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2 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 3 CN&R INSIDE Vol. 46, Issue 7 • January 5–February 1, 2023 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 Contributors Alastair Bland, Howard Hardee, Ken Pordes, 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 Wolfgang Straub Distribution Staff Beatriz Aguirre, Dennis Bruch Jr., Michael Gardner, Jackson Indar, Josh Indar, Linda Quinn, Bill Unger, Richard Utter, Jim Williams Mailing Address P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927 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 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 Western Web on recycled newsprint. CN&R is a member of Chico Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Chico Business Association, AAN and AWN. OPINION 4 Editorial 4 Editor’s Note 4 Letters 4 Guest Comment 5 This Modern World 5 Second & Flume 6 Streetalk 7 NEWSLINES 8 Downstroke 8 New community center in South Chico 8 FEATURES 12 Chico’s international mercy mission 12 Whom to watch in 2023 14 ARTS & CULTURE 20 January events 20 Scene 23 Reel World 24 Arts DEVO 26 Brezsny’s Astrology 27 ON THE COVER: PHOTO COURTESY OF PROJECT S.A.V.E. DESIGN BY TINA FLYNN 23 MORE ONLINE Find content available only at chico.newsreview.com 14 Bruce Jenkins Insurance & Financial Services CA License #0B86680 •Medicare Supplement Plans •Medicare Advantage Plans •Social Security Maximization •Retirement Income Planning •Life Insurance 530-781-3592 We will do the research for you! www.brucejenkinsinsurance.com HEEL & SOLE SHOES | 708 MANGROVE AVENUE | 530.899.0725 $10 OFF A *Excludes UGGs. Expires 1/31/23 HEEL & SOLE SHOES New Beginnings for 2023!


Canary in the Wildcats’ den

When Gayle Hutchinson became Chico State president in March 2016, optimism reigned. She made history as the university’s first woman president and the first openly gay president in the CSU system. More than that, she brought to Chico the promise of a fresh start after faculty issued a vote of no confidence in her predecessor, Paul Zingg. Hutchinson took a 100-day “listening tour” to reconnect with the campus, where she’d worked 23 years, after three years as provost at CSU Channel Islands.

This is not how her presidency will be remembered. When she retires June 30— or sooner, if pressed—her legacy will carry the stain of a scandal worse than the mismanagement claims that opened the job in the first place.

Ahead of winter break, a California education publication, EdSource, broke the news that biology professor David Stachura allegedly threatened to shoot colleagues who’d exposed his affair with a student. University administrators knew of the affair and threats, yet not only gave him tenure but also honored him as


Campground needed

We have about 54 openings between the Pallet, Jesus and Torres shelters. We have about 175 people in homeless camps. Do we really want to do more for the homeless? Only if you want to save money! One Chico fire or police call or use of the Enloe ER could pay for a month of the cost of a managed campground—that the participants help pay for!

If you believe in “liberty and justice for all,” the first justice is the right to life. And the first survival requirement is shelter. If you can’t

Outstanding Professor that academic year, 2020-21. Chico State responded by suspending Stachura and rescinding his award—but only after the media coverage. Provost Debra Larson resigned. Hutchinson remained, diminished, as faculty put off a no-confidence vote to call for the CSU Board of Trustees to investigate.

Larson headed home to the Midwest, most certainly into retirement. Earlier in the year, she interviewed for president openings at North Dakota State and Northern Michigan. Now, her resume has lost luster. She and Hutchinson are tied to Stachura, defined by decisions that put the campus at risk. Meanwhile, Chico State is back to where it started, if not worse, before Hutchinson. It’s a university in a leadership crisis. Faculty and students distrust the administration. Strachura isn’t an isolated example, just the most extreme instance. Other grievances are surfacing on social media.

Hutchinson’s successor faces an uphill battle. We hope the next president does more than listen, but actually hears what the campus community needs. Ω

find shelter on a winter’s night, and you get wet when the temperature is below 40 degrees, in three hours you can be looking at fatal hypothermia.

The most efficient deployment of shelter is a low-barrier campground, with all the amenities. Chico has over 700 acres for “intermittent cattle grazing.” Granting a temporary, conditional, administrative use permit for five acres for the survival of our poorer neighbors is better than stepping over dead people on the streets of Chico like we did last winter. To not do so costs us more money for emergency services and is a violation

of our spiritual ethics. Only in the shelter of all may we know the full creative potential of our community.

Goodbye, Guillermo

It is with a heavy heart that we send our condolences to the family and friends of storyteller, writer, homeless advocate and KZFR programmer Bill “Guillermo” Mash. His

Letter to an editor

Dear Evan,

By the time this paper hits the street, you will be at your new job. (Of course, you will have already edited this copy along with the rest of the issue, but just play along.) I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you won’t be at the Chico News & Review anymore, and the fact that you will be working at the Chico Enterprise-Record!

I would be mad at E-R Editor Mike Wolcott for making you his new Weekend Editor, but the CN&R has stolen its share of the daily’s employees, so I guess fair is fair.

Mike, you’re getting the hardest working reporter in town, a bulldog who will own whatever beat you hand him (and will just as doggedly update you every step of the way as stories unfold—hint: set phone to vibrate only).

Jokes aside, I am going to miss having you around, Evan. We’ve been friends since 2006, when you moved to Chico after being hired as CN&R editor-in-chief. In your first column as editor, you introduced yourself to Chico and said, “I have a lot to learn about my new hometown, and I look forward to meeting more of my new neighbors,” and I’ve been witness to how you’ve educated yourself and made an astonishing number of friends over the past 16 years. You are as juiced in as anyone I’ve met, and in case no one else has already done it, I would like to officially christen you a Local. (Here are 10 Bear Bucks; you may now skinny-dip at One-Mile.)

You’ve worn many hats at this newspaper. In addition to sitting in the big chair, you’ve been a news reporter, arts contributor, health editor, environment editor and contributing editor. We’ve worked together in different capacities throughout your tenure, and it’s the latest one that’s been the most gratifying for me. Thanks so much for being my right-hand man during these difficult COVID years, catching all my mistakes (Evan, do we capitalize “city council”?) and putting in the hard work to help keep the paper going. (Alright, Mike, you really owe me a drink.)

Your 16 years at the paper put you in the company of some its most memorable personalities, and no matter where you go, you’ll have a place on the mantle of iconic CN&R characters. From the whole News & Review family, I say thank you and wish you good luck on your new adventure.

See you at the press table.

4 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
Send guest comments, 300 words maximum, to gc@newsreview.com or to P.O. Box 56, Chico, CA 95927. Please include photo & short bio. OPINION
It’s a university in a leadership crisis. Faculty and students distrust the administration. Hutchinson’s successor faces an uphill battle.
Jason Cassidy is editor of the Chico News & Review


Mendocino Headlands State Park. We walk a curvy trail alongside the estuary as the Big River winds its way to the ocean. The word that comes to mind is “meandering,” which brings me to “me-and-you-enduring,” which seems like an apt metaphor for married life in one’s seventies.

The author is a retired University of Georgia faculty member who moved to Chico in 2018 to be near her grandchildren.

Actually, more than enduring. This is our fourth year living in Chico. We closed on our house the first day of the Camp Fire and arrived from Atlanta two weeks later to a world full of smoke and despair. Today, Paradise is rebuilding, and so are we.

At our age, four years seems like the blink of an eye. Yet, in those four years, we’ve seen two grandgirls and two grandsons graduate high school

(two of these are about to finish college), two grandsons emerge as soccer stars and two families enjoy life to the max. We’ve given back to the community through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at Chico State, the League of Women Voters, Chico Housing Action Team (CHAT) and Chico Havurah. We’ve made new friends and stayed connected with old friends—what a miracle is Zoom! We’ve vaccinated to the max and so far avoided the various plagues. And, thankfully, my husband has almost completely recovered from a life-threatening illness he suffered in October. At this moment, we sit in side-by-side in matching recliners, both writing, him a novel and me this article. Yes. We are more than enduring.

As we reflect on so much privilege, we also recognize that so many of our fellow human beings are enduring lives of poverty, homelessness and discrimination, where time passes slowly and eyes blink back tears. In the year to come, we will continue to give what we can where we can because we know when meandering becomes me-and-you-ing, all of us can flourish. Ω

Lundberg Family Farms Bird Tour & Welcome Reception


Lundberg Family Farms Headquarters, Richvale, CA

Join Lundberg Family Farms for a mapped bird tour of working lands followed by a reception at the Lundberg headquarters featuring speakers from Audubon’s Conservation Ranching Program, Center for Land-Based Learning, and Sand Point Wine who will present on creating and supporting habitats for birds across California. Register at www.snowgoosefestival.org

“For the Love of Birds” Art Exhibit & Friday Reception



Museum of Northern California Art (monca), 900 Esplanade, Chico, CA

You are invited to attend the very popular Snow Goose Festival “For the Love of Birds” Reception, Friday, January 27, 5:00 pm-8:00 pm. View the inspiring collection of artworks, enjoy refreshments, splendid conversations, and a no-host bar. Bring a friend and meet the artists, along with fellow festival participants and field trip leaders. Plus special showing of films by Mark Lipman.

“Gathering of Wings” BANQUET & SILENT AUCTION

Julie Rentner, President, River Partners


Bell Memorial Union, Chico State University

Don’t miss the biggest event of the Snow Goose Festi val, our “Gathering of Wings” Banquet. This treasured evening is a mix of great food, great company, and great entertainment and is anticipated by many as the one chance per year they have to visit and catch up with fellow birders and friends in the community. Join field trip leaders, and all our hard-working committee members and volunteers in celebrating this special evening. Register at www.snowgoosefestival.org

Exhibitors & Family Activities (FREE)


Patrick Ranch Museum

Displays by State, Federal, and Non-profit orga nizations, plus binoculars to bird books to Snow Goose Festival apparel, for sale too. For family and youth there will be nature games, crafts, plus more!

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 5
Pacific Flyway Thursday–Sunday, January 26–29,
Snow Goose Festival Headquarters: Patrick Ranch Museum 10381 Midway, Chico-Durham
There is still time to sign up for field trips, welcome reception & banquet at the Snow
Festival of the Pacific Flyway www.snowgoosefestival.org|530-592-9092
Altacal Audubon Society

a worthy resolution

I miss a lot of things about working downtown, but this time of year—for the past couple of years, anyway—I get especially nostalgic for the CN&R’s old digs at Second and Flume streets.

