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Shelter Solution? Pallet housing site opening soon, but questions loom about operation



MARCH 10, 2022


Bruce Jenkins


Vol. 45, Issue 9 • March 10—April 6, 2022 OPINION

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


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Code yellow

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

Briskcolor-coded system of determining COVID-19 from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control

end of the day on March 11). The omicron variant wave has crested in California. However, let’s not forget how we and Prevention (CDC) has our county and most of were still in the middle of the largest surge of those around us firmly in the yellow, meaning our the pandemic just a month ago and that before Community Level risk is “medium.” Still, this is omicron’s arrival—which caught everyone by unquestionably a positive development: It means surprise—we thought the worst was behind us. that, for seven days in a Omicron may have caused row, Butte County met the less severe illness than the threshold of less than 200 delta variant, but the sheer We aren’t per 100,000 people infected; number of infections transless than 20 new COVID lated into a higher death toll calling for patients per 100,000 than its predecessor. residents admitted to the While there is much anything more hospital; and less than 15 reason for optimism, there percent of staffed inpatient has been plenty of precedence drastic beds occupied by COVID-19 to exercise a reasonable patients. As of March 3, we measure of caution. Why not than this: were out of the high risk make sure this time? Let’s get Don’t ditch the category for the first time in the green zone before we in more than two months. start celebrating too heavily. mask just yet. Being in the yellow Make sure our health-care means that the CDC recomworkers get a break and not mends mask-wearing in another spike. Save some public for only those with lives. compromised immune systems or otherwise at We at the CN&R want to get back to “normal” high risk for COVID-19 infection. The rest of us as much as everyone else. We aren’t calling for are advised just to stay up on our vaccinations/ anything more drastic than this: Don’t ditch the boosters and to quarantine or isolate if we are mask just yet. Keep one with you and wear it in exposed or infected; otherwise, we are free to go crowded public places for a little while longer. without face coverings in public—a recommendaThe light is just about to turn green; maybe by the tion echoed by the California Department of Public time you are reading this editorial, it already has. Just Health (even for students and staff in schools as of wait until it does before you take that next step. Ω utte County is not in the green. As of publication, the

A dear friend recently described the Democratic Party thusly: “It’s like people are drowning and the Democrats toss a life ring that comes up just short, every time.” During the fall of 2020, my mom, a life-long Republican, shared her biggest problem with the Democrats: “Billy, all they do is complain.” I recalibrated my senses the last several weeks before election day 2020 and, wow, was she ever right—locally 4


MARCH 10, 2022

and nationally. Hell, local Democrats had the gall to take out a back page ad in the CN&R suggesting that progressive candidates running for the Chico City Council were brown-shirt Republican Trump supporters! Their cash would have been better spent promoting, and passing, “ranked-choice voting.” Nope, instead they punted the opportunity with their supermajority on the City Council. This summer, I shared suggestions with a local Democratic

About that extra week For the faithful readers who were expecting to see the March print edition of the CN&R during the first week of the month, I apologize for the inadvertent psych out as the stands weren’t filled until week No. 2 (March 10). The printer that the News & Review had been using was recently sold and moved out of the area, so we’re now with another company whose schedule necessitates a shift in our publication calendar. Instead of coming out the first Thursday of the month, the CN&R will now be released every four weeks (with a couple of exceptions that will stretch that to five weeks). Next street date: April 7.

Bill Mash Chico O N PA G E 7

Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review

Party canvasser. I’ll never forget the dismissive look accompanying their response, “OK, Bill.” They couldn’t have cared less about my concerns if I was a door knob. I’m done voting for liberal Dems. Instead I’ll be supporting and campaigning for sincere progressive value candidates from now on. Sadly, some of my ballot boxes will remain blank.


The fence Chico City Plaza has been surrounded in chain link since October. The city’s explanation is that it went up to allow for needed repairs followed by the installation and then operation of the holiday ice-skating rink. The rink closed Jan. 30, was dismantled soon after, and as City Manager Mark Orme explained at the last City Council meeting (March 1), the plaza has remained off limits due to yet-to-be-completed plumbing and electrical repairs. We’re now at more than four months of being fenced off from our downtown’s central feature. Regardless of the reasoning, it’s a bad look for the city to have its downtown gathering place framed in chain link and off limits to the people, especially with little to no visible work being done for weeks on end. Of course, some of the local people who are being kept out are the significant number of homeless citizens who’d sought some semblance of shelter and comfort in the public space during the pandemic. It will surprise no one if the fences coming down coincides with the opening of the non-congregate shelter site.

Help Ukraine About suffering they were never wrong, The Old Masters; how well they understood Its human position; how it takes place While somone else is eating or opening a window or just walking dully along (from “Musée Des Beaux Arts,” by W.H. Auden) Auden’s poem was inspired by a painting (thought to be by Bruegel, but likely just a good mimic) that shows busy people going about their daily work in a seaport and the surrounding farmland while seemingly unaware of young Icarus splashing down in front of them after his fiery fall. Today, as the world continues to work and play, the fires are burning in Ukraine. During the first 10 days of Russia’s invasion, 1.5 million Ukranians fled to neighboring countries. That’s the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II. Jason Pramas, one of the associate publishers at Dig Boston, has, with a Ukrainian friend, put together a list of humanitarian aid organizations for those wanting to help refugees as well as civilians staying put during the Russian invasion. He hasn’t verified each one, but advises those interested to “look them over and donate to whichever fund passes your personal smell test”: digboston.com/how-to-send-humanitarian-aid-to-ukraine

LETTERS Done with Dems

Three notes


Truth was shot by Scott Ruppel, a AChicoRushing police officer, who shot Tyler again

lready bleeding from a gunshot wound, Tyler

as he was being held up by Butte County Sheriff’s Deputy Ian Dickerson and didn’t fall down right away. Lying on the floor, Tyler was tased by yet another city employee there to serve and protect. This was in 2017, and Rushing died surrounded by cops and Tig, a dog who worked for Butte County and was brought in to bite by him. Anthony Peyton The Chico Police Porter Department has refused A former CN&R even to reveal records columnist, the author teaches creative on the Tyler Rushing writing at High Desert killing, and District State Prison. Attorney Michael L. Ramsey is fine with that, so Chico has a secret police force, good

for the cop union, bad for the rest of us. I just want an objective investigation of Rushing’s killing. Maybe the cops acted reasonably. So far, Ramsey and the cops have always investigated themselves, which makes sense only to them. Ramsey has been the District Attorney for Butte County since the 1980s, runs a tight fiefdom and fully supports bullies, sadists and cowards as long as they’re cops. Butte County citizens deserve an independent examination of the Rushing killing, including the potentially incriminating information that Ramsey and Matt Madden, Chico’s chief of police, obviously don’t want us to know about. That jig is up. We all know that if they weren’t afraid—or maybe ashamed—of the truth, they wouldn’t need secrets. By the way, why does government get to keep secrets? If government doesn’t owe us the truth, let’s change the structure of government. If government owes us the truth, who enforces those laws? What do you think will happen to the people who violate such laws? I’m guessing raises all Ω around.

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MARCH 10, 2022

*After you read it!

