he is past 70 and Laurie is in her 60s. Steve “Woody” Culleton, a longtime member of the Paradise Town Council, said a lot of Camp Fire victims, including others struggling to keep their businesses alive, are in the same boat. He explained how PG&E’s contribution to survivors is half in cash and half in the company’s stock, which has plummeted at least $2 billion since the agreement was made. The vast majority of local victims are still waiting on funds. A total of $3.6 billion in determinations have been made thus far with only $1.1 billion actually paid out, according the trust’s official website. “It’s a joke,” Culleton said. “The people administrating the trust have made far more money than has actually been distributed.” Culleton said larger entities such as the town of Paradise, Adventist Health (owner of Feather River Hospital), AT&T and others already received huge chunks of money through lawsuits and other reparations, while citizens and small businesses are left in need. The Nobles expect it may be up to two years before they can break ground on cold storage and other essential infrastructure, and even that NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D

O N PA G E 1 5

Get Ready for Medicare’s 2022 Open Enrollment! NOVEMBER 4 – DECEMBER 7

Learn More about Medicare Changes Sign up for one of the FREE ZOOM presentations hosted by Passages HICAP Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program REGISTRATION LINK: www.eventbrite.com/e/whats-new-with-medicare-2022-tickets-170497107438 10AM - NOON Wednesday, November 10 Tuesday, November 23 Wednesday, December 1

Registration is Required! Go to Passagescenter.org or call 530-898-6715 Email and computer are required to participate This project was supported, in part by grant number 90SAPG0052-02-01, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D. C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects under government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official Administration for Community Living policy. NOVEMBER 4, 2021





NOVEMBER 4, 2021


C O N T I N U E D F R O M PA G E 1 2

will require making tough decisions to ultimately rebuild only some of what was lost.

Politics of picking In the meantime, the Nobles have taken measures to ensure the crop isn’t entirely wasted. For one, they began selling at Chico’s Saturday Farmers’ Market in early October for the first time since the Camp Fire. “People there have been really supportive and appreciative that we’re back there,” Laurie said. The Nobles also instituted a “U-Pick” program, inviting people to come to their orchard to pick apples for $1 a pound. They’re requiring visitors to show proof of vaccination and wear masks, causing detractors to lambast them on social media. “The COVID thing has really stopped a lot of people and irritated some,” Laurie said. “But it’s our choice, and we’ve already been through enough disaster with what you see here … and don’t see here,” she continued, indicating the damaged farm. “The

Farm feed: Visit facebook.com/NobleOrchards for updates.

Granny Smith apples on the tree at Noble Orchards. PHOTO COURTESY OF NOBLE ORCHARDS

thought of him or I not being here is unbearable, and then the business wouldn’t exist at all.” Jim noted there are also liability issues if someone is infected while picking apples. “We’d just as soon avoid all that. If some people aren’t happy and want to call us names that’s their problem.” “We’ve also had a lot of people call and come out who appreciate the rules,” Laurie said. “They like that they can come out to a place they know they’ll be safe. We’ve had people come bring everyone from the kids to the great-grandparents, four generations picking apples together.” Culleton called the actions of those who’ve criticized the Nobles over their COVID rules “unconscionable.” He lamented how everything has become so divisive and politicized—even picking apples—in the postTrump era. “The Nobles are a cornerstone of our community; they’re our neighbors and need support,” he said. “Their orchards are also part of the history of Paradise … after gold mining, there was logging, and when Paradise was cleared, people planted apple orchards. They

used to be everywhere here, and now that’s the last working orchard here.” Indeed, the Nobles would be marking the centennial of the family business this year but passed on holding any celebrations due to COVID uncertainty and the lack of infrastructure at the farm. Rains have cut into the Noble’s U-Pick efforts, and the recent heavy storm knocked down a few trees that Jim had to push back up, but Laurie said that the needed precipitation is the best possible disruption. The Nobles couldn’t predict a date they’ll end U-Picking, as there’s no way to tell exactly when the apples will no longer be good, but said it’s a matter of weeks at best. Even if the apples don’t sell, the Nobles said they hate to see them go to waste. They’ve already donated 700 pounds of apples to Dixie Fire relief efforts and said they’re happy to consider donating to other organizations aimed at fire or hunger relief. That is, as long as organizations can pick the crop themselves. “If someone can organize 20 or so people to come clear the apples and deliver them to Plumas County or wherever they’re needed, that would be great,” Laurie said. “It just makes sense that if we have a surplus of food nobody is using, then let’s get it to them.” Ω

NOVEMBER 4, 2021




CN&R gives a shout out to local volunteers to be thankful for in 2021 PHOTO BY KEN SMITH

Ruthie Cooper

s summer heat, and the wildfire season, and the COVID-19 surge start to dissipate, there is a measure of hope creeping into Chico’s crisp fall nights. We at the Chico News & Review are feeling cautious but also grateful as we eye Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season on the horizon. We are especially thankful for those locals who have given to the rest of us during a very trying year—those who volunteer to help the underprivileged, fight for the environment, administer lifesaving inoculations, assist those recovering from wildfires and bring joy during the pandemic. These are our 2021 Local Heroes.


The Fridge Fairy

Rebecca Lampke


CN&R N O V E M B E R 4 , 2 0 2 1

For Rebecca Lampke, feeding the hungry is a family tradition. “My dad was a trash man in Goleta,” she said of her childhood spent in the less-affluent suburbs of Santa Barbara. “Every day, my mom would pack sandwiches for him to take to homeless and hungry people along his route.” Despite suffering from severe arthritis, chronic pain and mobility issues, Lampke volunteers as much as her health allows for food distribution efforts at the local Salvation Army, the First Christian Church of Paradise and with the Food Bank of Contra Costa & Solano (which distributes food in Chico twice monthly). Her primary focus, though, is keeping the

Chico Community Fridge clean and stocked. The fridge—which anyone in need is welcome to take food from, or leave donations within—is located on Pine Street between West Sixth and Seventh streets. It was installed by an anonymous benefactor earlier this year, and Lampke took it upon herself to regularly clean and sanitize it. She also stocks it with fresh fruits, vegetables and dishes—such as spaghetti dinners, apple crisps and up to 30 sandwiches daily—that she prepares with help from donations and her boyfriend, Gilbert Pinedo. More information is available on the Chico Community Fridge Facebook page. —KEN SMITH kens@ newsr ev iew.c o m