Each holiday, our office hosted an angel tree for kids living at the Esplanade House, and without exception, the paper’s readers would come through with amazing presents. Bicycles, Barbies, baby dolls, you name it. There are a lot of generous Chicoans.

There’s always something special about buying presents for children. But when they’re strangers, it forces you to tap into your inner child by imagining their joy upon unwrapping what may be their best—potentially their only—gifts of the season.

It’s a pretty humbling exercise when you think about it. Aside from the Christmas after the start of the pandemic when, like many Americans, both my husband and I were laid off, I’ve been privileged to be able to give my son pretty much whatever he’s desired. Within reason, anyway—he’s in elementary school and once asked for a car. The kid dreams big. Fortunately for me, he’s never been disappointed on December 25th, even during that lean year.

The thought of kiddos not getting to experience holiday magic ... well, that kind of breaks my heart. For those of you who helped bring other people’s children happiness this season, I thank you.

One of the other things I miss is organizing a yearly drive for toiletries, the kind of products most of us take for granted in our everyday lives. It’s something I started when I became CN&R editor-in-chief just about a decade ago, after realizing it was an unmet niche among the seasonal donation efforts—most focused on nonperishable food, for good reason, in this food-insecure region.

However, in our case, everything was to be distributed to organizations involved in homeless services. Considering the vilification of the unhoused permeating Chico at the time, thanks in large part to social media echo chambers and local politicians—namely, City Councilman Sean Morgan, who once tried to prohibit food giveaways in the town square, City Plaza—I was a bit wary of how it would be received.

I was pleasantly surprised, then, when our office was flooded with supplies: boxes upon boxes of little hotel shampoos, conditioners and soaps that readers set aside, as well as bags filled with toothbrushes, toothpaste, lotion, etc., that people purchased explicitly for the effort.

Over the years, the donations went to various organizations, such as the Torres Community Shelter, the Esplanade House and the Jesus Center (back when, under different leadership, its main purpose was serving as a soup kitchen; it stopped that effort well over a year ago, along with clothing distribution, showers and mail services).

The CN&R’s new office isn’t open to the public, unfortunately, so the tradition hasn’t continued. But plenty of local groups, large and small, can use the public’s support to carry on their good work.

Top of mind these days is the low-barrier Safe Space Winter Shelter, which rotates between churches that, ahem, truly do the Lord’s work by opening their doors to the destitute. Throughout the cold months, Safe Space provides overnight accommodations, a hearty dinner and to-go breakfasts to folks on the streets. The nonprofit is largely run by volunteers and is always in need of more, from meal providers to general operational crew (learn more at safespacechico.org).

The holidays may be over, but I hope the generosity of the season carries on into 2023. If you’re into resolutions, you probably couldn’t make a better, more rewarding one than volunteering. Just a suggestion.

6 CN&R January 5, 2023
Melissa Daugherty is editor-at-large for the Chico News
& Review

What’s your New Year’s resolution?


passing is a huge loss for his family, friends, everyone at the station and our community as a whole.

In the seven years Mash was a KZFR volunteer programmer, he selflessly produced a variety of public affairs shows all focused on improving the lives of the less fortunate in our community. You can find much of his work on “Without A Roof,” “Imagining Community” and “Youth For Justice” among others, on the KZFR website or on one his YouTube channels.

To start going to school, finally. I want to go to cosmetology school. I’m hoping that by the new year, I’ll have every thing a little more figured out.

Jesus Alvarez warehouse worker

For sure to get a better job, and also go back to school. I want to be a lineman.

Guillermo was an amazing force of creativity and compassion that touched so many in our little community. [We] first met him during a KZFR pledge drive. He walked in the door, saw how crazy hard everyone was working and he immediately jumped into action to help. [This] kind stranger (who simply introduced himself as Bill) was so willing to give so much of himself. [We] will miss you, Guillermo, and [we] will try to be better human[s].

Josh Flores student

One of them is to get in shape at the gym. That’s the big one for me. I’m already working on it, but I want to get more focused.

We were proud to have had Guillermo be a part of the Zephyr. [We] would love when the phone would ring and Guillermo would be on the other end saying “I’ve got an idea.” Guillermo was a soldier for the downtrodden, an ambitious spirit, and an energetic force for good. He was a righteous person, and he will truly be missed at our station and in our community

Megan Donaldson student

Healthy living, healthy eating, healthy whatever, and just continuing to do well in my school work.

Juliana Mejia barista in downtown Chico
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GM Grant C. Parks Volunteer Coordinator Leah T. McKean and the entire KZFR family Chico
is January



Staying in-house, Chico city leaders elevated Billy Aldridge to chief of police.

Aldridge (pictured), who served as interim chief following the August retirement of Matt Madden, topped two other finalists for the job. The Chico City Council confirmed his promotion Dec. 20. He’s been with the department since February 2005.

“I had a lot of support from the organization, the community, city management, council,” Aldridge told the CN&R. “As an interim [chief] a couple times, I’ve felt I could do it well, and now moving forward as the permanent chief of police, I have some ideas of things I want to do.”

He cited four priorities: recruitment and retention, succession planning, strategic planning and a needs assessment for a new facility. He’ll also emphasize the customer service aspect of policing.

“People want you to treat them with respect at all times,” Aldridge said. “That’s both internally and externally at the organization.”

For the love of the neighborhood

Locals form south Chico nonprofit to combat food, housing insecurity

Twice a month, struggling families, college students, seniors and unhoused folks browse the South Chico Community Assistance Center’s free neighborhood pantry at 1805 Park Ave. There, they can fill up a bag or two with canned or dry goods, hygiene supplies and fresh produce from local farms. Nobody is turned away, and people browse as they please, with friendly volunteers sharing recipes and providing any assistance needed.

The center (SCCAC) was born from grassroots efforts to improve food access in south Chico in 2020 and has quickly grown. In addition to food giveaways, its organizers host community gatherings and activities centered around important issues such as climate change and homelessness. They’ve received a positive response from the community—events and food pantry days are well attended.


Butte County headed into 2023 with a high risk of COVID-19 spread, albeit with numbers far from the peak of the previous holiday season.

According to public health statistics, the county ended the year averaging a dozen new cases a day—a two-thirds drop from mid-December and 20 times less than a year ago this time. All told, the coronavirus has afflicted over 41,000 county residents, including 18,000 this year, with 472 fatalities attributed to the disease since the initial outbreak in March 2020.

Fifty-nine percent of residents eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine are fully vaccinated and boosted.

ashiahs@ newsreview.com

Center of it all The South Chico Community Assistance Center holds free food distributions every second and fourth Saturday, 2-4 p.m. For more information and to find out about other events email info@ southchicocac.org or visit the center online.

SCCAC 1805 Park Ave. southchicocac.org facebook.com/ SouthChicoCAC

This year, the center’s organizers plan to keep up the momentum and expand their services, given the need.

According to cofounder Rich Ober, the mission of the center is to address housing and food insecurity—to “keep people housed” by providing services that help people “get through the last week of the month.”

“We’re clearly focused right now

and [have been] for the past year on food and the food pantry, but we’re also very much wanting to be a hub, wanting to be a place where … people can come, meet, organize [and] do work out of this space,” he said.

Current center offerings, in addition to its food giveaways, include the Climate Cafe, informal gatherings where people concerned about the climate crisis meet, speak freely and share food (see “In this together,” Dec. 1, 2022). The SCCAC also holds vegan food

revolution dinners, where people cook together (the center has a full kitchen) and work on community-building activism.

The center co-hosts events with other community organizations, as well, such as last month’s Homeless Persons Memorial Day, a partnership with Chico Red Meals and NorCal Resist. In October, the SCCAC partnered with the Butte Environmental Council to plant fruit and shade trees outside of the center for Community Climate Action Day.

8 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023

Humble beginnings

During Ober’s 2020 bid for Chico City Council, he and friend/campaign manager John Howlett (a local educator and former Chico Planning Commissioner) became intimately aware of the needs of south Chico. It is where they both reside and the district Ober was running to represent.

After the pandemic began, the pair jumped into Ober’s green pickup truck to deliver food and water and help clean up at homeless encampments about two to three times a week. They decided then that they wanted to continue to do this kind of work “basically trying to keep people safe and healthy” regardless of the outcome of the election, Ober said.

Ober did not get elected (Councilwoman Deepika Tandon won the District 7 seat), but he remained resolute when it came to his vision to help south Chico. He and Howlett hosted their first event, a free food and emergency supply distribution at the 1078 Gallery parking lot, in January 2022. They formed a nonprofit 501(c)(3), got a board of directors in place, recruited volunteers and found a physical space.

Board members include Howlett and Ober (who also serves as Vice Chair of the Chico Planning Commission) as well as Mark Stemen (a Chico State professor who serves on the city’s Climate Action Commission), Lauren Kennedy (executive director of the North Valley Housing Trust) and gardener Ali McMorrow, who has an extensive background working in food-waste prevention and food access.

When Steve Schuman—a local produce distributor, music promoter and friend of Stemen and Howlett’s—died in 2021, the commercial building he used at 1805 Park Ave. became available for lease through his estate, Ober said. The center took up residence there and opened its doors in June 2022.

Food for all

SCCAC food giveaways are attended by a variety of people, including single mothers, families with children, students, seniors and homeless individuals with pets. Most attendees are housed but are low-income and food insecure. The center typically sees about 50 to 100 people at the giveaways, with new faces showing up at each distribution, Ober said.

When the center launched the food give-

aways, which are held every second and fourth Saturday of the month (see infobox), it was really important to the organizers “to set it up as a shopping experience,” Ober said, and recognize that everyone has dietary needs and preferences. “To just give everybody what we think that they need or what we have a surplus of or something like that has never felt right and isn’t current best practices at food pantries.

“We have a lot of families who come through,” he continued. “Part of the idea in being in this kind of a space and being friendly is to destigmatize the experience for the kids so that we’re not feeding into institutional and generational poverty.”