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

Hank and Jessie Melissa Daugherty is out on sabbatical. Enjoy this classic column from the archives. I’ll do just about anything for my son, Henry. I was reminded of that during a bike ride to Bidwell Park after a recent big storm, the one that flooded the banks of Big Chico Creek and downed that giant 80-year-old oak tree on the north side of Sycamore Pool. That day, my husband and I, with 5-year-old Henry in tow, bundled up and, like others suffering from cabin fever, set out to survey the scene. By then, the water had receded to just below the edge of the pool. Hank had brought with him Jessie from the Toy Story franchise. She’s the cute, red-headed, yodeling cowgirl doll—pull her string and she says things like, “Sweet mother of Abraham Lincoln!” and “Yodelaheehoo!” I’d purchased Jessie the previous day and Henry seemed pretty enamored with her. That’s why I was surprised when he hurled her into the raging water, right where the creek ends and the pool begins. You’ve got to be kidding me, I thought to myself as I turned to my husband and he turned to our son, whose face instantly told us that he regretted his compulsion to see if she could swim. Turns out Jessie’s a floater. Seconds after she started bobbing downstream, I dropped my bike to the ground and started sprinting. I was wearing boots that are better suited for horseback riding, and I’m completely out of shape, but somehow I caught up with her in a flash. Problem is, she’d drifted just out of arm’s reach. I had to make a splitsecond decision—was I willing to get into the frigid, swift moving water to save a doll? I was, so long as I could hang on to one of the ladder rails. So, I ran ahead of Jessie, threw my gloves to the ground and prepared to hop in at some stairs about midway down the pool. Behind me, on a bench, a young couple watched me react as Jessie floated to the center. Moments later, a glimmer of hope emerged. The rapids started pushing her back toward the edge—yet not quite within reach. I need something to grab her with, I thought. I ran up the bank to some of the branches and twigs left over from the flooding. The sturdiest one gave me an extension of an extra arm’s length. By the time I turned around, Jessie was getting close to the end of the pool. If she went over the dam, that’d be all she wrote. She’d wind up snagged out of sight or maybe even make it to the Sacramento River. A little girl, probably a year or so older than Henry, gasped when she saw the recognizable doll bobbing along. “It’s Jessie,” she lamented to her father. They froze in suspense after I sprinted past; a few others looked down from the footbridge feet away. I got ahead of the doll by about 10 feet, dropped to my belly on the cold concrete, chest over the water with arm and stick outstretched. The moment of truth …. Got her! Crisis averted. Henry didn’t get Jessie back that day. I put her in a cup holder on the ride home. After she dripped dry in the shower, I pulled her string. Her response: “Yeehaw! I’m so happy you’re my friend.”

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



What’s your issue?

No hotel

Asked in downtown Chico

Annie Fischer restaurant worker

I would say that right now I’m most concerned about the homeless issue we have in Chico, and I’m really glad that there are some steps finally happening to house a lot of folks who are needing it. I’m also just so concerned about all the mask mandates lifting, especially in the schools. My heart is going out to all the teachers and parents of kids.

Marcus Meras restaurant worker

I’m about to be 21, and I’m still struggling to figure out how to treat people, how to still take care of myself but also take care of people around me. So, I guess, people finding their balance of taking care of people around them and bettering their city as much as they can.

Marlin Ulloa student/artist

Grief. I’m personally experiencing it in the form of death, and so is the world. We’re at war. We’re all helpless because we can’t do anything, but we’re all feeling it, and all at once.

Ryan Griffith lawyer

I think local politics gets overlooked, and I think it’s important to focus on that. I know the national stuff is important, but I think people underlook local government and don’t realize how important it is.

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

As residents of California Park, we ask the city of Chico to deny the building permit for the proposed hotel in the California Park area. A hotel placed right next to an assisted-living facility is completely inappropriate. Building a large hotel with its lighted signage and 24-hour-a-day use would be a nuisance to our community and impact our quiet neighborhood. Because the lake and the walking trails belong to the California Park HOA, we pay for the maintenance and security. The hotel guests would add more people to this mix, which would increase the cost of these services, placing a financial burden on the homeowners. The roadways are over-taxed with the amount of use in this area. Multiple apartment complexes have been added along Bruce Road corridor. Together, these will impact the traffic beyond what’s reasonable. As survivors of the Camp Fire, we have significant concerns regarding evacuation should there be an emergency. We strongly ask the city to deny the special use permit for this hotel. Robert and Dyanne Fraga Chico

Release the evidence Why does it take a lawsuit to make law enforcement higher-ups follow the law? I have been reading the most alarming article in ChicoSol by investigative journalist Dave Waddell, and I am speechless. Mr. Waddell has filed suit against the city of Chico with the help of a law firm from San Francisco. The question is whether the city of Chico is in violation of the California Public Records Act in its handling of record requests related to police shootings according to attorney Aaron Field, who states that the California Supreme Court has said that “openness of government is essential to the functioning of democracy.” The need for transparency is “heightened” and “overwhelming,” he said, in cases involving the use of deadly force. My son, Tyler Rushing, was one of those victims of deadly force. Why hasn’t the city of Chico released all the evidence to my legal team or ChicoSol? Scott Rushing Ventura

Write a letter Tell us what you think in a letter to the editor. Send submissions of 200 or fewer words to cnrletters@newsreview.com. Deadline for April 7 print publication is March 23. MARCH 10, 2022




With California’s COVID-19 case rates falling and the state relaxing mandates, including most face-covering requirements, Butte County Public Health (BCPH) has announced changes to its pandemic policies and reporting. The county’s COVID-19 dashboard will now be updated only twice per week, on Mondays and Thursdays. BCPH explained in a press release that “with a greater understanding of … transmission and the effectiveness of control measures including vaccination, masking and treatment, the need for daily updates on case numbers has diminished.” Additionally, as of March 5, BCPH has rescinded all local orders for COVID-19 isolation and quarantine protocols. Those who test positive or are exposed to someone with the disease are to refer to the California Department of Public Health guidelines. Anyone who tests positive, regardless of vaccination status, is advised to isolate at home for five days. For those who are exposed to someone with COVID, quarantining is advised if not vaccinated and boosted.


Focusing on geographic boundaries, the Chico City Council has kept all 10 proposed maps—three from the city’s demographer, seven submitted by the public—in play for the next phase of the city’s redistricting process but directed its consultant to add neighborhoods to preserve as “communities of interest.” At the March 1 council meeting, city demographer Claudio Gallegos identified just one COI, California Park. Council members also called for minimizing division of the Avenues (which various proposals carve into three districts), student neighborhoods and Lindo Channel, while keeping whole Amber Grove, Barber, Chapman, Lower Bidwell Park, Meriam Park and the Pleasant Valley High area neighborhoods. Heading into the next public hearing, at the council meeting Tuesday (March 15), the city will post online maps with overlays marking communities of interest. The final public hearing is April 5, when the council will choose the new district plan ahead of the November council election.



MARCH 10, 2022

Eco group rebooted Environmental Coalition of Butte County hits refresh button after pandemic pause

M with the environment. She lives in Paradise, where she attended high school. ahalia Swyers feels a deep connection

She loves hiking, backpacking and camping to spend time in the great outdoors. As she told the by Evan Tuchinsky CN&R, “I’ve always really had a respect eva nt @ and love for the n ew srev i ew. c o m natural world.” Until recently, her appreciation didn’t turn into action— “I didn’t have that passion for sustainability.” But that changed after she

enrolled at Butte College. This past fall semester, Swyers took a course on sustainability, and when she read about developing a new sustainable infrastructure plan, “something about that chapter just clicked with me.” She’d already visited the college’s Student Life Center and learned the Associated Students’ sustainability director position was open. She returned, ran for the office and now spearheads green initiatives—notably, establishing a campus garden, organizing an Earth Day program for high school seniors and advocating for more bus service to



Below: Mahalia Swyers, sustainability director for Butte College’s Associated Students, is among the new members active on the Environmental Coalition of Butte County. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY

‘Clearinghouse’ The ECBC is an extension of the Butte Environmental Council (BEC), one of the coalition’s members. Founders included Robyn DiFalco, then BEC’s executive director, and John Merz, one of her predecessors, along with Stephen and Susan Tchudi, hosts of the KZFR radio show Ecotopia. Susan Tchudi, who currently serves as group leader at meetings, said that since its inception, ECBC “has primarily been a clearinghouse and a sharing session, not an activist group. There have been efforts in the past to kind of push it that way—‘Let’s all get together and form a campaign’—but there’s also been resistance to that— ‘Let’s just have it be about talking to one another about what’s happening in the community.’” The coalition has an email list of around Get connected

Visit becnet.org/environmental-coalition-of-butte-county for more on ECBC and its March 24 community gathering.

100 people from 40 organizations such as California Native Plant Society and Butte County Local Food Network. Not all are nonprofits (case in point: Butte College). Typical attendance ranges from 10 to 15. Restrictions on public gatherings forced ECBC from the Butte County Library; its community gathering, like the sustainability conference, went virtual last year. Until the January relaunch, the group itself hadn’t met—Zoom or otherwise—since Caitlin Dalby became BEC’s executive director 12 months earlier. BEC serves as an umbrella organization for ECBC by offering sponsorship and structural support. The relationship is symbiotic, Dalby explained, because the coalition expands the capacity to accomplish environmental work, including advocacy—“it’s more of a teamwork piece than anything.” Among participants at that first meeting, Dalby added, “There was a lot of, ‘Oh, you’re doing that?’ or ‘You’re doing that, too?’— ‘This is how we could support you’ or ‘How could this tie into your project because we could really make this more robust?’” Tchudi expressed encouragement at the sight of fresh faces.