Denise Gundersen

Sharing the scene The pandemic has been rough on the arts. Live gatherings were the first to go, and though the performances are starting to return, it’s going to take time for things to get back to normal for the artists, venues and patrons. It’s also going to take cooperation, and in recent months, a group of locals has come together in collaboration to jump start the scene’s recovery by filming and showcasing online the return of shows. The Chico A.R.T. Collective (the middle initials stand for “Artists Rise Together”) was founded by three local musicians—Kat Johns, Michael Whittemore and Fox E. Jeff—and since the beginning of summer, they’ve been filming concerts, craft fairs and pop-up art shows. They’ve been all over the scene “wherever artists are out there doing their thing,” explained Johns in a recent phone interview. As of press time, the group had posted 48 video shorts to its YouTube channel documenting the return of local performers and artists (while also providing a virtual option for those of us still social distancing)—everything from funky freaks Smokey the Groove in the City Plaza to Flume Street Market, the multidiscipline parking-lot pop-up at Flume and Eighth streets. The all-volunteer collective is growing, too, adding more local scene supporters as it prepares to file for nonprofit status. —JASON CASSIDY jaso nc @ newsr ev iew.c o m

Taking shots at the pandemic At the start of the year, with coronavirus numbers surging, Butte County Public Health began receiving doses of COVID19 vaccines to administer to the most vulnerable community members. The department, coordinating with local hospitals, set up public vaccination clinics and sought volunteers—preferably those with health-care certifications—to offset the demand for providers vitally needed to care for already ill patients. Many stepped up; few with more dedication than Ruthie Cooper and Denise Gundersen. Both retired nurses, they’ve become mainstays at local COVID vaccine clinics. Cooper drew on 20 years of experience organizing flu clinics at Enloe Medical Center, where she’d worked, to help the hospital launch its COVID vaccination efforts. She remains conspicuously present now that Enloe has combined clinics for flu and coronavirus. Gundersen, a Magalia resident who worked at Adventist Health Feather River before the Camp Fire burned the hospital, has logged over 100 hours in county COVID vaccine clinics in Chico, Oroville and Gridley. She’s done so while continuing to serve as a director of Medspire Health, the nonprofit she co-founded after the Camp Fire with her daughters, also nurses.


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Chico A.R.T. Collective:

Kat Johns Fox E. Jeff

—EVAN TUCHINSKY evan t @ n ew sr ev i ew. c o m

Michael Whittemore NOVEMBER 4, 2021




F R O M PA G E 1 7


Two for community

A friend to fire refugees Frank Martinez knows what it’s like to flee from fire. Thankfully, his property in Oroville survived a nearby blaze shortly after he moved there in 2016. But as fire seasons have grown more devastating and deadly for Butte County communities, Martinez has made it a personal mission to make sure survivors have support and help meeting their immediate, emergency needs. His dedication has been unwavering since he joined relief efforts for the Cascade and Ponderosa fires in 2017. He’s been involved in myriad responses to many blazes since then, including gathering and delivering food, water and other basic necessities and taking in dozens of evacuees. He’s been a tireless advocate for the tiny town of Berry Creek, co-founding Berry Creek United after the devastating North Complex Fire. Through this organization, his team of volunteers hosts regular free community meals, provides much-needed supplies and advocates for long-term rebuilding efforts. Martinez has continued to work hard despite having limited financial resources and dealing with his own health issues. He told the CN&R, “All these forks in the road keep happening, but nothing’s gonna stop me from doing what I need to do to help other people that need help.” —ASHIAH SCHARAGA ashia h@ n ew sr ev i ew. com PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

Frank Martinez

Bryce Goldstein

Addison Winslow

Energizer activist The morning of Feb. 16, Mary Kay Benson joined a small group of protesters as Chico police, city workers and a bulldozer razed a small homeless encampment off Boucher Street. Her attendance was unsurprising—she’s maintained a ubiquitous presence at actions for the unhoused and climate issues throughout this tumultuous year—but it’s worth mentioning because she went straight to the protest after working an overnight volunteer shift at Safe Space Winter Shelter. “I’m 73, low-income and disabled,” she said recently of her unflagging activism. “I’d love to retire, but my soul just won’t let me.” Benson has been part of environmental group 350 Butte County since 2017 and became increasingly involved with homeless issues more recently. She helped found the North State Shelter Team (NSST), an action-oriented offshoot of “helper” coalition Butte County Shelter For All, earlier this year. “Climate change and homelessness are so multifacted and intersectional that it’s easy to come into one or the other from the other angle,” she said. In addition to walking the walk, Benson talks the talk: She handles communications for NSST and 350 Butte. “That’s my superpower. I try to keep all of the volunteers up to date with news and events that are pertinent to climate and homelessness issues.” Like many the CN&R has chosen as Local Heroes, Benson was humble about receiving the acknowledgement. “I’m just one of hundreds who give our hearts daily,” she said. “We inspire each other to keep on going.” —KEN SMITH



NOVEMBER 4, 2021

Partners in life as well as activism, Bryce Goldstein and Addison Winslow make their marks on the community individually and collectively. Both frequently press government officials for change—notably, at meetings of the Chico City Council and Butte County Board of Supervisors. They co-author (without credit) Chico Green Hot Takes, a blog of sorts on Facebook, Instagram and Medium (all @chicogreenhottakes) covering housing development, road safety and other local environmental concerns. Both are active with the Butte Environmental Council: Goldstein as a board member and committee chair, Winslow as a member and advocate. Goldstein also serves on the Chico Planning Commission, which she chaired last year, and on the Butte County Democratic Party’s Campaign Services Committee. She advocates for transportation planning—formally through BEC and by collaborating with Chico State students. Winslow, acknowledged in last year’s Local Heroes among a volunteer group working with unhoused Chicoans, continues to amplify issues surrounding homelessness. He volunteered for, then worked for, Chico Housing Action Team; and serves on the board of the nonprofit Northern California Environmental Defense Center. —EVAN TUCHINSKY


Mary Kay Benson

NOVEMBER 4, 2021



Arts &Culture NOV.


CAMP FIRE MURAL CALENDAR SIGNING: Mural artist Shane Grammer will be at the art center signing calendars featuring photos of the murals he’s painted in Paradise after the Camp Fire. Calendars are $25, and all proceeds go to the art center. Sat, 11/6, 11am. $25. Paradise Art Center, 5564 Almond St., Paradise. paradisechamber.com

Nov. 6 Laxson Auditorium

CAPOLOW: The Oakland rapper is on tour along with DB Boutabag and Fredo Bagz. Sat, 11/6, 7pm. $25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com


CHORAL CONCERT: Voices Awaken, featuring the Chico State Acapella Choir and Chamber Singers. Sat, 11/6, 7:30pm. $6 - $18. Harlen Adams Theatre, Chico State, PAC 144. csuchico.edu

Art 1078 GALLERY: Remnants and Rituals, exhibitions by Jason Tannen and Tiera May, respectively. Through 11/20. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org.