The CN&R spoke with a Chico State student who has attended food giveaways; she shared that they have been an invaluable resource, keeping her from going hungry when money is tight at the end of the month. She is a full-time student who works part-time and does not qualify for food stamps.

The center also has been a welcoming place for helpers. Cindy Gerstein has attended about a half-dozen food distribution events, she said, and picks up food for her friends in need who lack transportation—

“some who live outdoors and some who have a roof over their heads but they’re food insecure.”

“They’re lovely people [at the center]. They have a nice selection to cover the bases … and I can get things there you can’t get other places: produce, meat, some dairy, eggs depends on what’s donated to them,” she said. “The people I’m helping are very happy and appreciative. They’re just so very grateful.”

All about community

The center plans to expand its offerings this year, Ober said. The center team would like to host a food giveaway every week and add free clothing to those distributions as well. They already have started working with other nonprofit organizations to co-host events and provide a space for meetings and community-building activities (such as writing and tech-literacy workshops) and aim to expand these collaborations. The center’s organizers also aspire to host meal-prep and recipe demonstrations and provide other educational opportunities.

Long-term, Ober said, SCCAC organizers

want to launch a mobile food pantry, bringing food directly to people in need in south Chico and beyond. They’re also interested in forming a resilience hub—a central gathering space for local service providers to coordinate, prepare and respond to natural disasters.

Board member McMorrow said that many people feel isolated, especially after the pandemic, and a core value of the center is to cultivate and foster community.

“Getting help can be really vulnerable— we don’t have a culture where it’s OK to lean on each other. There’s a lot of shame around that,” she said. “When you walk into the building and see that there’s [many] other people doing the same thing, it makes you feel less alone.

“What we are providing [at the center] is community support—reminding people that we are a community,” they continued. “It’s just pure love coming out of this space, and we need so much more of that to be cultivated. … We have to support each other.” Ω

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 9
Left: South Chico Community Assistance Center co-founders John Howlett (left) and Rich Ober opened the doors at the 1805 Park Ave. location in June 2022. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTH CHICO COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE CENTER Food distribution events at the South Chico Community Assistance Center are held twice a month and open to any community members in need. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE SOUTH CHICO COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE CENTER

Laurie Aaron

Joseph Acciaioli

Maria Aguilar

Kim Agur

Karen Aikin

Kanji Aiso

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Love Dalal

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Under Maintenance

CHIP’s Aaron McLaughlin tends the grounds—and the community

One of the basic human needs is shelter, but a roof can offer more than protection from the elements. At the rental properties owned and managed by Community Housing Improvement Project, Aaron McLaughlin and his maintenance teams care for the grounds, units and—most importantly—the tenants.

For the last five years, McLaughlin has acted as CHIP’s facility manager, coordinating roving and dedicated teams for day-to-day maintenance and repairs, and juggling larger remodeling projects—and their respective vendors, contractors, and supplies—that are as diverse as the properties themselves.

Of the 18—soon to be 19—apartment complexes that CHIP owns or manages across Butte, Glenn, Tehama, Shasta, Sutter, and Yuba counties, McLaughlin says CHIP rental properties can each house from 12 to 100 families in buildings from the late–1800s to newly constructed complexes.

And though CHIP focuses some apartment complexes on creating communities designed for senior citizens or farm workers, McLaughlin says every property represents CHIP’s dedication to strengthening the tenants through sustainable housing.

“We really, at times,” McLaughlin says, “try to do the impossible or whatever it takes to get someone housing that’s sustainable, get them qualified, and whatever they need.”

Before joining CHIP’s maintenance team close to 20 years ago, McLaughlin started his career as a general contractor and worked in apartment maintenance for marketrate rentals. Now, doing the same work for a nonprofit, McLaughlin has seen the full potential of his work when guided and motivated by a community’s needs.

“If you work for a forprofit company,” McLaughlin says, “a lot of the time you go in on a turnover and you’ll just replace everything. The main focus is to make the money to keep the company rolling.”

Instead, on repairs, rehabs, remodels, and turnovers—when one tenant leaves and McLaughlin’s team prepares the unit for the next family— McLaughlin keeps costs down by utilizing tactics not always employed by commercial rentals.

“We’re able to use grant money and loans to focus more on the tenants themselves, their needs, and what we can do to make our product and units more achievable for them,” McLaughlin says.

In addition to securing outside funding, McLaughlin prices materials and solicits multiple bids for contractors, looking for creative ways to keep costs low and, ultimately, help to lower tenants’ rent.

However, McLaughlin stresses, low rent does not come at the expense of quality or comfort.

“We work really hard,” McLaughlin says, “and are held by our funders and entities that govern us to a very, very high standard. In many ways, a higher standard than commercial rentals.”

Funders and representatives from government organizations constantly inspect CHIP units and complexes but, for McLaughlin, the motivation to meet and exceed these high standards goes beyond keeping everything in working order. It’s about making the tenants comfortable.

And while McLaughlin is the first to say that CHIP is a tenant-oriented company, in 2018, he experienced firsthand that it is an employee-oriented company as well.

“During the Camp Fire,” McLaughlin says, “we lost

home and we stayed in one of the units CHIP had. That was huge in a time of uncertainties, but CHIP was there and they welcomed me and my family with open arms.”

Due to one of the funding programs temporarily waiving eligibility requirements for fire survivors, McLaughlin’s family lived in a CHIP property for more than a year before finding another house in the area. This stability in a time of upheaval meant a great deal to the family, as it has for so many others affected by natural disasters, COVID-19, job loss or homelessness.

“When you have someone who might not come from much,” McLaughlin says, “and you’re able to give them a nice, clean place to live, it helps boost their lifestyle. Their whole outlook on life sometimes.”

For McLaughlin, this transformative power that stable housing can bring to a family marks the difference between market-rate and CHIP rental properties. Though the nuts and bolts of repair and maintenance are similar, it is CHIP’s intent and the community impact that turns roof repairs into community building and a house into a home.

“When you have someone who might not come from much,” McLaughlin says, “and you’re able to give them a nice, clean place to live, it helps boost their lifestyle. Their whole outlook on life sometimes.”
Aaron McLaughlin CHIP’s facility manager
more information, visit chiphousing.org JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 11
CHIP’s facility manager, Aaron McClaughlin, believes the transformative power of stable housing can change people’s lives. PHOTO BY RAY LAAGER


Mission of mercy

Local nonprofit recycles and gives away medical equipment

Afew pieces of clothing; family pictures; important documents. A reality of living in Northern California, especially in recent years, is that most residents have a mental list of what to grab in case of fire. Some take that preparation a sagely step further, keeping a “bug-out bag” filled with necessities and, perhaps, a few items with priceless sentimental value, ready to go at all times.

But what about those with health challenges, whose daily routines—and sometimes, even survival—depend on expensive, often hard-to-procure medical equipment?

“When wildfires hit, people just flee for their lives,” said Janice Walker, director of Chico Project S.A.V.E. “They leave behind CPAP machines, oxygen concentrators, hospital beds, walkers, even their hearing aids.

Project S.A.V.E. (Salvage All Valuable Equipment) is a nonprofit group that collects and distributes recycled medical supplies and equipment; these are donation-based, and the organization often supplies the items to individuals who, for financial and insurancerelated reasons, might otherwise go without.

Walker said Project S.A.V.E. was “flooded” with dire requests for help after the Camp Fire—not only from fire victims, but from medical and relief service providers. “Hospitals ran out of oxygen concentrators; we gave to Red Cross, to FEMA, to all of the care facilities,” she said during a recent visit to the organization’s north Chico headquarters. “We were able to help a lot of precious people who had nothing at the time.”

During a tour of the Project S.A.V.E.’s facilities—at

the old Koret building near the Chico Regional Airport—Walker detailed how the organization is a lifeline for people during times of crisis and in fulfilling every day needs, from the streets of Chico to war-struck Ukraine.

Mission control

Project S.A.V.E.’s reception area/distribution room is a flurry of activity each Tuesday morning, when the organization

is open to the public. There is often a rush of clients when the doors open at 9 a.m.; people claiming, donating or delivering equipment continue to trickle in until they close at noon. There are at least a dozen volunteers—including nurses, a respiratory therapist and other medical professionals—on site assisting visitors, repairing used equipment, sorting supplies and packing some to be shipped overseas.

During a recent visit, an aged vol-

unteer showed an elderly client how to operate the brakes on a walker he’d come to collect. “That’s where you put your beer,” the volunteer joked, pointing to a drink holder. Another patient, leaving with CPAP machine (currently in critically short supply, due to a June 2021 recall), thanked another volunteer,

12 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
to those in need—in Chico and around the world
Project S.A.V.E. director Janice Walker stands in front of a map marked with the 48 countries to which the nonprofit has delivered medical supplies. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH

Help central:

Project S.A.V.E.

1100 Marauder Street

Open to public (for pick up and donations):

Tuesdays, 9 a.m.-12 p.m. (530) 680-5974

facebook.com/ProjectSAVE chicoprojectsave.org

saying, “You’re literally saving my life.”

Maya Honeyman, an occupational therapist with Enloe HomeCare, scanned lines of walkers, wheelchairs, portable toilets and other equipment.

“This place, it’s amazing,” she said. “We come and get stuff for our clients, they come and get stuff for themselves, it’s great for people who can’t afford equipment.

“We ask people what they need, and if insurance doesn’t cover it or they can’t pay for it we come pick it up and get it to them,” Honeyman continued, saying she and her colleagues regularly refer patients to Project S.A.V.E. “It’s an incredible service.”

Locally, the organization distributes supplies to individuals, facilities in need and health care

and service providers (including homeless and housing groups such as the Chico Housing Action Team, aka CHAT). Walker mentioned another crisis in which Project S.A.V.E. greatly assisted the North State: the COVID pandemic.

“We gave out over 250,000 masks, including 56,000 to Enloe alone,” she said. “We gave them to dentists’ offices, doctors’ offices, nail salons—wherever requests came from. We had a bunch given to us during the Ebola crisis, so we had an abundance of masks, protective gowns, gloves, things they couldn’t get but we were fortunate to already have.”