Caitlin Dalby, executive director of the Butte Environmental Council (pictured in early 2021 with daughter Isla). CN&R FILE PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

“We have a lot of new people—a lot of young people, people who I’ve never met before—who have joined the coalition this year,” Tchudi said. “When we were talking about rebooting, we got suggestions for people who haven’t been included in the past, so we had probably five or six new people who had never been to a meeting before at our first meeting.” Including Swyers, one of the new members both Tchudis mentioned as potential future leaders of the coalition. They may need to ask soon: Swyers applied to USC, where she’d study chemistry and environmental sustainability. “I’m definitely going to be involved [with ECBC] for as long as possible,” Swyers said. “I don’t know if I’ll be able to stay actively involved from a distance, but I’m going to try my absolute best to. “Even if I am not at the Butte County coalition meetings, I’m definitely going to be involved with sustainability wherever I go.” Ω NEWSLINES C O N T I N U E D


reduce car trips to campus. “I got thrown into the world of sustainability, and all of a sudden I was talking to the [campus garden] guys at UNC-Chapel Hill and I was talking to the [Butte] Sustainability Department,” Swyers said. “I just became more consumed by it as I got more into the community.” That community transcends the college. In January, Swyers joined the Environmental Coalition of Butte County (ECBC), a group of local eco-oriented organizations that meets monthly to share information and streamline efforts. COVID idled the coalition, which formed eight years ago, but it rebooted at the start of 2022. March 24, ECBC is hosting a community gathering (5-8 p.m., Chico Women’s Club) in conjunction with Chico State’s This Way To Sustainability Conference. Swyers got involved after noticing an email in the sustainability director inbox. She’s attended all three meetings so far, with around a dozen others from local environmental groups, and is finding the coalition valuable. “We all come together and we share our ideas with each other and then we help each other,” she said. “As much as I’m on the student board at college, it’s hard when it’s so limited to the college community, and I want it to be the community of Butte County.”

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

Left: Wilflower bloom, North Table Mountain Ecological Reserve.

O N PA G E 1 0

MARCH 10, 2022



NEWSLINES The Music Connection recently relocated to a much larger building in downtown Chico, which used to be the Bidwell Chapel funeral home. PHOTO BY TREVOR CLAVERIE

Sound of community Family-owned business The Music Connection expands, settles into new digs downtown by

Ashiah Scharaga ashiahs@ newsrev iew. com



MARCH 10, 2022

Ivanscustomers with their trucks and loading up all of the tools

t was a sight to behold: dozens of

for making music—keyboards and large amplifiers, down to each drumstick and music-lesson book—to help their local shop, The Music Connection, move across town. That morning, Feb. 5, owners Bruce and Sally MacMillan, their team of employees and their volunteer crew were able to move all of the merchandise at once. “No joke, it was an hour and a half, and the entire store had been packed up and moved,” said Dan Elsen, a local drummer who’s worked at the shop for 20 years. “That shows the serious dedication and love from our patrons.” By Feb. 7, The Music Connection

was open for business at its new downtown Chico location at 341 West Third St. On a recent afternoon, mellifluous sounds—a delicate, classical piano melody followed by the rhythmic beat of a drum, then the trill of a flute—energized the space as students practiced scales and songs with the shop’s instructors. Customers picking up repaired instruments or searching for a new one to purchase were greeted by name by friendly employees— and with a wagging tail from Daisy the dog. During an interview with the CN&R, the MacMillans excitedly shared ideas they have for The Music Connection’s much larger new home. The two-story building features high ceilings and tall windows that bathe the main room in

natural sunlight. It has a “very alive acoustic sound,” Bruce said, which seems ideal for hosting recitals, and the walls and perhaps even the ceiling would look incredible painted with murals. Most notably, the building is about 50 percent larger than the store’s previous location, which the MacMillans rented in a strip mall off of East Avenue and Cohasset Road for the past 16 years. Now, they have three more teaching rooms (including two premium, larger rooms that allow for group lessons), for a total of 15, most of which are located in the building’s basement. The additional space has also allowed for another significant upgrade: more room for merchandise and shop inventory, which

will help The Music Connection combat supply shortages and an increasing demand for instruments since the pandemic began, the couple said. For the MacMillans, the move has been 10 years in the making. Most of their options for new locations over the years were offices, on the edge of town or part of another strip mall, Sally said. Then, in mid-August, they came across the former Bidwell Chapel building, a unique piece of Chico history erected in the 1920s and operated as a funeral home for decades. It felt like fate. “This building, it just seems like she’s been waiting for us,” Sally said. “We’re really happy with how beautiful it came out, and the response from our customers has been awesome.” Their last location was hidden in the corner of a shopping complex. Every week, people would call the business to find out how to get there, Elsen said. The new spot, in bustling downtown Chico, has already brought in new customers, such as students from nearby Chico State. The Music Connection also has its own parking lot across the street. “We’ve always been thankful and grateful for all of our customers in the community,” Bruce said. “I think it’ll be easier to serve them in a better location.”

Lasting impact The MacMillans have always focused on running a communityoriented business. The Music Connection was established in 1994, and that same year Sally started working there. She soon became the store manager, and eight years later, when she was 26, purchased the business. (Bruce became a co-owner in 2007, when

Make some noise

The Music Connection 341 West Third St. Hours: Mon.-Fri, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.; Sat., 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

they got married). Over the years, they continued to grow and expand to better meet the needs of the local music scene and students eager to learn (many of whom rent their instruments from the shop as well as take lessons there). They also have a store in Redding. In 2018, the MacMillans and their three daughters lost everything in the Camp Fire, and even as they were moving around and searching for their own place to recover, they launched a program at the store for fire-impacted musicians. They helped hundreds of instruments get into the hands of fire survivors, who’d come in to the shop to connect with others who were suffering. “Instruments are so personal and such an important part of your life. People gravitated to the store because those losses were so huge,” Sally said. “It was a hard but an important time.” Elsen, who also teaches the drums at The Music Connection, said the MacMillans have always fostered a supportive environment, for employees and customers alike. The shop’s

teachers are independent contractors who rent out the space for their lessons. This is significant because they have the freedom to create their own curriculum and scheduling, he said, and the MacMillans have kept rental rates affordable. “Everyone who teaches at our store is very dedicated to it because of the ethical way in which [they have] done this,” Elsen said. “I have long-term students I’ve watched grow up, and adults that say, ‘I’m going to try to learn the drums,’ and it becomes this passion they never had before. It’s been super rewarding.” The MacMillans remain humble about the store’s success—The Music Connection is a multi-year winner of Best of Chico and the longest-running music shop in town. They said that their family’s goal is to become as inseparable with Chico as Collier Hardware, Northern Star Mills and other iconic, locally-owned businesses. This move, for them, marks an important step closer to that dream. “I want to be this kind of business

in Chico where people hear that you’re going to Chico and they say, ‘Oh you have to go by this great little music store!’” Sally said. “My goal

is to always be growing, to always be doing a better job, to always be serving better—to be like one of those Chico institutions.” Ω

The Music Connection family—with owners Bruce and Sally MacMillan (holding their youngest daughter) at right. PHOTO BY ASHIAH SCHARAGA

MARCH 10, 2022



story and photos by

Ken Smith kens@ n ew sr ev i ew. com


till empty, the 177 Pallet shelter units at the Chico Emergency Non-Congregate Housing Site are perfectly square and stark white, collectively serving as a blank canvas waiting to be colored by those who will occupy and run the site. Only small touches remain to complete the infrastructure. Though the project has been widely lauded as the most ambitious effort ever to address local homelessness, questions about the site’s operation have many people wondering if the final picture will be a masterpiece, a mess or something in between.

Some homeless advocates and service providers have questioned the ability of the Jesus Center—named as the facility’s managing agency on Feb. 9—to operate the site. Also of concern are staffing, rules and whether a site that could potentially house 354 individuals will prove too large to be manageable (guests do not have to double up on occupancy but can share a shelter with another person if they choose). As of press time, those fine details remain largely unknown to the pubAmber Abney-Bass, executive director of the Jesus Center, shows off one of the 64-square foot Pallet shelters at the Chico Emergency Non-Congregate Housing Site.