CRACKS IN THE CONCRETE PART THREE: Local bands Solar Estates, Astronaut Ice Cream, Desperate Hell, Beehive and Sunny Acres perform as part of a local compilation album release show. It’s also the first at Naked Lounge in over a year and a half. Sat, 11/6, 7pm. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.

CHICO ART CENTER: The Art of Remembrance - Dia de los Muertos, a community art and altar exhibit inspired by the tradition of honoring those who have passed. Ofrendas include photos, poems, notes, flowers, treats, mini beverages and more. Through 11/14. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com

ERIN HALEY & FIREFLY: Live music on the patio. Sat, 11/6, 1pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway Ste. 130.

GATEWAY SCIENCE MUSEUM: Fossils Lab, the museum’s Demo Lab has been taken over by Chico State GEOS Department as expert paleontologists and fossil scientists-in-training work on actual finds from the field. Watch live fossil preparation and chat with our scientists in residence. Through 9/4. 625 Esplanade. csuchico.edu/gateway

GEEZYWORLD TOUR: LA rapper and ex-Shoreline Mafia member OhGeesy is on tour in support of his album Geezyworld. Special Guest DJ Vision. Sat, 11/6, 9pm. $25. Senator Theatre, 517 Main Street. jmaxproductions.net

JEFF PERSHING BAND: Local funky worldbeat band. Sat, 11/6, 10:30pm. Free. Feather Falls

JANET TURNER PRINT MUSEUM: Figural Bodies in Print, this exhibition, a collaboration between studio art and dance faculty, features works from the Turner print collection that focus on human emotions and the body. Through 11/20. Arts & Humanities building, Chico State. csuchico.edu/turner

Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino.com

THE KELLY TWINS: Twin brothers perform popular music on dueling pianos. Whether the pianos are related or not remains unknown. Pre-purchasing tickets online is highly recommended. Sat, 11/6, 8pm. $15. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St. eventbrite.com

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: Behind The Scenes, an exhibit featuring work from local artists Meghan Lacombe, Jessica De La Cuadra, Gerardo Alvarado, Rebecca Canterbury, Susan Fuller and Kimberly Ayers. Artists will be present Thursdays thru Sundays during museum hours as they show their processes, chat with visitors and create art. Through 11/28. 900 Esplanade. monca.org


Ice skating

Composer Jessie Montgomery

ICE TOWN: Ice skating sessions, lessons and private party events in the plaza through the holidays. Starts Fri, 11/19, 12pm. $12. Chico City Plaza, downtown Chico. downtownchico.com

PARADISE ON ICE: A seasonal outdoor ice rink on the Ridge, with public skate sessions available daily along with weekly special events and lessons. Starts Thu, 11/11, 2:30pm. The Terry Ashe Recreation Center, 6626 Skyway, Paradise. paradiseprpd.com/ice_rink

THU4 round of the local stand-up comedy scuffle. Audience members vote contestants into the semi-finals to earn a chance to win a cash prize. $10 entrance fee. Thu, 11/4, 8pm. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St.

CLARINET CHOIR CONCERT: A Joyous Sound, a varied program composed of solos, duos, quartets and works for large clarinet ensemble exploring a diverse repertoire from around the world. Thu, 11/4, 7:30pm. Free. Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, Chico State, PAC 134.

ELDARTHA: Local rock. Thu, 11/4, 8pm. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St.

INSPIRE FALL DANCE CONCERT: The Inspire Dance Company, CI Hip-Hop and Ulu Polynesian Dance Teams along with original group and


JAZZ NIGHT: Grab a drink, play some pool, listen to some jazz by Chico Jazz Collective. Every Thursday night. 8pm. Free. Down Lo, 319 Main St.

SHENANDOAH: The Grammy-, CMA- and

CHICO COMEDY COMPETITION: Part two of the first


solo works from Inspire School of Arts & Sciences classes. New is a competitive dance event in which Inspire staff “celebrities” perform student-choreographed routines. Masks are required for all in attendance. Thu, 11/4, 7pm. $10-$15. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. inspirechico.org

NOVEMBER 4, 2021

ACM-winning band out of Alabama is on tour and coming to Red Bluff in support of its new album, Every Road. Thu, 11/4, 7pm. $45-$60. State Theatre, 333 Oak Street, Red Bluff. (530) 529-2787. rolling hillscasino.com

TOM PAPA: Stand-up comedian and frequent Joe Rogan podcast guest. Thu, 11/4, 6:30pm. $20-$30. El Rey Theater, 230 W.


Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. (530) 8986333, chicoperformances.com

CHANNEL 66: Local folk rock cover band. Fri, 11/5, 6pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. simpletix.com

CRACKS IN THE CONCRETE PART ONE: Local bands Surrogate, XDS and Greyloom perform as part of a local compilation album release show series kickoff. Fri, 11/5, 7pm. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St.

CRACKS IN THE CONCRETE PART TWO: Local bands Severance Package, Empty Gate, Similar Alien and Sleepwalker perform as part of a local compilation album release show. Fri, 11/5, 9:30pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

TYLER DEVOLL: The local singer/songwriter serenades the happy hour crowd. Fri, 11/5, 5pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St.

Second St. elreychico.com

FRI5 BALLET HISPÁNICO: Chico Performances presents the renowned Latino dance organization that celebrates and explores Latino cultures through innovative dance performances. Fri, 11/5, 7:30pm. $35-$49.

SAT6 AMOR PROHIBIDO - A SELENA TRIBUTE SHOW: Dance to Selena’s biggest hits like “Como la Flor” and “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.” Sat, 11/6, 8pm. $25-$40. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400. goldcountrycasino.com

gram is centered around Gustav Mahler’s Titan symphony, principal flautist Tim Koop and principal harpist Candace LiVolsi are featured in Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Harp. Jessie Montgomery’s Banner, a work comissioned in 2014 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Star Spangled Banner, opens the show. Pre-concert talk with Director Scott Seaton starts at 6:30pm. Sat, 11/6, 7:30pm. $10-$40. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. northstatesymphony.org

RON MATHEWS: Live music for the brunch crowd. Sat, 11/6, 11am. La Salles, 229

2pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. simpletix.com RETROTONES: Local cover band, pizza and drinks. The event is all-ages. Sun, 11/7, 5:30pm. Free. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave.