Walker has headed up the organization since 2004; her husband, David, a retired physician who worked at Enloe for two decades, is an adviser and dedicated volunteer.

Until last February, the project’s physical home for the previous 18 years was four storage units on Highway 32. “We’ve grown so much and the move was fantastic,” she said. “This has given us an office, a bathroom, and kept us inside out of the rain

and heat.”

Walker said the nonprofit relies on cash donations for overhead on their office and warehouse space at the Koret building, shipping costs and other necessities. Some equipment is donated by medical facilities, supply manufacturers and care providers, but the bulk come from private parties.

“A lot of times, someone will pass away, and someone gives us their equipment,” she said. “We distribute it to whoever needs it; we just tell them to return it when they don’t need it anymore.”

Donations for these items are accepted, but rarely required. Exceptions are mobilized wheelchairs and scooters, which can cost several thousand dollars— Walker said Project S.A.V.E. can provide them to those in need for $150 to $500.

Beyond borders

In Walker’s office, she has a map with gold pins indicating 48 countries to which the organization has sent shipping containers filled with life-saving materials. She said

Courtney Casey, aka “Captain Safety,” a Project S.A.V.E. volunteer, in a room filled with recycled medical equipment.

she’s yet to add the latest two recipients—Poland and Ukraine.

Project S.A.V.E. partnered with a Redding-based organization called Shasta For Ukraine last year to provide necessities to the besieged nation, sending four filled 40-foot storage containers since August. Walker said her group has contributed muchneeded “soft consumables” (sutures, bandages, wound care supplies), crutches, wheelchairs, gurneys and hospital beds. The latest shipment, which was being prepared during the CN&R’s visit, included an X-ray machine. The Redding group contributed generators, warm clothing, tools and more.

Project S.A.V.E.’s international efforts are part of the group’s foundation; it was started in 1996 by Dr. Phyllis Cullen and the Men’s Auxiliary of Enloe Volunteers to outfit doctors on missions to other countries.

The tour of the building included a stop in the repair room, where volunteer Dick Roberts was fitting a newly sewn nylon utility pack onto a walker. (“I fix things here,” he said, adding, “Sometimes they even work afterward.”) Beyond that is the warehouse, a huge room where about a half-dozen more volunteers—all nurses, Walker noted—sorted and organized all manner of medical supplies. In the shipping area sat several pallets

bound for Ukraine and another batch of supplies Walker said will accompany a group of Chico State nursing students to the Kristina Chesterman Memorial Clinic in Ozu Abam, Nigeria—founded in memory of the local university student killed by a drunk driver in 2013.

Back near the main entrance, Courtney Casey—a Project S.A.V.E. volunteer for five years and long-time board member of the The Arc of Butte County—wore a badge with the colors of the Ukranian flag and a lanyard reading “Captain Safety.”

“I watch people make mistakes,” he quipped regarding the title, before more somberly extolling the organization’s virtues.

“Where else can you just show up and walk out the door a few minutes later with something you desperately need?” he asked. “And it’s a locally grown, mom-and-pop nonprofit, not part of a huge organization.

“Just look at how far they’ve shipped things. Look at all the lives they’ve saved.”

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 13
Volunteers prepare supplies for shipment in the Project S.A.V.E. warehouse. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH




A handful of news-making locals to follow in the coming year

With pandemic restrictions and midterm election campaigns behind us, the year ahead feels a bit like a blank slate. What stories will the Chico News & Review tell, and who will be making the news, in 2023?

It’s always a good guess that our government officials will give us something to write about, and as is tradition for this annual Whom to Watch issue, we’ve singled out some newcomers— two Chico City Council members and a recently hired city manager—to feature as potential newsmakers.

We’re also looking at a young man with boots on the ground on the environmental activist front, as well as a couple of leaders from the Butte Democratic Party, which is regrouping in the wake of another disappointing showing at the polls for its local candidates.

Addison Winslow is unlike other Chico City Council members—those with whom he’s serving, perhaps any who have served. First, there’s his age, 27, making him the youngest Chicoan elected to the council in two decades. His city stipend pays his rent; his city health insurance opens the door to primary care, dental care and vision. He’s a representation of many Chicoans—those who are figuring out their careers, rent-

ing their housing and trying to secure healthcare.

On the dais, Winslow is the solitary progressive among six conservatives. As such, he sees himself representing not only his District 4 constituents but also other like-minded citizens citywide. The long-time advocate for tenants’ rights, affordable housing, strong neighborhoods and environmental sustainability hoped to have company with fellow progressive Monica McDaniel, who led early returns for District 3; however, Dale Bennett, the appointed incumbent,

wound up securing that seat.

“I’ve gone through seven stages since election night,” Winslow told the CN&R the day before assuming office at the Dec. 6 meeting. “A big difference in my expectations for the future was based on [McDaniel] being on the council. Her not being on the council meant I needed to rethink what my role in the next two to four years would be, which was difficult, emotional, stressful.”

A trip to Eureka and Arcata, as well as biking around Chico to fully explore neighborhoods beyond his district, crys-

14 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
Addison Winslow, new Chico City Councilman in District 4. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY

tallized his thinking. Winslow takes the baton from Alex Brown, the only progressive on the previous council, who questioned her colleagues and pushed her positions. Along with that, a role he describes as a “liaison of information,” he plans to advocate directly.

“Alex has been a good mentor and friend—who can sympathize more?” Winslow said, chuckling. “I really, really respect and admire what Alex has been able to do as a lone voice on the council, and I intend to import some of those strategies.

“But I also think that we’re lacking in a lot in elements of community organization in town. That has an impact on the election, for sure, but also Chico as a whole … and I’m looking in many respects to step up the degree of community organization that we have so it’s not just me representing these things, I’m also able to carry forward more organized voices from the public.

“I see myself as [the late] Guillermo [Mash] put it: a community advocate over a politician. I’m filling the role of a politician. That gives me a platform to express views that are shared by what would frequently be a majority of the city, even though I’m the only voice [on the council] to express it.”

Focal points for Winslow include the sanctioned campground proposed by the North State Shelter Team; the proposed Valley’s Edge development; newly mandated revisions to the city’s housing element; infrastructure projects; and the city budget, particularly how to allocate the additional revenue generated by the 1 percent sales tax increase approved in the election.

“I have to be careful in ways that I didn’t necessarily anticipate—or I’m told I do—to toe a line between being part of community organizing efforts outside of the City Council chambers and holding my role in the City Council chambers,” he said. “I’ll have to figure out the balance; maybe experiment there, maybe get reprimanded for speaking too strongly on some things.

“But I was not elected to quietly make decisions without exercising my principles.”


Tom Van Overbeek

During his campaign for the District 6 City Council seat, Tom van Overbeek ran on a very straightforward platform: Improve the quality of life in Chico.

“The reason you move to a small town is so that you have this sense of community and safety, and your kids can go downtown and you don’t have to worry about it,” he said during a recent interview. “We lost that because of homeless people camped everywhere.”

Van Overbeek grew up in Modesto, lived

in the Bay Area and worked as an executive in the computer and communications industries for 30 years. In 2017, he moved to Chico with his wife, Kim Hawley, but he had been connected to the area for much longer. His son attended Chico State; he owned a Chico home and lived here parttime for 10 years; and for the past couple of decades-plus he has had a hand in shaping the character of the city, mostly as a developer/owner of commercial properties.

In recent years, van Overbeek said, the impact of homelessness on the city has obscured the small-town image he had of Chico (which isn’t so small anymore, having

doubled in population to more than 100,000 in the past 25 years), and during door-to-door visits, he found constituents from all political walks of life who felt the same.

“I heard two things very clearly, consistently: ‘We want to get our town back; we don’t want homeless people camped in our public spaces’”—but, he added, they wanted to achieve this in a humane way.

The policy areas he intends to focus on involve attempting to reclaim public spaces from the remaining homeless encampments (which grew during the COVID pandemic due to lack of available emergency shelter space), in addition to enhancing public safety and building housing.

Van Overbeek underlined two immediate action items. The first is to continue to meet the terms of the Warren v City of Chico settlement— providing emergency shelter for unhoused Chicoans and following the strictures for keeping them from camping in public spaces. The second is to determine how to spend funds generated by the recently passed 1 percent local sales tax increase, which is projected to generate an additional $24 million per year pledged for street maintenance, homelessness solutions, police, firefighters, parks and other general services

“[We] have this pot of money from Measure H,” he said, “How do we allocate it?”

Though Van Overbeek expressed support for the range of spending priorities, he first mentioned hiring more police. He pointed out that Chico currently employs 0.9 sworn officers per 1,000 population. The national average for a city Chico’s size is 1.6 per 1,000.

Unapologetically conservative, van Overbeek is critical of social programs he views as contributing to homelessness and restrictive environmental policies he sees as causing housing shortages—and he finds fundamental oppositional differences between Republican and Democrat approaches to both.

On the City Council level, though, despite a 6-1 conservative majority, he said local moderates and liberals might be pleasantly surprised by how some issues are addressed in the coming year. He and the lone progressive on council, fellow newcomer Addison Winslow, already click on one topic: making Chico more pedestrian friendly.

“We have very similar ideas about what should happen downtown,” van Overbeek suggested. “I don’t want a trolly… but traffic-calming, way-finding signs … there’s support [on council] for those.”

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 15
Tom Van Overbeek, new Chico City Councilman in District 6. PHOTO COURTESY OF TOM VAN OVERBEEK
16 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023

‘JEDI’ DEMOCRATS Rich Ober and Janet Goodson

There is no sugar-coating it: Democrats are not doing well in Butte County. In 2022, they lost big. During the primaries, they gave up one seat on the Board of Supervisors—and, with it, the ability to force concessions on matters requiring a fourth-fifths vote. Similarly, during the general election, only one progressive made it to the Chico City Council, keeping the conservative advantage at 6-1. The council has now swung right four out of the last five cycles.

Redistricting played a part in some of the results, most notably the drastic alteration of Butte County Supervisorial District 2, which reduced the once-heavy advantage of registered Democrats to a nearly 50/50 split, giving

Chico police officer Peter Durfee the opening to knock off incumbent Debra Lucero.

Like it or not, the new districts are the reality for the next decade, and if Democrats hope to have success with gaining local offices, they have a lot of work to do.