MARCH 10, 2022

Shelter spotlight in the

New Pallet housing site operation sparks some early concerns

lic. According to Jesus Center Executive Director Amber Abney-Bass, the site’s opening is contingent on approval of her organization’s proposed plans and another component the city needs to complete in keeping with the Warren v. Chico lawsuit settlement that led to the site’s construction—establishing the Outreach and Engagement (O&E) team. “We’ve put together the rules, procedures and code of conduct and it’s all going through the process with the judge and all the people that need to review those and confirm their compliance with the settlement terms,” she said at the site Feb. 23. “We actually submitted them fairly quickly after we were named the site operator.” Chico City Manager Mark Orme confirmed this on Feb. 24, saying it should be a matter of days until the Jesus Center’s guidelines are approved. He explained the O&E requirement has proven a little more difficult. Unable to secure a contract with a local agency for those services, the city will be hiring hourly employees to do the job. This marks the first personnel to be added to the city’s payroll related to the Pallet site. O&E personnel will engage with and evaluate unhoused individuals who are targeted for enforcement at non-sanctioned camping areas in the city to determine if they are a good fit for the Pallet site, or the Torres Community Shelter or other available shelter options, during a seven-day period before police will be allowed to issue 72-hour eviction notices. Orme said he was interviewing candidates to fill two positions—a social service worker and an aide. The recruitment will remain open and the city may hire more O&E personnel if necessary. “It wasn’t our first choice,”

Orme said of the city directly hiring new staff, “but we had to do something to get this thing moving.” Orme said that Armed Guard Private Security will provide security at the site. Security is not a component of the lawsuit settlement, and Orme said that the service didn’t require a new service agreement, as the city already contracts with the business for security services at other locations. “Security will be 24/7 and contingent on what is needed according to the number of people that use the site,” he said. “It’s not required, but the city believes it’s an essential component at the site to ensure it’s a safe place for people to be.”

A good fit? Some homeless advocates have criticized the city for awarding the Jesus Center the Pallet site management contract. In its

Chief among his worries is how tolerant the management will be before evicting guests. “[The managers] have to accept the fact that they’re dealing with a lot of people with severe mental health issues.” —Rick Narad, Safe Space

Feb. 18 weekly update, community group Stand Up for Chico posted several concerns about the Pallet shelter site, including comments on the Jesus Center’s oversight. “They have not previously provided low-barrier shelter, and we hope they will leverage the knowledge and resources of others who have, like Safe Space Winter Shelter, as they develop policies and procedures,” the newsletter reads. Criticism of the Jesus Center’s lack of low-barrier services stem from the organization’s self-proclaimed “Christ-centered” mission and sobriety requirements to participate in programs. Rick Narad, shelter operations manager at Safe Space Winter Shelter, shared some of his concerns by phone Feb. 24. “I wish them luck,” he said. “I want it to succeed because the more people that are housed, the better we all are, as a community. I don’t think there’s anyone who doesn’t hope it will work, but there’s people that are saying, ‘OK, were seeing problems,’ and we’re hoping there’s a way for them to work around problems.”

Chief among Narad’s worries is how tolerant the management will be before evicting guests. “Excluding people is the last resort,” he said. “You have to have the attitude that throwing someone out is an extreme thing. [At Safe Space] the line is violence. People can yell and scream all they want, but if they hit someone, they can’t stay. “[The managers] have to accept the fact that they’re dealing with a lot of people with severe mental health issues. There will be people yelling and screaming, and if you’re punishing people just for that, you’re not helping the population.” Abney-Bass said her organization has a proven track record of providing the management necessary for a low-barrier shelter and has sharpened these skills in recent years. “One of the things we’ve heard from the community is that the Jesus Center lacks experience in a low-barrier service model,” she said. “I’d just say prior to COVID, when we left Park Avenue [for our new location], we had 1,383 people in our service card program that specifi-

A city vehicle on site at the non-congregate housing property, which is nearly ready to open.

cally accessed low-barrier services there. I think that speaks to the number of folks in our community who are seeking services and their awareness and comfort with a program offered and [run] by the Jesus Center.” Regarding rules, she continued: “Park Avenue was always a behavior-based model. A code of conduct we imagine out here is really just a revised version of that to incorporate shelter-related things. Some of the things we talked about was respect for others, respect for our neighbors, respect for the community that was providing some of these services, and respect for staff and volunteers. I don’t imagine where we’ll land out here will be wildly different from that. “That might make some of our community comfortable and some uncomfortable, but I think we’ve done a good job of looking at our programs and improving what needed to be improved.” Abney-Bass said that since the arrival of COVID, staff training at the Jesus Center has SHELTER C O N T I N U E D MARCH 10, 2022

O N PA G E 1 5



Ways to Volunteer: • Be a Reading Pal to a child • Be a Phone Buddy to a lonely older adult • Help provide transportation to medical appointments & the grocery store • Help deliver Senior Meals Call (530) 898-6642 to learn more. Or go online to sign up at: www.passagescenter.org



MARCH 10, 2022

Join AmeriCorps Seniors Volunteers today!

Public Works Director Eric Gustafson, Mayor Andrew Coolidge and City Manager Mark Orme at a press conference at the Pallet site on Feb. 3.


F R O M PA G E 1 3

focused on trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, deescalation and strength-based programming. She also said the organization has embraced recovery-based care rather than the idea that everything begins and ends with sobriety. Furthermore, many concerns about barriers will likely be moot since the settlement requires that the Pallet site accept guests regardless of sobriety or mental illness, and participation in any programs or services is not mandatory. Orme stands by the city’s choice: “I’ve heard criticism of everybody that was potentially going to run the site. When we do anything anything regarding homelessness, there’s going to be criticism. What we’ve seen over the years is the Jesus Center has been very adept and very professional at working with this clientele. They understand our community and have been here. They were very comprehensive in their response and stepped forward when few others did.” Orme did not give the exact dollar amount of the contract with the Jesus Center, saying there are some one-time costs involved and that it is contingent on how many people use the site. He estimated it will be roughly $1 million annually.

More people, more problems During a series of ad-hoc committee meetings with community shareholders on homeless solutions overseen by Mayor Andrew Coolidge last spring, sanctioned campgrounds and non-congregate sites emerged as favored shelter options among those involved. One point voiced by many is that such facilities must be small (numbers of 25-50 were bandied around) to remain effective and manageable. Jennielynn Holmes, the chief program officer for Santa Rosa’s Catholic Charities, oversaw operations at a successful sanctioned camping site in that city during the early days of the pandemic. She said one of the biggest lessons learned from that experience is that it worked best with around 50 guests or less; it became far more difficult to manage when it peaked with a population of 65. She also advocates for several sites spread apart geographically. “Being spread out is a matter of equity and access,” she said by phone Feb. 22. “If you have guests with jobs who need to get to work, they can stay closer to work and other needs.”

Moreover, Holmes said smaller, spread-out sites lessen the impacts of such facilities on the surrounding area. This could become an issue in Chico, where the Pallet site shares a fence with the Torres Community Shelter and the Jesus Center is located on the opposite side of the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds property from both facilities. Narad and another local service provider, Charles Withuhn of North State Shelter Team (NSST), both expressed concern at the sheer size of the Pallet site. Orme

and Abney-Bass both noted the number of structures is dictated by the lawsuit settlement, which requires at least 50 units but allows for up to 177 shelters. The settlement also says that if adequate shelter is not provided under the city’s plan, the city must identify three alternative camping sites. “At this time, that’s not warranted,” Orme said. “There are a tremendous amount of beds out there, we’ll be working with all non-profits to know about every available bed, and we’re confident we won’t need more sites.” Withuhn disagrees. He said that in recent weeks the NSST has counted 450 people staying in 38 separate multi-person campsites all over Chico. He believes more sites, and particularly sanctioned camping sites that allow people a different option, are necssary. Just how many people will utilize the new site is also a subject of much conjecture and conversation. Abney-Bass said she expects roughly 150 guests when the site opens. Based on

that, she plans to have roughly 17 staff on site, including case managers who will focus on guests’ individual needs; more will be hired if necessary. She said a large focus will be moving people into the next level of housing (transitional, independent, etc.) as they are ready, and she said the Jesus Center plans to partner with Chico Housing Action Team and others to make that happen. “We want to be abundantly staffed to accomplish our goals and so that no one is waiting on us, but also want to be efficient and respectful of public funds,” she said. Overall, Abney-Bass is hoping for the best but knows it will be a difficult road with unexpected twists. “I’m not a Pollyanna about it, and know that it will come with some growing pains,” she said. “When you do projects like this, unintended things always creep up, no matter all the planning we do, and there will still be places we have to make adjustments. It would not be wise to imagine how we open on day one will be the way were operating on day 30, or day 90, or day 120.” Ω

Double occupancy in the shelters is not required, but guests can choose to shelter with another person.