TUE9 JAZZ TOO AND CONCERT BAND: A variety of music from both university groups—everything from John Phillip Sousa to Duke Ellington. Tue, 11/9, 7:30pm. Harlen Adams Theatre, Chico State, PAC 144.

WED10 OPEN MIC COMEDY: Open mic comedy hosted by Dillon Collins. Sign ups 8pm, showtime 9pm. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade.

THU11 COMEDY THURSDAY: Weekly comedy show & open mic hosted by Dillon Collins. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. JAZZ NIGHT: Grab a drink, play some pool, listen to some jazz by Chico Jazz Collective. Every Thursday night, 8pm. Free. Down Lo, 319 Main St.

KRIS TINKLE: The San Francisco and New York comedian has three critically praised albums that have been streamed over 13 million times. Also featuring Emma Haney (Sac) and Don Ashby (Chico). Hosted by Dillon Collins. Thu, 11/11, 7pm. $20. Unwined Kitchen & Bar, 980 Mangrove Ave.

RIOT TEN: El Paso-based DJ and producer on tour with Must Die! along with Ace Aura and Jeanie. Thu, 11/11, 8:30pm. $18-$20. Senator Theatre, 517 Main Street. jmaxproductions.net

THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: A romantic comedy inspired by the Charles Laughton film Hobson’s Choice. Written and directed by local actor/writer/director Jerry Miller, the play takes place in London in the ’60s and tells the story of a father who tries to marry off his three daughters in attempt to lighten financial burden. Thu, 11/11, 7:30pm. Shows through Dec. 5 (no shows Thanksgiving week). $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

Broadway St.

SIDEWALK SALE WITH GUEST VENDORS: Local vendors showcase a variety of goods. Sat, 11/6, 10am. Free. Pony Tracks, 2500 DurhamDayton Hwy, Durham.

SOUL POSSE: Dance party with the local cover band. Sat, 11/6, 5pm. Free. Golden Beaver Distillery, 13464 Browns Valley Drive.

FRI12 ALL TOGETHER NOW!: Area theater groups band together (and join with organizations doing the same across the globe) for a local production/fundraiser (three

VENOM COMEDY AND NAUGHTY NOIR BURLESQUE: A Saturday double feature. The Malteazers, a local inclusive, body positive burlesque troupe, presents a sexy show and dance party after the Venom Comedy stand-up show featuring headliner Heather Rogue along with Amber Pace, Annie Fischer, Eliza Odegard and Elle LeFaye. Comedy starts at 7pm. Sat, 11/6, 7pm. $14. The Maltese, 1600 Park Ave.

SUN7 HENRY CHADWICK: The Santa Cruz singer/songwriter is on tour promoting his new album, We All Start Again, with local support from singer/songwriter Pat Hull. Sun, 11/7,


JOHN CRAIGIE Nov. 12 El Rey Theater


So is the CN&R calendar! Submit virtual and real-world events for the online calendar as well as the monthly print edition at chico.newsreview.com/calendar

BALLET HISPÁNICO Nov. 9 Laxson Auditorium

lives of those who have passed this year as a result of violence against Trans people. Featuring the traditional “reading of the names,” a song by the Faith Lutheran Bell Choir and comfort food refreshments. Sat, 11/20, 6pm. Free. Faith Lutheran Church, 667 E. First Ave. www.StonewallChico.com

SUN21 BOBCAT ROB AND THE NIGHTLY HOWL: The songwriter and multi-instrumentalist out of Santa Cruz along with local singer/songwriter Garrett Gray. Sun, 11/21, 2pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. simpletix.com

CHICO TWEED RIDE: Vintage attire and vintage bicycles are encouraged but not mandatory on this leisurely group bike ride. Search “Chico Tweed Ride” on Facebook for more info. Sun, 11/21, 11am. Chico City Plaza.

holiday musical featuring classic songs like “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Winter Wonderland” and more. Fri, 11/26, 7:30pm. $20-$24. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

SAT27 EMMA & WILL: Local singer/songwriter duo playing covers. Sat, 11/27, 2pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. facebook.com

THE RUGS: The local indie rock band is back for a reunion show. Sat, 11/27, 6pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. simpletix.com

THE WINTER WONDERETTES: See Nov. 26. Sat, 11/27, 7:30pm. $20-$24. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

CHRISTMAS PREVIEW: The local holiday tradition

showings, Nov. 12-14) featuring a selection of songs from popular musicals—including Rent, Les Misérables, Into the Woods, Matilda, Hairspray, Mamma Mia! and many more. Fri, 11/12, 7:30pm. $25-$35. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. 970-9859080. legacystage.org

CHARLEY CROCKETT: The country and blues singer/songwriter out of San Benito, Texas, is also a distant relative of Davy Crockett. Fri, 11/12, 9pm. $25. Senator Theatre, 517 Main Street. jmaxproductions. net

CHICO COMEDY COMPETITION: J&J Comedy presents the semifinals of its comedy competition featuring local comics. Wendy Lewis hosts and headlines. Fri, 11/12, 7pm. $15. Purple Line Urban Winery, 760 Safford St., Oroville.

JOHN CRAIGIE: The traveling storyteller and folk singer/songwriter is on tour with support from Portland-based singer/songwriter Chris Pureka. Fri, 11/12, 7pm. $24-$30. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico. com

PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: Traditional Irish tunes every Friday during happy hour. Fridays, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: See Nov. 11. Sa, 11/12, 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

SAT13 ALL TOGETHER NOW!: See Nov. 12. Sat, 11/13, 7:30pm. $25-$35. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. 970-985-9080. legacystage.org

AMAHJRA: Progressive rock from Richvale. Sat, 11/13, 9pm. $12 - $15. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR: Local vendors will be showcasing all sorts of gifty products like handmade jewelry, art prints, cups, wreaths, stained glass, paintings and more. Sat, 11/13, 11am. Chico Marketplace, 1932 E. 20th St. shopchicomarketplace.com

POSTMODERN JUKEBOX: Chico Performances presents Scott Bradlee’s time-twisting musical collective known for putting “pop music in a time machine.” Sat, 11/13, 7:30pm. $49-$66. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. (530) 8986333, chicoperformances.com

REECE THOMPSON: Local singer/songwriter live

on the patio. Sat, 11/13, 1pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

RODNEY ATKINS: The “Farmer’s Daughter” country star is on tour and cashing in at the casino. Special guest Chad Bushnell. Sat, 11/13, 8pm. $45-$80. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. (800) 334-9400. goldcountrycasino.com

THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: See Nov. 11. Su, 11/13, 2pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

SUN14 ALL TOGETHER NOW!: See Nov. 12. Sun, 11/14, 2pm. $25-$35. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. 970-985-9080. legacystage.org

ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR: See Nov. 13. Sun, 11/14, 11am. Chico Marketplace, 1932 E. 20th St. shopchicomarketplace.com

JOHNNY FRANCO: Portland-based old-school rock ’n’ roller originally from Brazil. Local acoustic singer/songwriter duo The Sun Followers open. Sun, 11/14, 2pm. Free. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120. simpletix.com

TUE16 BRASS CHOIR: This concert encompasses everything brass from chamber ensemble to soloists, duets to trios, and more. Tue, 11/16, 7:30pm. Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall, Chico State, PAC 134.

