April Fools’ News
It's April Fools’ Day and you know what that means. The CN&R brings you news that may or may not be true. Read through this special guide and you be the judge.
Money, money, money
In this day and age, newspapers have to get creative to stay afloat
by Marydeth Cooper
Running a newspaper these days is tricky business. With the economy the way it is, the Chico News & Review has spent months discussing alternative ways to bring in the dough. The editors and sales staff came together and decided on a complete overhaul on the way the paper does business.
The newspaper will soon be the site of a large-scale yard sale, medical-marijuana dispensary, monthly topless carwashes and, perhaps best of all, a weekend nightclub.
“All the managers were asked to come up with creative solutions to save the company,” said CN&R Editor Robert Spearchucker. “I think we’ve compiled a list of changes that are not only feasible, but also will help us stay afloat.”
Among the changes, the one that will most affect the staff will be a move to a furnitureless environment.
“It’s the ultimate in minimalism,” Spearchucker said. “Getting rid of the desk/chair model will create a more Zen-like office space.”
The weekly newspaper will hold a mega yard sale this weekend, offering up everything from desks, chairs, bookcases and even the conference-room table. The proceeds will go to buying plush pillows and will likely cover printing costs for a few weeks at least.
“It makes sense with the way we do business, which is very much related to sustainability,” said Sales Manager Alexis Bunion, whose staff will give up cubicles in favor of pillow nooks. “This change will give us an opportunity to consolidate space, so we will use less electricity because we’ll be physically closer together.”
The staff has agreed the change will be difficult at first, but ultimately will be good for the company.
“Chairs are overrated” has become almost an anthem around the office.
If the new model of working on the floor isn’t enough change, the East Second Street office building will soon be home to a number of fundraising events and even the permanent location of Chico’s newest medicinal-marijuana collective.
“The decision to open a collective in the CN&R office building just made sense financially,” said Spearchucker.
The nonprofit is named the Press Collective and will serve only CN&R readers who have valid recommendations. All staff were required to get recommendations in order to take shifts working behind the counter at the Press Collective.
“We took a field trip to Berkeley and were able to get everyone a recommendation,” Spearchucker said. “I was amazed how easy it was.”
The paper will also cut back on costs by printing the cover each week on rolling paper. “Can you get more recyclable than that?” asked Art Director Valentina Flintstone.
“We applaud the CN&R for taking a leading role in offering a safe, legal way to get high,” said Chico Police Chief Mike Baloney.
The collective will be located on the first floor of the CN&R building, which was previously occupied by The Space. All proceeds will go to paying rent on the large room.
A few one-time or infrequent events will also add to the newspaper’s coffers. A monthly bikini carwash will be held in the parking lot during the Saturday farmers market.
“Here’s the bonus—sometimes it will be a topless carwash,” said Arts Editor Jackson “Hopalong” Cassidy, who has offered up his services as carwash emcee and will be ready for action as soon as he’s healed from a recent waxing. “Without spoiling any surprises, I’ll just say we’re hoping to give Centerfolds a run for their money.”
When the suds have dried and computers have been safely stored in their cubbies for the weekend, the entire two-story CN&R building will transform into a nightclub, complete with DJs and two full bars.
“We should earn enough Friday and Saturday nights at the club to pay the staff’s salary for the week,” Spearchucker said. Staff members will serve as bouncers, bartenders and cleanup crew. “Everyone’s on board with this, especially since we decided we won’t enforce a no-drinking-on-the-job policy.”
Operating on the principle that a bar could never go bankrupt in this city, the club, dubbed Deadlines, opened last weekend with dollar Kamikazes and a beer power hour.
“It’s perfect because we won’t have any furniture to get in the way of people dancing and having a good time,” said Bunion, who performed opening night.
“I love this paper, and if bartending at a nightclub and taking my shirt off for a carwash means I can keep my job here, then so be it,” Spearchucker said.
Council says ixnay to City Plaza short course
by Robert Spearchucker
It was quite a scene at the Chico City Council meeting Tuesday night.
Outside council chambers, a group of musicians was playing, “Take this golf and shove it.” Across from them, a half-dozen disc golfers held signs saying “It’s just a game” and “Stop persecuting us.”
It was disc golfers against music lovers, downtown lollygaggers and business owners, as the Chico City Council considered a request to rescind its recent, controversial decision to allow a disc-golf short course in City Plaza.
If this seems like déjà vu all over again, that’s because it is. The council has selected and abandoned so many short-course sites nobody can remember the number. Estimates Tuesday ranged from nine to 14.
Two months ago, the council authorized placement of disc-golf targets and tees around the outside of the plaza, mostly on the grassy areas. Not everyone is happy with the result.
Disc golfers turned out in droves to advocate for keeping the site.
“The best disc golf courses in the world include a water hazard,” said “Long” Lon Grazer, president of the golfers’ group The Downsiders. “That’s what makes this one so great—having to fly over the fountain on the sixth pin.”
Grazer also said it was “genius” to put a tee—for the fourth “pole hole”—atop the restrooms. “That’s such a cool tee,” he said. “What a view!” The smells didn’t bother him at all, he said.
Representatives of the Downtown Chico Business Association complained, however, that disc golfers were disrupting the DCBA-sponsored Friday-night concert series. “Somebody almost put a disc through Jimmy Fay’s bass drum!” Katrina “Just think of the hurricane” Woodwinds-Davis, DCBA director, told council members.
Mayor Ann Swab wondered why the two sides couldn’t just get along. “This is Chico,” she said. “We’re nice to each other here. Let’s do the Chico thing and work together.”