As the current local leadership, Butte County Democratic Party Chair Rich Ober and Vice Chair Janet Goodson are already planning for the next election—and they are drawing some inspiration, and hope for a way forward, from one of the bright spots of the last cycle.

“I think Addison Winslow’s campaign was full of energy,” said Ober, referring to the 27-year-old progressive newcomer who won the District 4 seat on the Chico City Council. “He did bring kind of a new set of voters to the table. He had an in incredibly solid onthe-ground game plan.”

One of the key strategies of the local Democrats is to attract those “new” voters as well as new candidates—both young people in general (such as Winslow), as well as members of underrepresented communities—who share the foundational Democratic values of economic justice, smart growth, protecting water, addressing climate change, equality, affordable housing, etc.

Goodson, an Oroville City Councilwoman who leads the local NAACP chapter, is particularly focused on the party’s Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (JEDI) goals and sees partnering with like-minded organizations, from local nonprofits to national organizations, as a key avenue to explore.

“We’re working really hard to change the face of the party,” she said.

Both Goodson and Ober have

personal experience in campaigning from the vantage point of a candidate. Goodson twice won City Council seats and has served as Oroville’s vice mayor. Ober, a community organizer and communications director/consultant, lost two bids for Chico City Council and said, in joining party leadership, “I felt that there was a perspective I would bring to the party from that unique position.”

In addition to the usual party promotion—communicating issues, inspiring current voters and registering new ones—Ober said some of the most crucial work that needs to be done is preparing infrastructure needed to run successful campaigns. Potential candidates shouldn’t have to spend much time trying figure out all the ins-and-outs. The party should support the candidates so they “can hit the ground running.”


WWGD? What would Guillermo do? That phrase has been circulating among local progressives of late, both as a token of respect for the recently passed Bill “Guillermo” Mash and a mantra for those inspired by his tireless work and infectious good will.

Among the many Mash positively affected is Jared Geiser, a young environmental and political activist. Geiser met his late friend, neighbor and mentor while organizing climate actions and education at Chico State in 2017.

“Guillermo was all about progressive change,” Geiser said, “getting roofs over peoples’ heads, falling in line with environmental realities, creating a world where people are more friendly and connected and supported and no one is left behind. He helped instill that in me.”

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 17
WATCH CONTINUED ON PAGE 19 Jared Geiser, local environmental activist. PHOTO BY KEN SMITH Rich Ober and Janet Goodson, Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, of the Butte County Democratic Party. PHOTO COURTESY OF RICH OBER

The ABCs of SB 1383

To reduce greenhouse gas emissions, California’s SB 1383, the Short-Lived Climate Pollutant Reduction Strategy, is changing the way we recycle. While these changes may seem daunting, the end goal is a cleaner and healthier Golden State for everyone.

“SB 1383’s main goal is to reduce the amount of organic waste and methane generation in landfills,” explains Damon Robison, recycling coordinator for the City of Oroville. “It’s important because organics in landfills emit 20% of the state’s methane, which is more potent than carbon dioxide. Organic waste makes up about a third of what Californians are throwing away and landfill space is not endless. We will eventually run out of room for our garbage.”

SB 1383

SB 1383 mandates a 75% reduction of organic waste that ends up in landfills by 2025. In Butte County, city and county officials are working together, with local waste haulers and CalRecycle, to develop the necessary infrastructure to meet those mandates.

“We have diverted green waste and yard clippings for many years, almost 26 years here in Chico, and we have composting facilities for that type of organic waste. Like most compost facilities in our region though, they are not permitted to accept food waste,” says Linda Herman, parks and natural resources manager for the City of Chico. “No local facilities can manage co-mingled discarded food and green waste together.”

How it works

SB 1383 aims to divert organic waste to anaerobic digestion and composting facilities where waste is transformed into clean natural gas and compost. It also strives to reduce the amount of edible food that goes to waste by connecting

commercial businesses such as grocery stores with food pantries and other hunger relief organizations.

“Food insecurity is also an increasing problem as I’m sure most people in California are aware of, yet as a society we dispose of a lot of edible food,” says Robison. “Reclaiming edible food before it goes to the landfill and making sure it goes to those in need is a two-for-one solution.”

solutions for our communities and it’s taking time,” says Valerie Meza, recycling coordinator for Butte County Public Works. “Plastics don’t go away. Once plastic contaminates food waste, and after that gets mixed with green waste, no one will want to purchase contaminated compost.”

When to expect changes

Butte County is served by three different waste haulers, all of which have varying abilities to process different types of materials. Ultimately, the state requires all jurisdictions to be in compliance by March 2024. To learn more about recycling your food waste with the rest of your organic waste, contact your hauler for details.

The good it does

In addition to extending the life of landfills, the compost created from recycled organic waste is a valuable soil amendment that retains water, a benefit to drought-prone areas. In post-fire areas, compost is an effective ground cover that prevents erosion, and its agricultural use lessens the need for artificial fertilizers, which can contaminate groundwater.

To ensure compost isn’t contaminated by plastics and other materials, it’s important to separate organic waste from trash and other recyclable materials such as plastic.

“On the municipal level, we do not yet have the programs to collect food and green waste together. We’re working on

“Butte County and the other local jurisdictions are working together to find a solution for everybody. We’re all communicating with each other,” says SB 1383 Consultant Jennifer Arbuckle. “SB 1383 is a big change and a heavy lift. We’re figuring it out as we go. We want to develop and make the programs we implement as successful as we can. There’s going to be a learning curve for everyone.”

In May 2021, CalRecycle conducted a waste characterization study at the Neal Road Recycling and Waste Facility.  Nearly 40% of Butte County’s waste stream includes food waste and yard waste. PHOTO COURTESY OF BUTTE COUNTY PUBLIC WORKS
find your local hauler, check your bill or visit
What to expect of California’s new organic recycling mandates
“SB 1383 is a big change and a heavy lift. We’re figuring it out as we go. We want to develop and make the programs we implement as successful as we can.”
18 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
JENNIFER ARBUCKLE SB 1383 consultant

Geiser, 24, is a life-long local who went to Pleasant Valley High School and engaged in service projects as a Boy Scout. He leaned toward progressive politics as a teenager and cites attending a 2016 Bernie Sanders rally in Sacramento as a formative moment. (“There was more than 20,000 people there, and I was just blown away,” he said.)

Geiser started his Chico State studies majoring in construction management. However, he said, “after taking an environmental science class, I started to become deeply concerned about our future, in regards to things like climate change, resource depletion and biodiversity loss. So I changed my major to something more relevant to those concerns.” He shifted focus to geography and planning/ environmental studies, graduating in 2020.

After college, he worked doing conservation planning with farmers and ranchers, and Geiser currently serves as project coordinator for Altacal Audubon Society, the local chapter of the National Audubon Society. He organizes educational efforts ranging from Bird Storytime events at regional libraries to speaking at high schools about how development can negatively impact ecosystems.

Land use is one of his primary concerns, both with Altacal and in his personal efforts. He stood against the Stonegate neighborhood project and is currently focused on opposing the Valley’s Edge development.

“[Valley’s Edge] will destroy critical habitats for a lot of sensitive species, many of which have already seen huge population declines from habitat loss,” he said. “There are at least 10 bird species of concern at that site.”

Though the city’s Planning Commission voted 5-2 on Dec. 1 to approve Valley’s Edge, Geiser said the project still has a long way to go. The conservative-majority City Council was scheduled to hold a hearing on the project on Jan. 3

(after the CN&R went to press). If approved by the developerfriendly council, Valley’s Edge will face legal challenges from environmental groups.

Geiser said he regularly visits Verbena Fields to study Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) and plans to host some food sovereignty workshops focused on dehydrating, canning and pickling food at the South Chico Community Assistance Center. He also has guest-hosted the “Ecotopia” program on KZFR (90.1 FM) and is completing his training to become a programmer there— following in the footsteps of his mentor, Mash.

“Guillermo showed us how to make a big impact and be happy,” Geiser said. “He lived simply, and he led a great and honorable life.”



During his time on Chico’s Planning Commission and City Council, Mark Sorensen worked with six city managers, from Fred Davis to Mark Orme. Now, he is the city manager, having replaced Orme in July.

Sorensen came in at full speed and fully up to speed with “a lot of advice—solicited and not solicited,” he said, laughing. He’s made a number of changes, but few that the general public would notice; mostly, adjusting internal processes with the aim of streamlining how the 435 city employees work. He told the CN&R he doesn’t plan on any major reorganization of departments or any major personnel shifts.

“I’m more of an incrementalist—that’s always been my M.O.,” Sorensen said. “Constant, small, incremental change, as opposed to big ones.”

The Community Development Department now accepts building plans electronically, not just paper copies. Likewise, city managers can approve documents via electronic signature. City Hall is in the midst of revamping storage of public records; in fact, as the CN&R met with Sorensen last month, a construction team was remodeling a space outside his office to relocate city attorney files.

“We moved several things around on the third floor to get better efficiency, better use of the space,” he said. Hearing hammering outside his door, he added: “Yup, that’s a sign of progress.”

An engineer who owned a satellite communications business when first elected to the City Council in 2010, Sorensen spent 10 years as city administrator of Biggs. He served two council terms, including as mayor and as vice mayor, during which his predecessor was hired. Orme recently became city manager of Eastvale in Southern


“I came into this job with a lot of knowledge of the city already,” Sorensen said. “I think I was in very good shape on that front, so no real surprises. My job now is getting stuff done, a lot of making the operations smoother, more effective, more efficient.”

His “radar screen” for the coming year has no overriding issue in the way homelessness dominated the preceding years. Rather, he continued, he’s tracking “lots of seemingly small details that add up to being significant.” The biggest action item is the city budget for next fiscal year, which will include a $24 million injection of revenue from the voter-approved 1 percent sales tax increase.

“A lot of good stuff [is] going on in the city right now,” Sorensen said. “With Measure H passing, I think folks will be very impressed with our ability to deploy those funds in noticeable ways.”

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 19
Chico City Mananger Mark Sorensen. PHOTO BY EVAN TUCHINSKY

Arts & Culture


OPEN MIC COMEDY: Open mic comedy night hosted by Dillon Collins. Wednesdays, 9pm. (Sign-ups 8pm.) Free. Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade. (530) 520-0119.