GRANGER SMITH: The country singer/songwriter also known as Earl Dibbles Jr. visits from Yee Yee land. Tue, 11/16, 8pm. $27.50. Senator Theatre, 517 Main Street. (530) 898-1497. jmaxproductions.net

LEVITATION ROOM AND TRIPTIDES: Two LA-based rock bands on tour. Tue, 11/16, 9pm. $10. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

WED17 CHICO COMEDY COMPETITION FINALS: Five of the top local comics try their best to win over the crowd for the 2021 crown. Presented by J&J Comedy and hosted by Chris Flail. Wed,

11/17, 8pm. $15-$20. Parkside Tap House, 115 W. Third St.

THU18 COMEDY THURSDAY: Weekly show & open mic hosted by Dillon Collins. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. JAZZ NIGHT: Grab a drink, play some pool, listen to some jazz by Chico Jazz Collective. Every Thursday night, 8pm. Free. Down Lo, 319 Main St.

THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: See Nov. 11. Th, 11/18, 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

FRI19 PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: Traditional Irish tunes every Friday during happy hour. Fridays, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: See Nov. 11. Fr, 11/19, 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

TYLER DEVOLL: The local singer/songwriter serenades the happy hour crowd. Fri, 11/19, 5pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St.

SAT20 BUCK SCHAECHTERLE: Live music on the patio. Sat, 11/20, 1pm. The Allies Pub, 426 Broadway, Ste. 130.

DECADES: Popular local cover band. Sat, 11/20, 10pm. Free. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino. com

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF CHICO’S BARBER NEIGHBORHOOD: Paul Lieberum and Liz Stewart will co-present this program on Chico’s longstanding southwest neighborhood. Sat, 11/20, 10am. $9. Chico History Museum, 141 Salem St. chicohistorymuseum.org

THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: See Nov. 11. Sa, 11/20, 7:30pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

TRANSGENDER DAY OF REMEMBRANCE: An outdoor candlelight vigil honoring the names and

is back. Downtown merchants roll out the red carpet, carolers will be strolling about, and there will be on-street events, entertainment and photo opportunities with Santa. Sun, 11/21, 4pm. Downtown Chico. downtownchico.com

THE SHOEMAKER’S DAUGHTERS: See Nov. 11. Su, 11/21, 2pm. $16. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735

SUN28 THE WINTER WONDERETTES: See Nov. 26. Sun, 11/28, 2pm. $20-$24. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheatercompany.com

Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

WED24 OPEN MIC COMEDY: Open mic comedy hosted by Dillon Collins. Sign ups 8pm, showtime 9pm. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade.

TUE30 HED PE: Huntington Beach ’90s rap rock band on tour in support of its new album, Sandmine. Locals the Makers Mile opens. Tue, 11/30, 8pm. $10. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com



THE FUNNELS: The local new wave rock

BRAD WILLIAMS: The comedian who’s appeared

band from the ’80s and ’90s and special guests The Shakes are back for a reunion show. Fri, 11/26, 8pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

on TV shows like Dave Attell’s Comedy Underground, Tonight Show and Jimmy Kimmel Live visits Chico. Wed, 12/1, 6:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com

PUB SCOUTS HAPPY HOUR: Traditional Irish tunes every Friday during happy hour. Fridays, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

OPEN MIC COMEDY: Open mic comedy hosted


by Dillon Collins. Sign ups 8pm, showtime 9pm. Wednesdays, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade.


FUNNY FIGHT! The local comedy scene is in the middle of a battle royale! The Chico Comedy Competition is under way and the winners from two first-round matches, including tonight, Nov. 4, at Bella’s Sports Pub, square off in the semifinals— hosted by L.A. comedian Wendy Lewis—Nov. 12 at Purple Line Urban

Winery in Oroville. Sac’s Chris Flail will host the finals Nov. 17 at Parkside Taphouse, where the audience will vote for a winner, deciding who is funniest of them all. NOVEMBER 4, 2021





NOVEMBER 4, 2021


Feed me theater A review of the new First Street Theatre in downtown Chico

Little Shop of Horrors who attended the Ftheatrical version of the cult favorite ans of the movie version of

in downtown Chico’s brand-new First Street Theatre were in for a double treat: Not only was the local version delightfully entertaining, but the newly transformed theater complex, the former home of the Blue Room Theatre, is also a marvel in itself. That’s because, for more than a year now, members of by its managRobert Speer ing company, r ober tspeer@ California newsrev iew.c om Regional Theatre, have worked to transform what was a funky Review: artsy space into Little Shop of Horrors what CRT’s Oct. 17, at First Street Theatre director, Bob Maness, calls Next up for California “modern eleRegional Theatre: gance.” Their Annie, Dec. 3-12, at CUSD goal, he says, Center for the Arts was to preserve Company, Feb. 4-20, at First Street Theatre the “historical

nostalgia” of a brick-walled building constructed in 1891 while turning it into a classy, upscale venue. They have more than succeeded. Maness and CRT are best known for their high-quality productions of big Broadway musicals such as Les Misérables and Sweeney Todd. These productions make good use of the vast stage at the Center for the Arts at Pleasant Valley High School and have drawn large audiences. Maness says he’s long looked for a way to create a smaller facility in the downtown area, and when the Blue Room became available—due to the longtime local theater being forced to shut its doors during the pandemic—he and members of his nonprofit company’s board jumped at the opportunity. The remodeling didn’t come cheap—somewhere between $300,000 and $400,000, Maness said, approximately half of which was provided by their landlord, the Lucena family. As

Above: Little Shop of Horrors leads Ruby Ocampo (as Audrey) and Ryan Matrai (Seymour). Left: Chandelier lit up in the lobby of the newly restored First Street Theatre space. PHOTOS BY JENNIFER REDEKER

owners of the building, including Collier Hardware, they were “extremely supportive” of the theater project, Maness said. They saw the benefit to the Chico community to be gained by helping CRT transform a building in some disrepair into one of enduring beauty and utility.