MARCH 10, 2022





Gnarly Deli

Pershing. Sign up to perform 2 songs. All ages until 10pm. Fri, 3/4, 6:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.

OPEN MIC COMEDY: Open mic comedy

Art & Museums 1078 GALLERY: Arts In Corrections Images From Behind the Wall, artwork created by currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. Curated by Greenhouse Studio. Closing reception Fri, March 25, 6-8pm. Through 3/27. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org

B-SO SPACE: BFA Culminating Exhibition, Shannon “Shay” Taylor. 3/9-13. Ayres Hall, Chico State.


El Rey Theater

CHICO ART CENTER: Creative Fusion, artwork by local junior high and high school students. Reception and award ceremony Fri, March 25, 5-7pm. Through 3/27. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com

GATEWAY SCIENCE MUSEUM: Gear Up The Science of Bikes, an exploration of how bikes work; the history/evolution of the bike; the science and technology behind the machine; and how bikes have impacted our culture. Like the bicycle itself, the exhibition has been designed to appeal to people of all ages with diverse interests. Through 5/7. 625 Esplanade. www.csuchico.edu/gateway

JACKI HEADLEY UNIVERSITY ART GALLERY: Chang An Tu, MFA Culminating Exhibition featuring work by the Chico State art student. Reception Wed, April 6, 5pm. Through 4/9. Chico State, ARTS 121.

JANET TURNER PRINT MUSEUM: The Fierce Urgency of Now, a juried exhibition of socially engaged printmaking. Shows through April 9. Chico State, Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/turner

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: Running Threads, a contemporary quilt exhibit featuring works by Northern California artists, showing through 4/10. 900 Esplanade. monca.org

VALENE L. SMITH MUSEUM OF ANTHROPOLOGY: Tu Voz Importa – Your Voice Matters, a photo-voice project designed to amplify the unique voices of youth and women by harnessing their abilities to tell their own stories through guided photography and storytelling workshops. Featuring works by 13 North State photographers. Through 5/6. Chico State, Meriam Library. www.csuchico.edu/anthmuseum

Weekly open mics COMEDY THURSDAY: Weekly comedy show and open mic hosted by Dillon Collins. Thursdays, 8pm. Free. Bella’s Sports Pub, 231 Main St. 530-520-0119.




MARCH 10, 2022

night hosted by Dillon Collins. Sign ups 8pm. Wed, 3/9, 9pm. Free. The Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. 530-520-0119.

SECRET TRAIL OPEN MIC: Weekly open mic at the brewery. Wednesdays, 6pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

THU10 BECKY SHAW: When a fun evening takes a dark turn, crisis and comedy ensue in this wickedly funny play that asks what we owe the people we love and the strangers who land on our doorstep. Shows through March 13. Thu, 3/10, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: Two private country clubs battle it out for the annual golf championship in this fast-paced comedy filled with behind-the-back antics and over-the-top romantic shenanigans. Shows through March 20. Thu, 3/10, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

NOBUNTU: Chico Performances presents the a cappella female quintet from Zimbabwe, with pure voices augmented by minimalistic percussion, traditional instruments such as the Mbira (thumb piano), and dance movements. Thu, 3/10, 7:30pm. $24-$42. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333. chicoperfor mances.com

ROMEO AND JULIET: Chico State production of Shakespeare’s beloved tragedy. Shows through March 11. Thu, 3/10, 7:30pm. $8-$20. Wismer Theatre, Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/muta

FRI11 BECKY SHAW: See March 10. Fri, 3/11, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

COMEDY IS GAY: An LGBT comedy showcase starring Emma Haney, with Graciella Hamilton, Dane Nichols, Ryan Littlefield and Cassidy O’Brien. Hosted by Becky Lynn. Fri, 3/11, 9pm. $20. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

DRIVER: Local cover band. Fri, 3/11, 8pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Fri, 3/11, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater

Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

HEIRLOOM: Local cover band. Fri, 3/11, 9pm. $10. Om on the Range, 301 Main St. facebook.com/omontherangechico

JONNY YARBROUGH: Redding singer/songwriter on the patio for happy hour. Fri, 3/11, 5pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

KYLE WILLIAMS: Local singer/songwriter. Fri, 3/11, 5pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

RICK ESTRIN AND THE NIGHTCATS: Chico Concerts brings Bay Area harp man Rick Estrin and his smokin’ blues crew back to town. Fri, 3/11, 6:30pm. $23. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. eventbrite.com. (Search “Chico Concerts” on Facebook.)

ROMEO AND JULIET: See Thu, 3/10. Fri, 3/11, 7:30pm. $8-$20. Wismer Theatre, Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/muta

THE LITTLE MERMAID: A stage version of the Disney animated film based on Hans Christian Andersen’s classic story, with familiar/irresistible songs, including “Under the Sea,” “Kiss the Girl” and “Part of Your World.” Shows through March 27. Fri, 3/11, 7:30pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

SAT12 AMAHJRA: Nor-Cal rock band. Sat, 3/12, 9pm. $12 - $15. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

BECKY SHAW: See March 10. Sat, 3/12, 7:30pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

CARNAVAL: Santana tribute band. Sat, 3/12, 10:30pm. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfalls casino.com

DJ UYES: Dance night with the local DJ. Sat, 3/12, 9:30pm. $3. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.

THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Sat, 3/12, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

IDEA FAB LABS GRAND RE-OPENING: The maker space is back. Take a tour of the space, see demos of the fun tools and toys. Sat, 3/12, 1-4pm. Idea Fabrication Labs, 603 Orange St. ideafablabs.com

THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Sat, 3/12, 7:30pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

MINIS FOR A CAUSE – SHOW & SHINE CAR SHOW: A car show fundraiser to benefit local youth impacted by wildfires. The event will include food trucks, a DJ, silent auction and family fun. Sat, 3/12, 11am. Chico Marketplace, 1950 E. 20th St. shopchicomarketplace.com

KNUF: Local jam band. Sat, 3/12, 9pm. $10. Om on the Range, 301 Main St. facebook. com/omontherangechico

TANNER RICHARDSON: Local singer/ songwriter serenades the brunch crowd. Sat, 3/12, 11am. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

THE SUN FOLLOWERS: Local singer/songwriter duo. Sat, 3/12, 5pm. Free. The Barn at Meriam Park, 1930 Market Place. meriampark.com

SUN13 BECKY SHAW: See March 10. Sun, 3/13, 2pm. $18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Sun, 3/13, 2pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Sun, 3/12, 2pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

SOUL POSSE: Rock and R&B covers for singing along. Sun, 3/13, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

THU17 ANDRE THIERRY: Bay Area accordionist brings soulful Zydeco to the patio for St.


Submit events for the online calendar as well as the monthly print edition at chico.newsreview.com/calendar

Patrick’s Day. Thu, 3/17, 6pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Thu, 3/17, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

MUSIC BINGO: It’s exactly what it sounds like: bingo with music. Thu, 3/17, 7pm. The Commons Social Empourium, 2412 Park Ave. thecommonschico.com

SHAMROCK FEST: The DownLo’s annual St. Pat’s party returns with DJs stacked up all day long. Plus, Irish food and drink specials. First 10 people get a free t-shirt. $3. The DownLo, 319 Main St.

STEVE BYRNE: Pittsburgh comedian known for his appearances on the Tonight Show, Jimmy Kimmel Live and The Howard Stern Show. Thu, 3/17, 6:30pm. $15-$25. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com

FRI18 THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Fri, 3/18, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Fri, 3/18, 7:30pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

MULBERRY STATION GRAND OPENING PARTY: The local brewery/pizza place is finally getting a chance to celebrate with a grand opening two years later. With beer trivia, live music, raffles, blind beer tasting, tours and more. Fri, 3/18, 11am. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St., Ste. 100.