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



ACADEMY Crazy-fun bill featuring Butthole Surfers frontman Gibby Haynes playing BH songs and other classics; old-school Santa Rosa punks Victims Family; plus students from the Paul Green Rock Academy (the original School of Rock) performing punk standards. Thu, 1/5, 7pm. $20. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St. facebook.com/valleyfeverchico



AMAHJRA Eclectic Richvale rockers return to The Box. Fri, 1/6, 9pm. $12-$15. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 1/6, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Fri, 1/6, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com


Special Events

SONIC YOGA: Vibration + movement = healing. With Jodi Pierce and Jeanette Conery. Sat, 1/7, 4pm. $20-$50. Chico Holistic Wellness Center, 287 Rio Lindo Ave.




Galleries & Museums


CHICO ART CENTER: Member Showcase, nonjuried group exhibit featuring works by the 67-year-old center’s members. Reception: Jan.

7, 5-7pm. Through 2/20. Free. 450 Orange St. chicoartcenter.com

GATEWAY SCIENCE MUSEUM: From Earthquakes to Epidemics, an exploration of the impact of natural and man-made disasters and pandemics in California, using the humanities as a lens to give context. Through 12/17.

$5-$7. 625 Esplanade. www.csuchico.edu/ gateway

MUSEUM OF NORTHERN CALIFORNIA ART: Grayscale Universe, a group show featuring works of art in black, white, silver and shades of gray. Through 1/22. $5. 900 Esplanade. monca.org

THE TURNER: Documenting Dreams, print exhibit in which two visiting artists, Juana Estrada Hernandez and Humberto Saenz, weave their life experiences as Mexican-Americans into the works. 1/23-4/1. Free. Arts & Humanities Building, Chico State. www.csuchico.edu/turner

Holiday fun

CHICO ICE RINK: The plaza is transformed into a winter wonderland for the season. Through 1/9. $4-$8. City Plaza, downtown Chico. (530) 345-6500. downtownchico.com


FARMERS MARKETS: Butte County’s markets are open and selling fresh produce and more. Chico: Downtown (Saturdays, 7:30am-1pm); North Valley Plaza (Wednesdays, 8am-1pm); Chico State University Farm (Thursdays, noon-4 p.m.). Magalia: Magalia Community Center (Sundays, 10am). Paradise: Alliance Church (Tuesdays, 7:30am-2pm); “Farmers

Market Mobile,” 1397 South Park Drive (Thursdays, 2pm).

Open Mics & Karaoke

CASINO COMEDY NIGHT: Live comedy every other Thursday at the Spirits Lounge in the casino. Thursdays, 8pm. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com

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.

GNARAOKE: Karaoke hosted by Donna and Mike. Thursdays, 7pm. Free. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

OPEN MIC AT THE DOWNLO: Hosted by Jeff Pershing. Sign up to perform two songs. All ages until 10pm. Fridays, 6:30pm. Free. The DownLo, 319 Main St.

GYPSY BONES: Live music. Sat, 1/7, 9pm. Studio Inn Lounge, 2582 Esplanade.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Sat, 1/7, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com

SOLO ARTIST NIGHT: Four local solo performers: Tibire, Cat Depot, Garrett Gray and Travis Rowdy. Sat, 1/7, 7pm. $7. Gnarly Deli , 243 W. Second St.

THE STRUNG NUGGET GANG: Live bluegrass/ Americana! Sat, 1/7, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St.

SUN8 Music


for The Deadlies performs solo set. Sun, 1/8, 3pm. Secret Trail

Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.

20 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
GIBBY HAYNES, VICTIMS FAMILY & PAUL GREEN ROCK Singer-songwriter/guitarist Brewing
GALLERY: Precious and Intelligent SelfContained Multitudes, works by Tamara Murphy. Through 1/8. Also: Rick Arnitz + John Ferrell, a two-person show featuring the works of abstract painters who previously presented together at the 1078 Gallery back in 1986. Through 2/12. 1710 Park Ave. 1078gallery.org
Turner Print Museum
“Nopalaso en Nombre de Nuestras Familias,” Juana Estrada Hernandez

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

LAINEY WILSON: JMax Productios presents the young, multiple award-winning county star known for the songs “Things a Man Oughta Know” and “Heart Like a Truck,” and who is now on the TV show Yellowstone, where she plays a country singer, naturally. Sun, 1/8, 8pm. $25. Senator Theatre, 517 Main Street. jmaxproductions.net



THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: The latest comedy on the Ridge features a drag show, a down-on-his-luck Elvis impersonator, a small-town bar and Florida! Shows Thurs.-Sat., 7:30pm & Sun., 2pm, through Jan. 29. Thu, 1/12, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org



THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Fri, 1/13, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to

Duffy’s. Fri, 1/13, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Fri, 1/13, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountry casino.com

XDS, RIP ROOM, MONA REELS: Wound-up S.F. art punks Rip Room are joined by Oly pop singer The Mona Reels and Chico’s own groovy disco punks, XDS. Fri, 1/13, 9pm. $10. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St.


Special Events

INSPIRE SCHOOL-WIDE GALA: Students and staff perform and showcase their works. This year’s theme: “Choose to Inspire.” Two shows: Sat, 1/14, 2pm & 7pm. $8-$12. CUSD Center for the Arts, 1475 East Ave. 530-8913090. inspirechico.org/events


THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Sat, 1/14, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


JOE HAMMONS AND FRIENDS: The Station is welcoming back Butte County ex-pat Joe Hammons and his friends! Sat, 1/14, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E 20th St.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Sat, 1/14, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com

SUN15 Theater

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Sun, 1/15, 2pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


LANGDON KENNEDY: Singer-songwriter Langdon Kennedy. Sun, 1/15, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.


Special Events

DREW LYNCH STAND-UP: America’s Got Talent comedian visits the El Rey. Thu, 1/19, 6:30pm. $25-$35. El Rey Theater, 230 W. Second St. elreychico.com


THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Thu, 1/19, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org



Is it too early to declare Show of the Year? It’s a good bet that this one will be in the running.

Thursday, Jan. 5, at the Naked Lounge, Valley Fever presents a wild bill headlined by Gibby Haynes, frontman of the legendary San Antonio punk crew the Butthole Surfers. Haynes will be performing his band’s tunes as well as other oddities. The eclectic roster also includes OG Santa Rosa punks Victims Family, plus the opening act featuring students from the Paul Green Rock Academy covering punk classics.


CINDERELLA: The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical based on the story of the glass-slipper fairy tale. Shows Thurs.-Sat., 7:30pm & Sun., 2pm, through Feb. 12. Fri, 1/20, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Fri, 1/20, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 1/20, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Fri, 1/20, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com



CINDERELLA: See Jan. 20. Sat, 1/21, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Sat, 1/21, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


FOUR ON THE FLOOR: Local rock. Sat, 1/21, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Sat, 1/21, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountry casino.com

THE SLOCAN RAMBLERS: KZFR community radio presents the celebrated Canadian bluegrass trio. Sat, 1/21, 7:30pm. $17. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. kzfr.org


Special Events

CHICO TOY-ANIME-COMIC CON: The traveling Ohana Comic-Con lands in Chico. Dress up! Sun, 1/22, 11am. $8. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St.


CINDERELLA: See Jan. 20. Sun, 1/22, 2pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Sun, 1/22, 2pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


REECE THOMPSON: Solo acoustic covers. Sun, 1/22, 3pm. Secret Trail Brewing Company, 132 Meyers St., Ste. 120.


Jan. 12-29 Theatre on the Ridge



JAZZ AT LINCOLN CENTER: An all-star band from New York’s Jazz at Lincoln Center performs Songs We Love, a celebration of the first 50 years of jazz. Tue, 1/24, 7:30pm. $35-$45. Laxson Auditorium, Chico State. 530-898-6333. chicoperformances.com

SADIST, EXPOSURE THERAPY, SEDITION: New York raw noise-punkers SADIST perform with local punks. Tue, 1/24, 7pm. $10. Naked Lounge, 118 W. Second St.



CINDERELLA: See Jan. 20. Thu, 1/26, 7:30pm. $25$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Thu, 1/26, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org





CINDERELLA: See Jan. 20. Fri, 1/27, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Fri, 1/27, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


DUFFY’S HAPPY HOUR: The Pub Scouts bring traditional Irish music weekly to Duffy’s. Fri, 1/27, 5pm. Duffy’s Tavern, 337 Main St. 530-343-7718.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Fri, 1/27, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com

THE MOTHER HIPS: Chico’s favorite sons, The Mother Hips, drop their new album, When We Disappear, on Jan. 27, the same day they’ll be kicking off their tour in Chico! Two shows in two nights! Fri, 1/27, 8pm. $30. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. eventbrite.com

SAT28 Theater

CINDERELLA: See Jan. 20. Sat, 1/28, 7:30pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater.com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Sat, 1/28, 7:30pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org


CHANCY WILLIAMS: Wyoming cowboy-turnedcountry musician hangs up his spurs and hits the road. Sat, 1/28, 9pm. $15. Tackle Box, 379 E. Park Ave. tackleboxchico.com

THE LOKI MILLER BAND: Loki’s rock ’n’ roll power trio! Sat, 1/28, 8:30pm. $5. Mulberry Station

Brewing Company, 175 E. 20th St.

LIVE MUSIC IN THE LOUNGE: Live music and DJs for dancing in Spirits Lounge. Sat, 1/28, 8:30pm. Free. Gold Country Casino & Hotel, 4020 Olive Highway, Oroville. goldcountrycasino.com

MODERN METHODS & SAUCETRONAUT: Side-project dance night with Cameron Scott of Wolfthump mixing electronic with funk and psychedelia in Modern Methods, and Austin Farwell of Smoky the Groove laying down the sauce with Saucetronaut. Sat, 1/28, 8pm. Gnarly Deli, 243 W. Second St.