During a recent tour of the First

Street facility, Maness pointed out the multiple ways it has been upgraded. “We did everything,” he said. The lobby’s high ceiling has been exposed, and attractive ceiling fans have been added. New flooring has been put in, atmospheric lighting has been added, new carpeting

has been put down on the stairway, fresh paint is everywhere, and an elegant full-service bar has been set up on the west end of the building. Most significant, perhaps, the theater room has been transformed. A state-of-the-art lighting and sound system has been installed, brand-new bright-red chairs have been added, new carpeting has been laid among the seats, new flooring has been installed and, most dramatically, the old drop ceilings have been removed to expose the grand heights of the original Masonic hall. The transformation is stunning. Maness agrees that the Blue Room had a profound impact on local theater culture and presented many excellent works. However, its strength—a commitment to staging the kind of offbeat, edgy plays actors adore—might’ve been a weakness, too, as many of its productions lacked the popular appeal needed to draw in big audiences. For Maness, CRT is a business as well as an outlet for the theater arts, and he approaches it accordingly. For example, he sets up focus groups to help him determine which shows to schedule. He also diversifies the annual offerings in order to attract a variety of audiences. Upcoming productions include, for example, both the ever-popular Annie (December at the CUSD Center for the Arts) and Steven Sondheim’s brilliant Company (February at First Street). Last month, there was the delightful Little Shop of Horrors, the musical that manages to make a man-eating, blood-sucking plant; a sadistic dentist; the denizens of Skid Row; and several other “horrors” funny and lovable. The show is known for its catchy music and offbeat humor, both of which are on delightful display in the FST production. Worthy of special note were Ryan Matrai as Seymour Krelborn, the nerdy flower shop assistant; Jim Sandiford as Mr. Mushnik the shop owner; Duncan Krummel as Orin the sadistic motorcycle riding dentist; and the three so-called Urchins (Grace Mgbam, Marquita Goodman and Sydney Vaughn) who provide the dance moves and backup singing that tie the play’s elements together. There wasn’t a weak performance in the bunch. If this production is a taste of what’s to come in the First Street Theatre, audiences are going to have a lot of fun enjoying quality community theater in a first-class venue. Ω NOVEMBER 4, 2021



REEL WORLD Left: Zeytin

Keeping watch over the humans A remarkable dog’s-eye documentary filmed on the streets of Instanbul

Shastarysomeaboutextraordinary stray dogs in Istanbul, moments of tray, a ruggedly poetic documen-

eerie emotion in it, including one near the finish that’s as haunting and by Juan-Carlos amazing as anything Selznick I’ve encountered in movies this year. Elizabeth Lo’s Stray film is about more Now streaming than stray dogs, via most major but a big part of its services. unique fascination comes of Lo’s filming her subjects from a close-to-theground camera angle that approximates, or shares in, something akin to a “dog’s-eye view.” Even as that

camera gives us passing glimpses of people and scenes in some rough urban neighborhoods, the dogs remain the central focus and, in effect, the main characters. The film’s cast list includes some homeless kids, Syrian refugees who are identified by first-name only. At the top of that list, however, are three dogs—Zeytin, a large tan female who is in effect the film’s star; Nazar, Zeytin’s frequent and similarlooking companion; and Kartal, a black-and-white puppy who cavorts with the strays and is briefly spirited away from its private owner. The homeless kids take an interest in the dogs and for a while share sleeping space with them. The

that dogs “keep watch over human beings” not to protect their property but rather to insure that “they do not get robbed of their integrity.” Lo’s film doesn’t find much evidence of human integrity, but a remarkable kind of dignity emerges in her close-ups of dogs, and of Zeytin in particular, often in contrast to the bedraggled chaos of humans nearby. A prevailing irony in Stray has to do with human beings treating dogs better than they treat themselves and others. (Turkish law forbids the capture and/or killing of stray dogs.) The homeless kids seem to relish their own moments of frolicsome dog-like freedom, but their own survival is, at the very least, in peril. The social politics of dogs and men looms largest in the second half of the film, but moments evoking the mysteries of dogs’ lives prove

the most memorable and rewarding. An especially revelatory moment, for example, arises in a single, quietly composed, beachside shot. Zeytin and Nazar are sitting calmly, the one gazing along the shore, the other sleeping with his back to the shore. A cat, at a distance from the dogs, strides into view; neither dog seems to notice, but suddenly both spring into action and dash off in the direction of the cat. The sleeping dog and the sitting dog give no signs of having noticed until, suddenly and simultaneously, both of them seem—absolutely—to know. The eerily enchanting moment that I mentioned at the outset comes after the main action has finished and the final credits have begun to roll. It involves a dog (Zeytin, I think) howling mournfully and almost musically. To get the full context and impact of that moment, it’s probably best that you see the movie yourself, before I say anything more. Ω

Below: Kartal

occasional bits of overheard human speech occur mostly in moments where the camera is watching at least one of the dogs. There is no voice-over narration, but Lo uses a few title cards quoting the classical philosopher Diogenes to set up certain thematic possibilities: “Human beings live artificially and would do well to study the dog” (360 BC) and “I nuzzle the kind, bark at the greedy, and bite scoundrels” (363 BC). Lo’s “study” at least partly reflects the urgencies in those quotations, but in ways that both evoke and complicate them, via contrasts as well as parallels. Another classical quotation, from Themistius (325 AD), tells us

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NOVEMBER 4, 2021

With your recurring or one-time contribution, the CN&R’s team of dedicated journalists can continue our award-winning coverage on topics that impact the residents of Butte County, including COVID-19, the arts, homelessness, the fight for equality, and wildfire recovery and prevention.

Donate Online at: chico.newsreview.com/support Or mail a check to: Chico News & Review, P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927 (Please include return address, email address, and do not send cash.)

TRANS IS BEAUTIFUL at Rape Crisis Intervention

The holidays may be a particularly difficult time for transgender and gender non-conforming individuals lacking support, especially for those who are survivors of sexual violence. Transgender people are disproportionately impacted by sexual violence, as well as physical violence, discrimination, poverty and a lack of access to support services - especially transwomen of color. At Rape Crisis Intervention we affirm your gender identity and gender expression and support survivors and significant others of all genders on their path to healing from sexual violence.