TYLER DEVOLL: Local singer/songwriter entertains the happy hour crowd. Fri, 3/18, 5pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com



THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Sat, 3/19, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166

BLACK VIOLIN: Chico Performances presents the

Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

LEANNE COOLEY & ERIC PETER: Local duo entertains the brunch crowd. Sat, 3/19, 11am. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Sat, 3/19, 7:30pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

ROCK HOUNDS: Classic rock covers. Sat, 3/19, 8pm. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. ZZ TUSH: ZZ Top tribute band. Sat, 3/19, 10pm. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfallscasino.com

SUN20 THE FOX ON THE FAIRWAY: See March 10. Sun, 3/20, 7:30pm. $18-$20. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Sun, 3/20, 2pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

MELISSA ETHERIDGE – ONE WAY OUT TOUR: Chico Performances presents the rock music icon. The Grammy- and Oscar-award winner has also appeared on Broadway as St. Jimmy in Green Day’s rock opera, American Idiot. Sun, 3/20, 7:30pm. $60-$86. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333. chicoperformances.com

THUNDER LUMP: Local beatboxing, throat singing multi-instrumentalist. Sun, 3/20, 3pm. Secret

FRI25 BANFF CENTRE MOUNTAIN FILM FESTIVAL: Documentaries range from explorations of remote landscapes to adrenaline-fueled action sports. Hosted by AS Adventure Outings and Chico Performances. Fri, 3/25, 7:30pm. $10-$20. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333. chicoperformances.com

CAMERON FORD: Local singer/songwriter on the patio for happy hour. Fri, 3/25, 5pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

HEIRLOOM: Local cover band. Fri, 3/25, 8pm. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Fri, 3/25, 7:30pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

SAT26 DRIVER: Local classic rock cover band. Sat, 3/26, 8pm. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Sat, 3/26, 7:30pm. $18-$35. Presented by California

Trail Brewing Co., 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com

WILLY TEA TYLER: Oakdale-based folk singer

MARAUDA: The Sydney, Australia-based dub-step

joins Chico singer/songwriter Pat Hull on the patio. Sun, 3/20, 8pm. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St. facebook.com/argusbar



violin duo of Wil Baptiste and Kev Marcus who combine their classical training and hip-hop influences to create a distinctive multi-genre sound described as “classical boom.” Tue, 3/22, 7:30pm. $35-$49. Laxson, Chico State. 530-898-6333. chicoperformances.com

and electronica producer is on tour with support from Papa Khan. Sat, 3/26, 8pm. $20$30. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com

REECE THOMPSON: Local singer/songwriter entertains the brunch crowd. Sat, 3/26, 11am. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

As omicron fades, local stages are filling with plays. Four productions are on the boards in Butte County in March: The comedies Becky Shaw and Fox on the Fairway continue at Theatre on the Ridge (through March 13) and Chico Theater Company (through March 20), respectively. California Regional Theatre has the family-friendly kids musical The Little Mermaid at CUSD Center for the Arts March 11-27, and Chico State returns to in-person performances with its rendition of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet, continuing in Wismer Theatre through March 11.

SLAUGHTERHOUSE ROAD: Nor-Cal country music. Sat, 3/26, 9pm. Feather Falls Casino & Lodge, 3 Alverda Drive, Oroville. featherfalls casino.com

VIKING SKATE COUNTRY & TITE NAUTS: Chico noisy quartet VSC returns to the stage for after two years in COVID limbo to rock with buds Tite Nauts. Sat, 3/26, 9pm. $7. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

SUN27 KENNY AND THE STUMPJUMPERS & ROB AND THE COVERALLS: Two local crews. Sun, 3/27, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

THE LITTLE MERMAID: See March 11. Fri, 3/27, 2pm. $18-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. crtshows.com



Chico Women’s Club

CHARMING DISASTER: “Gothic folk murder balladry” from Brooklyn. Chico rockers Empty Gate open. Tue, 3/29, 9pm. $7. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

C-KAN: Mexican rapper from Guadalajara on tour. Tue, 3/29, 8pm. $25. Senator Theatre, 517 Main St. jmaxproductions.net

THU31 AJ LEE & BLUE SUMMIT: Chico Concerts presents the award-winning Bay Area bluegrass crew. Thu, 3/31, 6:30pm. $15. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. eventbrite.com

DANTE ELEPHANTE: Santa Barbara crew with a soulful disco groove joins local chill rockers Solar Estates for a patio party. Thu, 3/31, 8pm. Argus Bar + Patio, 212 W. Second St. facebook.com/argusbar

THUMPIN’ THURSDAY ROCK N BLUES JAM: The LocoMotive Band hosts blues/rock jams the last Thurs. of the month. Drums, PA, amps provided. Thu, 3/31, 7pm. Free. The Tackle Box, Chico, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

APRIL FRI1 GODSPELL: The classic musical that debuted in 1971 and features songs based on The Bible’s Gospel of Matthew. Shows through April 16. Fri, 4/1, 7:30pm. $31.50-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at First St. Theatre, 139 W. First St. crtshows.com

REMIX: Nor-Cal cover band. Fri, 4/1, 9pm. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

TYLER DEVOLL: Local singer/songwriter entertains the happy hour crowd. Fri, 4/1, 5pm. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

SAT2 GODSPELL: See April 1. Sat, 4/2, 7:30pm. $31.50-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at

First St. Theatre, 139 W. First St. 4crtshows.com

OVERTIME: Country/rock/hip-hop artist along with his band, Blue Collar Soldiers. Sat, 4/2, 7pm. $20. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. holdmyticket.com

RADIO RELAPSE: 1990s alt-rock covers. Sat, 4/2, 8pm. Jen’s Place, 7126 Skyway, Paradise. THE SUN FOLLOWERS: Local singer/songwriter duo entertains the brunch crowd. Sat, 4/2, 11am. La Salles, 229 Broadway St. lasalleschico.com

SURROGATE, LO & BEHOLD, PAT HULL: An eclectic all-local bill featuring tuneful indie-rockers Surrogate, soulful dance crew Lo & Behold and singer/songwriter Pat Hull. Sat, 4/2, 6pm. $15 - $20. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com

SUN3 GODSPELL: See April 1. Sun, 4/3, 2pm. $31.50-$35. Presented by California Regional Theatre at First St. Theatre, 139 W. First St. crtshows.com

PARSONS DANCE: Chico Performances presents the modern/contemporary dance company known for its athletic and joyous approach. Sun, 4/3, 7:30pm. $34-$49. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333. chicoperformances.com

REECE THOMPSON: Local singer. Sun, 4/3, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

TUE5 BRAINSTORY & SCOUT: A Rialto trio on Big Crown Records with a So-Cal vibe and a sweet blend of R&B, jazz and psych soul. Chico’s Scout opens. Tue, 4/5, 8:30pm. $10-$15. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. eventbrite.com

MARCH 10, 2022





MARCH 10, 2022

REEL WORLD Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn

New world cinema A rich playlist of films from across the globe

N When ledger for the past month: the home-made sex video of otes from my “stream-and-dream”

a schoolteacher (Katia Parscariu) gets exposed on the Internet, tabloid scandal and culby Juan-Carlos tural controversy erupt. Selznick The scandal-mongering spills over into parentteacher relations and soon her professional standing is in peril. In Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn, writer-director Radu Jude (Romania) tells the tale via three contrasting parts: a socially realist account of the teacher’s daily life just as the scandal begins to break; an illustrated “dictionary” of words and phrases pertaining to the film and its issues; and an open meeting of

the teacher and school officials with a wildly diverse group of concerned parents and family members. The climax of this serious-minded comedy satire comes via a provocative trio of provisional “endings.” A thematic undercurrent has to do with the apparent “Americanization” of urban life in Romania. That and the pandemic-era setting combine with the cultural controversies to give Jude’s sardonic comedy a rousingly caustic contemporaneity. At least three other recent films with lengthy titles are also worthy of special mention: Wheel of Fortune and Fantasy (directed by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, Japan) tells three surprising and exqui-