THE MOTHER HIPS: See Jan. 27. Sat, 1/28, 8pm. $30. Chico Women’s Club, 592 E. Third St. eventbrite.com



CINDERELLA: See Jan. 20. Sun, 1/29, 2pm. $25-$28. Chico Theater Company, 166 Eaton Road, Ste. F. chicotheater. com

THE LEGEND OF GEORGIA MCBRIDE: See Jan. 12. Sun, 1/29, 2pm. $12-$18. Theatre on the Ridge, 3735 Neal Road, Paradise. totr.org

22 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023

Makin’ theater weird again

Eclectic, packed calendar of productions looming large

Birdcage Theatre 1740 Bird St., Oroville (530) 282-5603 birdcagetheatre.org

Blue Room Theatre 1005 W. First St. facebook.com/blueroomtheatre

California Regional Theatre

First Street Theater (139 W. First St.) Center for the Arts (1475 East Ave.) (800) 722-4522 crtshows.com

Chico State Department of Music and Theatre

PAC 144, Chico State (530) 898-5152 www.csuchico.edu/muta

Chico Theater Company 166 Eaton Road (530) 894-3282 chicotheater.com

Oroville State Theatre 14898 Myers St., Oroville (530) 282-5603 birdcagetheatre.org

Theatre on the Ridge 3735 Neal Road, Paradise (530) 877-5760 totr.org


With pandemic restrictions a fading memory, local theaters are once again in full production mode for the winter/spring season. Even the Blue Room Theatre! The company made a name for itself by presenting fun, offbeat, often challenging shows for 26 years in its downtown black-box theater, until COVID kept the audiences away, forcing the troupe to vacate.

California Regional Theatre swooped in, remodeled and took over the second-story space, and after several months in the dark, the Blue Room moved into a new home farther down First Street, on the other side of the railroad tracks. The transition has been slow-going, but it appears the company is starting to get its footing with a typically eclectic collection.

Up in Paradise, at Theatre on the Ridge, there’s a similar varied approach to the first half of 2023, culminating with the most experimental show in this preview, the daring White Rabbit, Red Rabbit.

Across the boards, classics are, as always, well represented—from Cinderella at Chico Theater Company to Birdcage Theatre’s production of Into the Woods at the State Theatre in Oroville—and with 19 shows already on the local theatrical calendar, there’s likely something for everyone to enjoy.

The Legend of Georgia McBride, Theatre on the Ridge (Jan. 12-28): The latest comedy on the Ridge features a drag show, a down-onhis-luck Elvis impersonator, a smalltown bar and Florida!

Cinderella, Chico Theater Company (Jan. 20-Feb. 12): The classic Rodgers and Hammerstein

musical based on the glass-slipper fairy tale.

The Laramie Project, Birdcage Theatre (Feb. 2-11): A “verbatim theatre” production that incorporates the words of townspeople in and around Laramie, Wyo., interviewed in the aftermath of the murder of 21-year-old Matthew Shepard.

The Twilight Zone, Blue Room Theatre (opens Feb. 17): An allaliens installment of the live-action version of the sci-fi TV show.

Puffs, Wismer Theatre (March 1-5): Chico State’s Music and Theatre department presents this Harry Potter parody, subtitled Seven Increasingly Eventful Years at a Certain School of Magic and Magic

Circle Mirror Transformation, Theatre on the Ridge (March 2-12): Local musician Zac Yurkovic directs this story of a disparate group of amateurs who enroll in a community drama class, begin to experiment with acting games and end up revealing themselves through “tiny leaps of faith and creativity.”

Shrek the Musical, Center for the Arts (March 3-9): California Regional Theatre presents the popular Broadway musical retelling of the Dreamworks animated classic.

The Cemetery Club, Chico Theater Company (March 10-April 2): Rom-com about three widows who meet for tea and visit their husbands’ graves once a month. Things change when one of them meets a fella.

The Husband Whisperer, Birdcage Theatre (March 16-26): A comedy about imperfect women trying to create “the perfect man.”

DB Cooper: The Incredibly True Story, Blue Room Theatre (opens March 31): Locals Cohen Moreno and Sam Lucas have adapted the story of the infamous man of mystery who hijacked a plane in 1971 and parachuted out with the loot, never to be seen again.

Native Gardens, Theatre on the Ridge (April 6-23): This social

comedy about feuding neighbors and the many walls—real and symbolic— erected throughout this modern world is one of the most produced contemporary theater productions in the country.

25th Annual Putnam County

Spelling Bee, First Street Theatre (April 6-27): California Regional Theatre presents the Tony Awardwinning musical comedy centered on a sixth-grade spelling bee.

Blue Stories, Blue Room Theatre (April 22): A night of storytellin’ on Earth Day. This year’s theme: “The Camp Fire.”

First Date, Chico Theater Company (April 28-May 21): A blind date turns into a night of shenanigans as restaurant patrons break out in song in this musical comedy.

Wizard of Oz, Laxson Auditorium (May 4-7): This year’s spring musical for Chico State’s Music and Theatre department is the story of Dorothy, Toto and the rest of the Oz gang.

Chicago, First Street Theatre (May 19-June 4): Five, six, seven, eight … California Regional Theatre continues its run of bigticket Broadway musicals with one of the biggest of them all, the tale of Vaudeville’s Merry Murderesses.

Death Clock Paradox, Blue Room Theatre (opens May 26): Local playwright Wade Gess finally gets a proper opening for his “original play with music, inspired by true events,” which he initially produced in a garage during the pandemic.

White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, Theatre on the Ridge (June 1-18): Every night is opening night for this experimental play about contemporary Iran by Iranian playwright Nassim Soleimanpour. There’s no director, no set, no rehearsals. Before the curtain goes up, an actor is handed the script for the first time and reads/ performs the one-person interactive show on the spot.

Into the Woods, Oroville State Theatre (June 8-11): Birdcage Theatre brings Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical featuring Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and several other Grimm fairy tales characters to the big stage inside the State Theatre. Ω

Every night is opening night for White Rabbit, Red Rabbit, a unique experimental theater piece showing June 1-18 at Theatre on the Ridge in Paradise.

The year on screens

let’s consider a series of mini-lists, mostly “honorable mentions” of a topic-specific sort: Multi-story “portmanteau” films: Wes Anderson’s French Dispatch, Guillermo del Toro’s Cabinet of Curiosities, the Saudi Arabian Six Windows in the Desert and Donbas, Sergei Loznitsa’s scathing 2018 docutragicomedy about Ukraine under Russian occupation.

Rowdy East European gangster flicks: The Getaway King and How I Fell in Love with a Gangster, both from Poland, and Buba, Balkan-style absurdism from Germany.

Great westerns, and good: The English, 1883, Dead for a Dollar, Longmire, the Spanish Out in the Open, plus some extraordinary hybrids: Nope, Outer Range, God’s Country, Montana Story, and The Good Lord Bird, Ethan Hawke’s mini-series about John Brown and pre-Civil War Kansas.

screen commentary from Quentin Tarantino).

Mysteries (identity and gender): The Eternal Daughter, You Won’t Be Alone, Petite Maman, The Wonder, Both Sides of the Blade, The Good Lord Bird Mysteries (character and crime): The Card Counter, Bosch, Out in the Open and Australian psychodrama The Passenger Double doubles (up, not down): Tilda Swinton plays both protagonists in The Eternal Daughter, voices the Wood Sprite in Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, and has featured roles in Three Thousand Years of Longing, Memoria, The French Dispatch and The Souvenir Part II Honorable mention: Aubrey Plaza in The White Lotus and Emily the Criminal; Florence Pugh in The Wonder and Don’t Worry Darling; Ciarán Hinds and Toby Jones in The English and The Wonder; two films by Claire Denis (Both Sides of the Blade, Stars at Noon) and two by Steven Soderbergh (Kimi, No Sudden Move).

in 2022

Dispatch (USA), A Hero (Iran), Hit the Road (Iran), Nope (USA), Out in the Open (Spain), Petite Maman (France), The Tragedy of Macbeth (USA).

why I’m resisting the urge to reduce this movie year to a single hierarchical Top 10. Thus, in the interests of further celebrating the diverse wonders of the movie year,

Films about filmmaking (Nope, Bardo, Irma Vep, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir trilogy and the Israeli tragicomedy Ahed’s Knee) plus documentary selfportraits (“Sr.” with both Robert Downeys, Sr. and Jr.; Marx Can Wait, Marco Bellochio’s “family portrait”; and Django & Django, a survey of Sergio Corbucci’s spaghetti westerns, with on-

Most interesting films that I didn’t like much: Triangle of Sadness, Everything Everywhere All at Once and, maybe most of all, The Northman

Books: Cinema Speculation by Quentin Tarantino, Always Crashing in the Same Car by Matthew Specktor, Camera Man by Dana Stevens and Disaster Mon Amour by David Thomson. Ω

As the world crumbles, and us with it, there may be little consolation in hearing that there was much, maybe too much, to be grateful for in the year’s movies. But consolation—whether large or small—is there to be found once again, and sometimes the rewards are truly heartening.

One measure of that spirited abundance might look like this: I’m thinking I can mount at least three separate but very respectable “Best” lists out of the year’s movie experiences here at the Stream & Dream Lounge:

1. Best films that I reviewed in this space in the first 11 months of 2022 (listed alphabetically): Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn (Romania), The Card Counter (USA), Dead For a Dollar (USA), Drive My Car (Japan), The French

2. Best cinema-quality TV series I binged on, and for the most part reviewed, during the past year: 1883, Bosch, The English, the Irma Vep “remake” series, Landscapers, Longmire, Lupin, Midnight Mass, The Old Man, Outer Range, The White Lotus and a belated encounter with 2020’s The Good Lord Bird.

3. The outstanding run of feature films I’ve caught up with in the last two months: Amsterdam (USA), Banshees of Inisherin (Ireland), Bardo (Mexico), Both Sides of the Blade (France), Donbas (Ukraine), The Eternal Daughter (UK/USA), God’s Country (USA), White Noise (USA), The Wonder (Ireland), You Won’t Be Alone (Macedonia).

And there’s more, which is

24 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
CN&R film critic’s best in film and television Hit the Road The Good Lord Bird
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JUST BREATHE It has been a challenging holiday season for the greater Chico family. In just one month, the community has lost so many of its guiding lights.