We see you, we value you and we are here for you when you are ready! EVENTS IN NOVEMBER • Transgender Awareness Week NOVEMBER 13–19 • Transgender Day of Remembrance NOVEMBER 20 • Participate locally with Stonewall Alliance Chico. They will be hosting a Community Altar NOVEMBER 15 –19, 10AM–4:30PM at Faith Lutheran Church, Room 5 and a Candlelight Vigil NOVEMBER 20, 6 –8PM outside in the Faith Lutheran courtyard. Visit www.stonewallchico.com/TDOR for more information.

TRANSGENDER SURVIVORS STATISTICS • MORE THAN 50% of transgender individuals experience sexually abuse or sexual assault at some point in their lives, with some reports stating that 66% of transgender people experience sexual assualt, often with physical violence. This means that the majority of transgender people are survivors and deal with the trauma, anxiety, fear and isolation caused by sexual violence, in addition to the stigma of being transgender in our society. • SEXUAL VIOLENCE has been found to be experienced at higher rates among transgender youth, transgender people of color, transgender sex workers, those with disabilities and those experiencing homelessness. • SEXUAL ASSAULT against transgender individuals may occur as an anti-transgender hate crime, or as forced “corrective sex” intended to stop a person from transitioning or to make someone straight. • ONLY ONE IN FIVE LGBTQ VICTIMS of intimate partner violence or sexual assault get help from service providers • MANY TRANSGENDER SURVIVORS do not seek services due to concerns of discrimination, safety and lack of access to transgender informed support.

We are open and affirming to all regardless of ability, gender, gender identity, race, or sexual orientation.

Butte/Glenn: 530-891-1331 | Tehama: 530-529-3980 | Corning: 530-824-3982 Virtual Business Hours: M–F 10am-6pm (excluding Holidays) 24hr CRISIS LINE: 530-342-RAPE (7273) Collect Calls Accepted

Rape Crisis Intervention of North Central California

aka Rape Crisis Intervention and Prevention

Serving our Tri-County Community Members since 1974 NOVEMBER 4, 2021



ARTS DEVO by JASON CASSIDY • jasonc@newsreview.com

Rushing Around Town... The DA’s website proudly states “To do Justice, as no one is above the Law, nor beneath its protection” …but is that the truth? District Attorney Ramsey has exonerated the officers who killed thirty-seven civilians during his thirty-four-year reign as the top cop in Butte County. He did cave in one time and file involuntary manslaughter charges against former officer Patrick Feaster for killing Andrew Thomas. Feaster was convicted by a Butte County jury and served one hundred and eighty days in Lassen County jail. Is that justice? Recent revelations by investigative journalist Dave Waddell in the digital news platform ChicoSol.org have exposed the “hands on” involvement DA Ramsey in the supposed impartial and independent interviews of the officers involved in the killings of Desmond Phillips and Tyler Rushing. I believe there are thousands of good people in Butte County that will be shocked by the actions of your elected DA but will these jaw-dropping disclosures result in the a demand for Ramsey’s resignation? Hopefully the CNR readers will be moved to action. I welcome your feedback at: therealchiconews@gmail.com or on the Facebook group page Call4Change. PHOTO BY KAREN LASLO




NOVEMBER 4, 2021

FEELING BLUE Arts DEVO is super impressed with the new First Street Theatre performance space in downtown Chico. The folks from Chico’s California Regional Theatre put in a lot of work and money and have completely remodeled the inside of the one-time Masonic Hall to create a stunning new space (see “Feed me theater,” page 23). Before the COVID-19 pandemic forced its doors to close, the Blue Room Theatre had been operating Chico’s favorite black-box theater in the same spot for 26 years. (The Blue Room is technically alive, but it still has no home and its future remains undetermined.) Always on a tight budget, the local cultural institution had to get very creative to make the funky space work to its advantage as it produced daring art that set the tone for our local scene. Matt Hammons as Hedwig at the Blue Room in 2004. As someone who has been paid CN&R FILE PHOTO BY TOM ANGEL to watch that scene for some time now and who has followed the venue since its inception—witnessing much of the fake blood and real sweat spilled on those wood floors—I can say with conviction and some authority that the Blue Room was the most important arts entity in Chico over the last two decades. From its aggressively avant garde Butcher Shop beginnings (bless you, Latimer family) to the countless courageous performances by our best actors in challenging and/or fun modern and contemporary works (Matt Hammons as Hedwig in Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Jerry Miller as Roy Cohn in Angels in America; Samantha Shaner (née Perry) as Nancy in Sid and Nancy; Joe Hilsee as anyone in any-freakin’-thing), the Blue Room always attempted to show us the beauty and the pain of life in fresh and new ways. For me, that’s art, and that’s what gets me out of the house. I’m happy that Chico has a state-of-the-art and accessible public performance space downtown (which will be available for productions by more than just the host theater by the way), but I am sad that the old haunt is no more. I miss the funk. I know many of you do as well. So, as I raise one congratulatory glass to First Street, I pour another out in honor of the Blue Room for bringing us two-and-a-half decades of wild fun. CRACK ROCK! And like that, the music scene is back! This weekend marks the release of the longawaited Cracks in the Concrete album, a compilation of originals by 14 local bands put together by man-of-many-musical-hats Jake Sprecher under the umbrella of Valley Fever, his rock-show/ music-fest production company. To accompany the dropping of the vinyl(!) and digital download versions on Friday, Nov. 5, Sprecher has also compiled a mini-fest—featuring 12 of the artists, a who’s-who roster of local punk/ goth/indie/psych/garage-rock/disco crews— including the first-ever live show on the stage of the new Naked Lounge! • Friday, Nov. 5, 7 p.m., Argus Bar + Patio: Surrogate, XDS, Greyloom • Friday, Nov. 5, 9:30 p.m., Duffy’s Tavern: Severance Package, Empty Gate, Similar Alien, Sleepwalker • Saturday, Nov. 6, 7 p.m., Naked Lounge: Solar Estates, Astronaut Ice Cream, Desperate Hell, Beehive, Sunny Acres Order/download Cracks in the Concrete at valleyfeverchico.bandcamp.com Cracks in the Concrete


hoping to heal from psychological wounds that you rarely speak about? May I suggest that you consider speaking about them in the coming weeks? Not to just anyone and everyone, of course, but rather to allies who might be able to help you generate at least a partial remedy. The moment is ripe, in my opinion. Now is a favorable time for you to become actively involved in seeking cures, fixes and solace. Life will be more responsive than usual to such efforts.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): According to an Apache proverb, “It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand.” If you act on that counsel in the coming weeks, you will succeed in doing what needs to be done. There is only one potential downfall you could be susceptible to, in my view, and that is talking and thinking too much about the matter you want to accomplish before you actually take action to accomplish it. All the power you need will arise as you resolutely wield the lightning in your hands.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): “The delights SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): To encour-