addressing the camera directly, etc.). Also in the queue, a Steven Soderbergh double bill: Kimi is a brisk, flashy and suspenseful high tech thriller in which an isolated tech worker (Zoë Kravitz) finds herself in great peril after discovering evidence of a violent crime in a data stream she’s monitoring; and No Sudden Move is an extravagantly convoluted crime story with Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, and a large and handsome supporting cast (Jon Hamm, Brendan Fraser, Kieran Culkin, Ray Liotta, Bill Duke and, briefly, Matt Damon) caught up in the extended fallout of multiple double crosses. Two contrasting genre films, both with scathingly sardonic tales to tell. Last, The Tragedy of Macbeth (directed by Joel Coen) is a compact and starkly stylized rendering of Shakespeare released on Apple TV+, with Denzel Washington and Frances McDormand in the lead roles, and superb blackand-white cinematography and expressionist visual design that generates maximal impact with an apparent minimum of means. MacDormand has some terrific moments and Kathryn Hunter’s portrayal of multiple witches is a masterpiece in its own right. Like David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021; adapted from an even older English classic), Coen’s Macbeth has a primal aura that feels both ancient and richly contemporary. Ω sitely nuanced stories of relations between pairs of women. The segment titles— “Magic (or Something Less Assuring),” “Door Wide Open,” and “Once Again”— hint at the mysteries within each of them. A gentle, soulful attentiveness shines in all three. In Preparations to Be Together for an Unknown Period of Time (directed by Lili Horvát, Hungary), a doctor (Natasa Stork) is aggrieved and mystified when a lover (also a doctor) she’s met only once fails to show up for a romantic meeting a year later and then claims not to know her when she tracks him down. A fascinating psychological mystery tale ensues, with Stork and several supporting players delivering quietly complex performances. How I Fell in Love With a Gangster (directed by Maciej Kawulski, Poland) is a seriocomic epic, a rambunctiously stylish account of the life of Polish gangster “Nikos” Skotarczak (Tomasz Wlosok). It’s long (3-plus hours) and bulky, but kept very much alive by Wlosok’s cheerfully roguish performance and Kawulski’s playfully exuberant style (narration by a “mystery woman,” comical pacing, characters MARCH 10, 2022



MUSIC Melissa Etheridge says she feels differently when playing the songs on her latest album, No Way Out, than when she wrote them three decades ago. PHOTO BY ELIZABETH MIRANDA

On a throwback track

this be the old and the new? It will still be the same kind of thing. The formula that really works, I find, in concert is you’re going to hear all the hits—I’m fortunate enough to have six, seven hits, so that’s great, you’re gonna hear those; you’re gonna hear some deep tracks—I pick an older album and a newer album, and I do like three tracks off each and spotlight them; and then I do a couple from the new album. It’s just a great night of music.

Melissa Etheridge returns to her roots— on the road

How has it been to be back on tour after basically touring virtually—being in your home and not able to have that direct interface? I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever take for granted playing live. There’s nothing like it, and I never want to not be doing it. I just am so grateful. I never thought that I wouldn’t be able to do it! Everyone will always need music! Man, it was really hard. I really love playing live, and I’m so happy to be back doing it.

Ban Oscar-winning a Grammy-winning rock star, songwriter (for

efore Melissa Etheridge became

An Inconvenient Truth) and an icon among both cancer survivors and the LGBTQ community, she was a teen with a dream in rural America. She left Leavenworth, Kan., to attend Berklee by College of Music Evan Tuchinsky but soon set out evant@ for L.A., where newsrev iew.c om she found herself as a person and Preview: an artist. She Chico Performances released her selfpresents Melissa titled debut in Etheridge Sunday, March 20, 7:30 p.m.. 1988, won her Tickets: $60-$86 first Grammy VIP meet-and-greet in 1992, then packages: $279-$379 hit the arena/ Laxson Auditorium amphitheater tier Chico State of touring in sup(530) 898-6333 port of her 1993 chicoperformances.com multiplatinum album, Yes I Am, which yielded Etheridge her second Grammy. That seminal era has gotten a revival via her latest release. No Way Out consists of nine songs she wrote during that early stage of her career and recorded with her original band—two live in 2002, the others ahead of sessions for the 2016 covers collection Memphis Rock and Soul. She toured for the record last fall and resumes this month, with the fifth show in Chico on March 20. She’s heading out with her band from the past few years: Max Hart on keyboards and guitar, 20


MARCH 10, 2022

Eric Gardner on drums and David Santos on bass. A few hours before a Friday Night with Melissa livestream performance to kick off the tour, Etheridge spoke with the CN&R by phone about the album, returning to the road after being COVIDrestricted to virtual gigs, and what to expect at Laxson Auditorium, where she played in 2015. On No Way Out, you are returning to some of your roots. Would you talk about the origins of the album you’re bringing to the road? Yeah, that’s exactly what this album is. I was looking through my older material—I was going to do a

box set, if you remember box sets— and by the time I gathered everything, I had changed my management, [and] they were like, “You’re not going to make any money on a box set,” so I went, “Well, OK, let’s not do that.” In the meantime, I had all these old songs that I dug up, and I was like, “These are really great songs,” so I went in and recorded them and kind of put it on the shelf. During COVID, [record label] BMG came and said, “Do you have anything?”—because everyone was dying to put stuff out, they had nothing—and I said, “Yeah, I have these old recordings,” and they loved it. Man, I went out on tour the last

part of last year and, oh, they’re so much fun to play, these songs, because they’re from the old era, from ’89 to ’93; they just have that old fire and that old-school stuff, so they fit right in. Yet they have that circa-2016 Memphis Rock and Soul sound. Is that a product of the music you were recording at the time? Yes. I was doing more guitar; I was looking back and getting those rock feels, playing all the lead [parts]. So, yes, it’s kind of a combination of the old and the new, absolutely. Is that how you’re looking at this tour? You talked about playing the album; will

Has that pent-up time caused a different reaction from fans? Well, when we did the meetand-greets, we’re doing them 6-feet socially distanced. I’m usually a hugger; I’ll hug everybody—that was hard. But I think people didn’t realize the importance of music, sharing music with people, people coming together and listening to music and celebrating music—we need to do that. I felt that. There’s a real appreciation for live music now. What would you like people to take away from the show? I hope people leave the concert feeling better, feeling uplifted. I hope it’s a little bit of, “Hey, remember that?” and, “Hey, now is cool.” Let the world go away, it’s a safe place for everyone; just come to share some music and fun. My job is to entertain, to lift up, so that is my hope. You’re getting to do that for yourself after the hiatus. Oh, yeah. That’s a given. That’s my life’s blood, to get out there and play. Ω

MARCH 10, 2022



The next CN&R print edition will be on the street May 6


To Advertise Contact: Ray Laager 530-520-4742 rlaager@newsreview.com

Or For More Information: cnradinfo@newsreview.com 530-894-2300

Open Daily Noon - 9pm We appreciate the support of our community! ! t i s s i m t Don’

Enjoy our scrumptious food menu as you experience an ever changing collection of artisan beers. Come check out our new expansion! 2070 E 20th STE 160 Chico, CA 95928 PHONE: 530-894-BEER (2337)


The CN&R is celebrating with a special print edition, out April 7

Local Arts & Music To Advertise Contact: Ray Laager 530-520-4742 rlaager@newsreview.com Or For More Information: cnradinfo@newsreview.com 530-894-2300


MARCH 10, 2022

PRESS PLAY … NOW? Dude, Arts DEVO’s band has a show! It has been more than two years since Viking Skate Country has played out. I am so stoked to be rehearsing. And I finally get to make a freakin’ flyer again! What time do we have to load-in? The show starts at 9pm? Oh damn, wait … there’s going to be people there? In the same room? In a public place? Dude, is anyone else feeling anxious about all this? The masks are coming off in California. COVID-19 vaccination rates have risen, case rates have dropped and, just like that, for better or worse, most folks are attempting to go back to normal. Putting aside for a moment my lingering public-health concerns over a disease that remains with us, my current anxiety comes from the realization that, in a couple of weeks I will be around many others— socializing, reacquainting, singing(!)—with an uncovered face. I mean, who the hell is the guy under my mask? Everything that filled my life pre-pandemic—playing live music; attending arts/music events; throwing parties; barbecuing with friends; working in an office filled with co-workers—has been on pause. I’ve worked from home, socialized in just a handful of bubbles and steered clear of My mask! nearly all public gatherings. I’ve even avoided using this column to encourage attending local events in person, urging caution as often as appreciation, as the pandemic persisted. How do I just unpause and jump back into it all? Last week, Mrs. DEVO shared that many of the students at the elementary school where she teaches have been hiding behind their masks; hiding from participating in class and from interacting with their peers. I don’t want to equate my individual issues during COVID with the social/developmental impact of the pandemic on an entire generation of schoolchildren, but damn if that notion of “hiding” doesn’t hit home. My life has been hidden from most folks—both the triumphs (reunions with old friends, home improvements, the new dog Rosie) and the tragedies (losing my dad in December, my grandpa and my dog Honey both around the holidays the previous year and my cousin Jacob in the spring of 2020)—and everything feels insufficiently processed as a result. With the state’s mandate on face coverings in schools expiring this week, Mrs. DEVO is wondering how teachers will go about reintegrating kids into normalcy once their faces are out in the open again, and I’m wondering the same about myself and this arts community I’ve been so intimately involved with for decades, now that we’re coming out to play. Personally, I know I’ll be partly leaning on that kind and empathetic kindergarten teacher with whom I’ve sheltered. I’ll also just try to lean into the weirdness. I’m sure there are plenty of others with pent-up, well, everything. “Weird” will just be the new baseline as we drink a little too much and overshare our guts with anyone we recognize. The one certainty is that the live-music therapy will do wonders for my overall mental health. So, if you see my naked mug in the wild, all pale and sweaty, I am not sick. That’s just my rock face in all its contorted ecstatic glory.