But as far as Councilman Wally Lair was concerned, this was just another example of the liberal majority’s anti-business attitude. “The DCBA was there first. Downtown is for business, not fun,” he harrumphed. “Besides, a silly activity like disc golf dishonors the veterans’ memorial.”
In the end the council voted, 4-3, to move the course once again but, as usual, had no idea where to put it. So it referred the matter to its Internal Affairs Committee—for the eighth time. Or was it the 10th? Nobody knew.
From pee’ew to brew
Local brewery goes entirely sustainable with new fecal-composting system
by Alissa Dockerty
Chicoans are used to seeing innovative, eco-friendly projects from the owner of the Coast Range Brewing Co., but some are wondering if the beer-making guru has gone a little too far in his sustainability efforts.
Founder and CEO Ken Grossout recently hired Swedish-based green-tech company EcoDoo to construct composting toilets in all of the brewery’s restrooms. The state-of-the-art privies made from solid blocks of limestone were recycled from the remnants of an ancient Greek temple torn down by order of the Byzantine Emperor in 400 A.D.
“They’re some thrones,” he said.
Grossout noted that the only environmental footprint associated with the new toilets—34 altogether—is the fuel it took to ship them to the States. He added that the brewery planted 5,000 trees to compensate for the CO2 emissions.
“We’re now 100 percent efficient,” said Grossout.
The toilets flow into a system that collects and separates the solid and liquid wastes, funneling each into neutralizing containers that purify the contents within about a week. The liquid is then used to water the brewery’s estate-grown hops, while the solids head out to the Chico State Farm for further aging before returning to the grounds as a fertilizer.
Grossout revealed that he’s working on another special craft-brew created entirely from the waste-watered and -fertilized hops. He predicted that his new creation—“Scheisse Brau”—will be an opaque, savory dark lager with a delightfully murky head and distinct earthy aroma.
“The flavor will definitely be unique,” Grossout said. “And the mouthfeel—well, I don’t want to give everything away, but it will certainly be memorable.”
Additionally, Grossout’s new Scheisse Brau will be somewhat higher in alcohol content than the rest of his beer line, “to serve as a lighthearted counterpoint to the down-to-earth heartiness of this beer.” In other words, they’ll be too drunk to focus on the fact that they are drinking beer made from poop-fed hops.
Local beer aficionado Niles Borden said he’s skeptical but will wait for his first sip to pass judgment. “The proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the poop.”
Phyllis Murfrock, director of the Butte County Health Department, confirmed through laboratory testing that the resulting compost is sanitary.
“I’d be willing to fertilize my garden with it,” she said.
New daily admission fees to help CSU, Chico
To help counteract Chico State’s rising student fees, the university is building a 10-foot-high fence around campus and will begin charging daily for entrance in fall 2010.
Since some Chico State students are struggling financially more than others, the profit made through charging for admission will be redistributed as part of financial-aid packages, said Dan Reed, interim director of the Financial Aid Office. This will help students evenly bear the burden of paying for higher education.
Students with valid Chico State Wildcat ID cards will pay $1 each day for entrance to campus, while community members will pay $5 each day. Upon completion, the fence will be guarded by armed university police officers at five entrances around campus, President Paul Zinger said.
“I realize that armed enforcement seems excessive, but we need to ensure this generates revenue,” Zinger said. “The ability of all students to afford their valuable education depends on it.”
Garden Walk garden shop
Downtown mall to open Chico’s 31st farmers’ market
In an interesting turn of events, Garden Walk Mall owner Tim Gall has opened a farmers’ market in his oddly configured downtown shopping building.
Gall has long claimed the Saturday Farmers’ Market customers and vendors hog coveted parking spaces, hurting his tenants’ businesses. The Chico businessman was instrumental in a move to get the market relocated last summer, but has since had a change of heart. “If we can’t beat ’em, I figured we should join ’em, or at least compete with them,” he told the CN&R.
By we, Gall was talking about several of the 13 tenants of his building, including the owner ofFool’s Gold Estate Jewelry.
Sven Clattervill’s bile-yellow Corvette was seen loaded to the roof with all manner of produce for the new Chico Friday Farmers’ Market. The Chico jeweler said he would be growing a variety of vegetables, but said his Yukon gold potatoes would be the big hit. The new market joins 27 others opening this spring in the greater Chico area.
Carl Spackler to aid Bidwell Junior
Bidwell Junior High School will close its campus from April 5-9 so newly hired groundskeeper Carl Spackler can rid the school’s field of its gopher infestation.
The school does not currently allow students to play on the field for fear of their falling in one of 95 gopher holes, according to the principal. He spearheaded the PTA’s magazine sale that generated funds to pay Spackler’s salary.
“I recruited Spackler because of his undying animosity toward those vermin,” he said. “He’ll snuff their lights out. That’s for sure.”
Spackler (pictured) has been known around the country for his ability to track and kill gophers.
“To kill, you must know your enemy, and in this case my enemy is a varmint,” Spackler told the News & Review.
Bidwell Buck strikes gold
Since the City Council unanimously approved the creation of Bidwell Bucks—the new local currency—at its latest meeting, the Finance Office has been furiously working at getting businesses onboard and arranging printing for the colorful bills. The council approved a number of denominations, outlined below, that can be bought for only 75 cents on the dollar. The city has committed $1 million in redevelopment funds to a local artist in exchange for designing the bills, which will be available next month.<style type="text/css"> </style>