The word is just getting out about the passing of longtime local freelance writer and social commentator Ronald Angle. Ron was a frequent contributor to and supporter of the Chico News & Review, for which he penned compassionate essays on everything from the folly of war to the war on the unhoused. His most recent Guest Comment provided this succinct bio: Born six months after Pearl Harbor was attacked, Ronald Angle began writing for newspapers in 1958. He and his family moved to Chico from Southern California in 1980. He lives in the Chapman Neighborhood. Ron died Dec. 2. He was 80.

Over the last 30 years, I’ve had two employers: the CN&R for the past 19, and Upper Crust Bakery for the other 11. One of my bosses at the bakery/cafe for most of those years was my friend Lori Powers.

I’m not indulging in my usual hyperbole by saying that Lori was one of the world’s bright lights. Ask anyone who’s so much as met her; she was unfailingly kind, friendly, quick to laugh, quick to blush and just plain delightful. (She deserves sainthood for putting up with years of ridiculous shenanigans from the unshaven hooligans of the night crew that I was responsible for supervising.)

Lori bought Upper Crust in 1993 and, with business partner Becky Shadd, turned it into a local icon. If you’ve lived in Chico for any amount of time, you have an Upper Crust memory—as a downtown hangout or as provider of sweet sustenance for life’s milestones, from wedding cakes to Thanksgiving pies.

Lori retired and sold the business in 2018, and she used the free time to fulfill her passion for outdoor adventures with friends and her longtime partner, Diane Richard.

After a months-long battle with cancer, Lori died peacefully at home. She was 63.

I am still having a hard time believing that Bill “Guillermo” Mash is gone. I’ve counted him among my best friends in Chico in the decade since he moved to town, and after hearing that he’d suffered a heart attack and was on life support at Enloe, I did a search for him/me on my/his Facebook pages to find a pic of the two of us together. Sadly, I found none, but I was blown away by how many photos he had taken of important moments in my life. He was there for all of it—from birthdays and rock shows to community events and radio programs.

As I’ve grieved with his many friends and loved ones, others have shared the exact same realization. In all of his endeavors—citizen journalist, radio personality, music/arts supporter/fanatic, tireless advocate for the unhoused—he was fully committed to being there for and documenting this community that he loved. He showed up, he played, he helped, and he manifested the words from his most recent journalistic endeavor: “Imagining Community.”

There’s a slogan making its way around social media: What would Guillermo do? (WWGD?). I can’t think of a more wonderful guiding

principle to follow.

Bill died Nov. 29. He was 62.

I’ve heard it said many times since moving to Chico: Mark McKinnon is a giant of a man. The 6-foot-5 educator/ writer/musician was large of stature for sure, but it was his heart and spirit that made him stand out to his Butte College English students, his Ha’Penny Bridge bandmates and fans, and his tribe of Butte County friends and family.

Mark was one of the founders of the CN&R, part of the rag-tag crew that negotiated the separation of the former Wildcat newspaper from Chico State in 1977. I would love to have been a fly on the wall in that university office to witness this huge, passionate bearded hippie wearing a toga as he stared down administrators until they caved to his demands.

Mark and his wife, Wendy, were Camp Fire survivors, one of the many families who lost their home in the 2018 blaze. In the aftermath, Mark worked through the trauma by writing a song, which in turn helped many others process the loss as well. At the 2019 CAMMIES Awards ceremony at the Sierra Nevada Big Room, he was joined by a supergroup made up of fellow Ridge musicians for a powerful performance of the song, “Just Breathe,” as well as a cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” It was a moving experience to watch these fire survivors relive the tragedy through Mark’s epic tune, which winds its way through flames and smoke before settling in clear air, taking a deep breath and falling into the open arms of community—a message that also offers comfort today as we mourn so many friends:

We’re still calling on our angels to help us all remember; none of us are traveling alone … Help us breathe and dream gently through the night … Just breathe.

After a long battle with cancer, Mark died Dec. 1. He was 71.

26 CN&R JANUARY 5, 2023
Mark McKinnon PHOTO BY KEN PORDES Lori Powers PHOTO BY MEREDITH J. COOPER Bill “Guillermo” Mash
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Ronald Angle

ARIES (March 21-April 19): “My life was the best omelet you could make with a chainsaw,” observed flamboyant author Thomas McGuane. That’s a witty way to encapsulate his tumultuous destiny. There have been a few moments in 2022 when you might have been tempted to invoke a similar metaphor about your own evolving story. But the good news is that your most recent chainsaw-made omelet is finished and ready to eat. I think you’ll find its taste is savory. And I believe it will nourish you for a long time. (Soon it will be time to start your next omelet, maybe without using the chainsaw this time!)

TAURUS (April 20-May 20): After meticulous research of 2023’s astrological omens, I have come to a radical conclusion: You should tell the people who care for you that you’d like to be called by new pet names. I think you need to intensify their ability and willingness to view you as a sublime creature worthy of adoration. I don’t necessarily recommend you use old standbys like “cutie,” “honey,” “darling” or “angel.” I’m more in favor of unique and charismatic versions, something like “Jubilee” or “Zestie” or “Fantasmo” or “Yowie-Wowie.” Have fun coming up with pet names that you are very fond of. The more, the better.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20): If I could choose some fun and useful projects for you to master in 2023, they would include the following: 1. Be in constant competition with yourself to outdo past accomplishments. But at the same time, be extra compassionate toward yourself. 2. Borrow and steal other people’s good ideas and use them with even better results than they would use them.

3. Acquire an emerald or two, or wear jewelry that features emeralds. 4. Increase your awareness of and appreciation for birds.

5. Don’t be attracted to folks who aren’t good for you just because they are unusual or interesting. 6. Upgrade your flirting so it’s even more nuanced and amusing, while at the same time you make sure it never violates anyone’s boundaries.

CANCER (June 21-July 22): When she was young, Carolyn Forché was a conventional poet focused on family and childhood. But she transformed. Relocating to El Salvador during its civil war, she began to write about political trauma. Next, she lived in Lebanon during its civil war. She witnessed firsthand the tribulations of military violence and the imprisonment of activists. Her creative work increasingly illuminated questions of social justice. At age 72, she is now a renowned human rights advocate. In bringing her to your attention, I don’t mean to suggest that you engage in an equally dramatic self-reinvention. But in 2023, I do recommend drawing on her as an inspirational role model. You will have great potential to discover deeper aspects of your life’s purpose—and enhance your understanding of how to offer your best gifts.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): Are the characters in Carlos Castañeda’s books on shamanism fictional or real? It doesn’t matter to me. I love the wisdom of his alleged teacher, Don Juan Matus. He said, “Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use.” Don Juan’s advice is perfect for you in the coming nine months, Leo. I hope you will tape a copy of his words on your bathroom mirror and read it at least once a week.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22): Teacher and author Byron Katie claims, “The voice within is what I’m married to. My lover is the place inside me where an honest yes and no come from.” I happen to know that she has also been married for many years to a writer named Stephen Mitchell. So she has no problem being wed to both Mitchell and her inner voice. In accordance with astrological omens, I invite you to propose marriage to your own inner voice. The com-

ing year will be a fabulous time to deepen your relationship with this crucial source of useful and sacred revelation

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 22): Libran philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche offered advice that is perfect for you in 2023. It’s strenuous. It’s demanding and daunting. If you take it to heart, you will have to perform little miracles you may not yet have the confidence to try. But I have faith in you, Libra. That’s why I don’t hesitate to provide you with Nietzsche’s rant: “No one can build you the bridge on which you, and only you, must cross the river of life. There may be countless trails and bridges and demigods who would gladly carry you across; but only at the price of pawning and forgoing yourself. There is one path in the world that none can walk but you. Where does it lead? Don’t ask, walk!”

SCORPIO (Oct. 23-Nov. 21): How might you transform the effects of the limitations you’ve been dealing with? What could you do to make it work in your favor as 2023 unfolds? I encourage you to think about these questions with daring and audacity. The more moxie you summon, the greater your luck will be in making the magic happen. Here’s another riddle to wrestle with: What surrender or sacrifice could you initiate that might lead in unforeseen ways to a plucky breakthrough? I have a sense that’s what will transpire as you weave your way through the coming months in quest of surprising opportunities.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 22-Dec. 21): Sagittarian singer Tina Turner confided, “My greatest beauty secret is being happy with myself.” I hope you will experiment with that formula in 2023. I believe the coming months will potentially be a time when you will be happier with yourself than you have ever been before—more at peace with your unique destiny, more accepting of your unripe qualities, more in love with your depths and more committed to treating yourself with utmost care and respect. Therefore, if Tina Turner is accurate, 2023 will also be a year when your beauty will be ascendant.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): “I’m homesick all the time,” writes author Sarah Addison Allen. “I just don’t know where home is. There’s this promise of happiness out there. I know it. I even feel it sometimes. But it’s like chasing the moon. Just when I think I have it, it disappears into the horizon.” If you have ever felt pangs like hers, Capricorn, I predict they will fade in 2023. That’s because I expect you will clearly identify the feeling of home you want—and thereby make it possible to find and create the place, the land and the community where you will experience a resounding peace and stability.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 18): Storyteller Michael Meade tells us, “The ship is always off course. Anybody who sails knows that. Sailing is being off-course and correcting. That gives a sense of what life is about.” I interpret Meade’s words to mean that we are never in a perfect groove heading directly towards our goal. We are constantly deviating from the path we might wish we could follow with unfailing accuracy. That’s not a bug in the system; it’s a feature. And as long as we obsess on the idea that we’re not where we should be, we are distracted from doing our real work. And the real work? The ceaseless corrections. I hope you will regard what I’m saying here as one of your core meditations in 2023, Aquarius.

PISCES (Feb. 19-March 20): A Chinese proverb tells us, “Great souls have wills. Feeble souls have wishes.” I guess that’s true in an abstract way. But in practical terms, most of us are a mix of both great and feeble. We have a modicum of willpower and a bundle of wishes. In 2023, though, you Pisceans could make dramatic moves to strengthen your willpower as you shed wimpy wishes. In my psychic vision of your destiny, I see you feeding metaphorical iron supplements to your resolve and determination.

JANUARY 5, 2023 CN&R 27
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