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April is Arts, Culture & Creativity Month in California, and the CN&R is celebrating with a special Local Arts & Music print edition, out April 7



by JASON CASSIDY • jasonc@newsreview.com


• Back to the lab again: What’s this? Idea Fabrication Labs is coming back online! After two years of COVID-induced hibernation, the makers of fun and art are hosting a Grand Re-opening March 12, at 1-4 p.m.

• Images from behind the wall: The new exhibit at the 1078 Gallery is a group show curated by Greenhouse Studio titled Arts in Corrections, featuring “artwork created by currently and formerly incarcerated individuals.” Shows through March 27; reception March 25, 6-8 p.m. “Untitled” (detail), by Rene Richard, at 1078 Gallery

D AT E , 2 0 2 2



FREE WILL ASTROLOGY FoR tHe week oF MARCH 10, 2022 ARIES (March 21-April 19): Aries author

Isak Dinesen defined “true piety” as “loving one’s destiny unconditionally.” That’s a worthy goal for you to aspire to in the coming weeks. I hope you will summon your deepest reserves of ingenuity and imagination as you cultivate a state of mind in which you adore your life just as it is. You won’t compare it negatively to anyone else’s fate, and you won’t wish it were different from what it actually is. Instead, you will be pleased and at peace with the truth of exactly who you are right now.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): As author

Mary Ruefle points out, “In the beginning, William Shakespeare was a baby and knew absolutely nothing. He couldn’t even speak.” And yet eventually, he became a literary superstar—among history’s greatest authors. What happened in between? I’m not exaggerating when I attribute part of the transformation to magic. Vast amounts of hard work and help and luck were involved, too. But to change from a wordless, uncoordinated sprout to a potent, influential maestro, Taurus-born Shakespeare had to be the beneficiary of mysterious powers. I bring this up, Taurus, because I think you will have access to comparable mojo during the next four weeks.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): As talented

and financially successful as Kanye West is, the Gemini singer-songwriter experiences a lot of emotional suffering. But no one lives an ideal life, right? And we can learn from everyone. In any case, I’ve chosen quotes by Kanye that are in rapt alignment with your astrological omens. Here they are: 1. “I’m in pursuit of awesomeness; excellence is the bare minimum.” 2. “You’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes.” 3. “I’m not comfortable with comfort. I’m only comfortable when I’m in a place where I’m constantly learning and growing.” 4. “Everything I’m not makes me everything I am.”

CANCER (June 21-July 22): “Any real

ecstasy is a sign you are moving in the right direction,” wrote philosopher Saint Teresa of Avila, who was renowned for her euphoric spiritual experiences. So is there any such thing as “fake ecstasy,” as she implies? Maybe fake ecstasy would be perverse bliss at the misfortune of an enemy, or the trivial joy that comes from realizing your house keys aren’t missing. Real ecstasy, on the other hand, might arise from a visceral sense of the presence of God, or the rapture that emerges as you make love with a person you care for, or the elation you feel when you commune with your favorite animal. Anyway, Cancerian, I predict that in the coming days, you will have an extra rich potential for the real kinds of rhapsodic delight and enchantment.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Leo actor Jen-

nifer Lawrence portrayed a rugged, fierce, resourceful champion in The Hunger Games film trilogy. In real life, however, she has few resemblances to that stalwart hero. “I have the street smarts and survival skills of a poodle,” she has confessed. But I’ve got potentially good news for her and all the rest of you Leos. The coming months will be a favorable time for you to cultivate the qualities of a rugged, fierce, resourceful champion. And right now would be an excellent time to launch your efforts.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Each of us

periodically has to deal with conflict. There come times when we must face the fact that a specific situation in our lives isn’t working well and needs to be adjusted, fixed or transformed. We might prefer to pretend the problem doesn’t exist. We may be inclined to endure the stressful discomfort rather than engage with its causes. But such an approach won’t be right for you in the coming days, dear Virgo. For the sake of your mental and spiritual health, you have a sacred duty to bravely risk a struggle to improve things. I’ll provide you with advice from novelist John Fowles. He said, “I must fight with my weap-


by Rob bRezsny ons. Not his. Not selfishness and brutality and shame and resentment.” Fowles goes on to say that he will offer generosity and gentleness and no-shame and forgiveness.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): A blogger named

MysteryOfWhat expressed appreciation for her errors and wrong turns. “I love all my mistakes!” she exclaimed. “I had fun!” She has a theory that she would not have been able to completely fulfill her interesting destiny without her blunders and her brilliant adjustments to those blunders. I won’t encourage you to be quite so boisterously unconditional in celebrating your fumbles and miscues, Libra. My inclination is to urge you to honor them and feel grateful for them, but I’m not sure I should advise you to shout out, “I love all my mistakes! I had fun!” But what do you think?

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SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): Scorpio poet

Norman MacCaig wrote, “Ask me, go on, ask me to do something impossible, something freakishly useless, something unimaginable and inimitable like making a finger break into blossom or walking for half an hour in 20 minutes or remembering tomorrow.” I hope people say things like that to you soon, Scorpio. I hope allies playfully nudge you to stretch your limits, expand your consciousness, and experiment on the frontier. To encourage such a development, you could do the same for your beloved allies: nudge them to stretch their limits, expand their consciousness, and experiment on the frontier.

Do you have a complex story that needs to be told?

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21):

“Look at your body not as a source of physical attraction but as a shrine,” wrote teacher Sobonfu Somé. Personally, I have no problem if you regard your body as a source of physical attraction—as a gorgeous, radiant expression of your life energy, worthy of inspiring the appreciation of others. But I agree with Somé that you should also treat your body as a sacred sanctuary deserving of your reverence—especially now. Please boost your intention to provide your beloved organism with all the tender care it needs and warrants.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “It’s

surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time,” writes author Barbara Kingsolver. Yes! I agree. And by providing you with this heads-up from her, I’m hoping that the subtly potent events unfolding for you in the coming weeks will not go unnoticed. I’m hoping you will be alert for seemingly small but in fact crucial developments—and thereby give them all the focus and intelligence they deserve. Later, you’ll remember this delicately pivotal time with amazed gratitude.

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AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): What’s

more important: to learn or to unlearn? The answer, of course, is they are equally important. But sometimes, the most crucial preparation for a new learning phase is to initiate a surge of unlearning. That’s what I’m recommending for you right now. I foresee you embarking on a series of extravagant educational experiences in a couple of weeks. And the best way to ensure you take maximum advantage of the available lessons is by dumping useless knowledge and irrelevant information and numbing habits.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): Singer-song-

writer Jill Scott has earned one platinum and two gold records. She approaches her craft with diligence and intensity. On one occasion, she was frying a burger at her boyfriend’s house when she sensed a new song forming in her imagination. Abandoning the stove, she ran into the next room to grab pen and paper. Soon she had transcribed the beginning of a melody and lyrics. In the meantime, though, the kitchen caught on fire. Luckily, she doused it. Later Jill testified, “His cabinets were charred, and he was furious. But it was worth it for a song.” I don’t think you’ll have to make as big a sacrifice as hers in the coming days, Pisces. But you should respond robustly whenever inspiration arrives.

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.

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