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): Gemini novel-

Mathilda, novelist Mary Shelley (1797-1851) has the main character ask, “What had I to love?” And the answer? “Oh, many things: there was the moonshine, and the bright stars; the breezes and the refreshing rains; there was the whole earth and the sky that covers it.” I bring this to your attention in the hope of inspiring you to make your own tally of all the wonders you love. I trust your inventory will be at least 10 times as long as Mathilda’s. Now is a favorable time for you to gather all the healing that can come from feeling waves of gratitude, even adoration, for the people, animals, experiences, situations and places that rouse your interest, affection devotion.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Our memories are

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): In 1962, astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in a spacecraft. His flight marked the first time that NASA, the agency in charge of spaceflight, had ever used electronic computers. Glenn, who was also an engineer, wanted the very best person to verify the calculations, and that was Virgo mathematician Katherine Johnson. In fact, Glenn said he wouldn’t fly without her involvement. I bring this to your attention, Virgo, because I believe the coming months will be a favorable time for you to garner the kind of respect and recognition that Katherine Johnson got from John Glenn. Make sure everyone who needs to know does indeed know about your aptitudes and skills.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): Capricorn author Asha Sanaker writes, “There is a running joke about us Capricorns that we age backwards. Having been born as burdened, cranky old people, we become lighter and more joyful as we age because we have gained so much practice in wielding responsibility. And in this way we learn, over time, about what are our proper burdens to carry and what are not. We develop clear boundaries around how to hold our obligations with grace.” Sanaker’s thoughts will serve as an excellent meditation for you in the coming weeks. You’re in a phase when you can make dramatic progress in embodying the skills she articulates.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): As author Denise Linn reminded us, “The way you treat yourself sends a very clear message to others about how they should treat you.” With that advice as your inspiration, I ask you to deepen your devotion to self-care in the coming weeks. I encourage you to shower yourself with more tenderness and generosity than you have ever done in your life. I also urge you to make sure these efforts are apparent to everyone in your life. I am hoping for you to accomplish a permanent upgrade in your love for yourself, which should lead to a similar upgrade in the kindness you receive from others.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): You have at your disposal a prodigiously potent creative tool: your imagination. If there’s a specific experience or object you want to bring into your world, the first thing you do is visualize it. The practical actions you take to live the life you want to live always refer back to the scenes in your mind’s eye. And so, every goal you fulfill, every quest you carry out, every liberation you achieve, begins as an inner vision. Your imagination is the engine of your destiny. It’s the catalyst with which you design your future. I bring these ideas to your attention, dear Pisces, because November is Celebrate Your Imagination Month.


always changing. Whenever we call up a specific remembrance, it’s different from the last time we visited that same remembrance‚ colored by all the new memories we have accumulated in the meantime. Over time, an event we recall from when we were 9 years old has gone through a great deal of shapeshifting in our memory, so much so that it may have little resemblance to the first time we remembered it. Is this a thing to be mourned or celebrated? Maybe some of both. Right now, though, it’s to be celebrated. You have extra power to declare your independence from any memories that don’t make you feel good. Why hold onto them if you can’t even be sure they’re accurate?

“If we’re not careful, we are apt to grant ultimate value to something we’ve just made up in our heads,” said Zen priest Kosho Uchiyama. In my view, that’s a problem all of us should always be alert for. As I survey my own past, I’m embarrassed and amused as I remember the countless times I committed this faux pas. For instance, during one eight-month period, I inexplicably devoted myself to courting a woman who had zero interest in a romantic relationship with me. I bring this to your attention, Sagittarius, because I’m concerned that right now, you’re more susceptible than usual to making this mistake. But since I’ve warned you, maybe you’ll avoid it. I hope so!


CANCER (June 21-July 22): In her book

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):


ist and philosopher Muriel Barbery says, “I find this a fascinating phenomenon: the ability we have to manipulate ourselves so that the foundation of our beliefs is never shaken.” In the coming weeks, I hope you will overcome any tendency you might have to manipulate yourself in such a way. In my view, it’s crucial for your mental and spiritual health that you at least question your belief system and perhaps even risk shaking its foundation. Don’t worry: Even if doing so ushers in a period of uncertainty, you’ll be much stronger for it in the long run. More robust and complete beliefs will be available for you to embrace.

age young people to come to its shows, the English National Opera has offered a lot of cheap tickets. Here’s another incentive: Actors sing in English, not Italian or French or German. Maybe most enticing for audiences is that they are encouraged to boo the villains. The intention is to make attendees feel relaxed and free to express themselves. I’m pleased to give you Scorpios permission to boo the bad guys in your life during the coming weeks. In fact, I will love it if you are extra eloquent and energetic about articulating all your true feelings. In my view, now is prime time for you to show the world exactly who you are.


of self-discovery are always available,” writes author Gail Sheehy. I will add that those delights will be extra accessible for you in the coming weeks. In my view, you’re in a phase of super-learning about yourself. You will attract help and support if you passionately explore mysteries and riddles that have eluded your understanding. Have fun surprising and entertaining yourself, Taurus. Make it your goal to catch a new glimpse of your hidden depths every day.

C H I C O ’ S

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Are you still


Find us online c h i c o . n e w s r e v i e w.c o m


www.RealAstrology.com for Rob Brezsny’s EXPANDED WEEKLY AUDIO HOROSCOPES and DAILY TEXT MESSAGE HOROSCOPES. The audio horoscopes are also available by phone at 1-877-873-4888. NOVEMBER 4, 2021



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The Senior Medicare Patrol Empowering Seniors to prevent Healthcare Fraud How does the Senior Medicare Patrol Prevent Medicare Fraud? The Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is a group of highly trained volunteers who help Medicare and Medi-Cal beneciaries prevent, detect and report healthcare fraud. SMP volunteers teach Medicare beneciaries how to protect their personal health information, identify and report errors on their healthcare statements, recognize scams – such as illegal marketing, providing unnecessary services and charging for services that were not provided and report fraud and abuse to the proper authorities. According to the U.S. government, the Medicare Trust Fund loses between $60 and $90 Billion dollars every year to fraud, waste and abuse.

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