Big bucks

Thanks to the community’s support, CN&R’s nonprofit has $35,000 for watchdog reporting

The end of January was a doozy. Saturday was one of CN&R’s biggest events of the year—the Keep Chico Weird Talent Show, not to mention the accompanying art show a few days beforehand. Plus, it was the last week of our push to raise $25,000 for the Chico News & Review Foundation, a nonprofit supporting local investigative reporting. Jan. 31 was the deadline to bring in that level of donations and secure an additional $10,000 grant from an angel (aka anonymous) donor.

It’s a bit of a blur now, but a few weeks ago, the fund, which is held at the North Valley Community Foundation, was somewhere in the range of $18,000 to $19,000. I was feeling pretty nervous about the whole thing. Ten grand is a lot of money and can go a long way to pay for investigative work on our community’s complex issues. So raising $6,000-plus in a few weeks was a big deal.

Fortunately, that looming deadline spurred people to open their pocketbooks. During the final week, with the help of some behind-the-scenes volunteers “dialing for dollars,” that number got smaller and smaller, down to a few grand. On Sunday, the drop-dead deadline, I headed downtown and slid a final check from the CN&R under the door at the North Valley Community Foundation. What a relief. That $35,000 will greatly buoy local watchdog reporting.

Aside from a few folks who slipped checks in the mail slot at CN&R headquarters, I have no idea who turned out their pockets. I’ll find out at a later date, when I get a report from the foundation. In the meantime, I hope a thank you here will suffice. I am grateful for every donation, big and small.

Other thanks to the people who attended Saturday’s sold-out Keep Chico Weird Talent Show, which benefits the CN&R Foundation. Of course, we couldn’t have pulled it all together without the awesomely weird contestants; the judges, Linda Watkins-Bennett of Action News Now, Mike “G-Ride” Griffith of G-Ride Pedi-Cab service, local artist Christine Fulton (aka Sea Monster), and Deryl Northcote (aka Claudette de Versailles) of Ultra Beautician; all of CN&R’s staffers and friends who volunteered in some capacity, including the most organized person I’ve ever met, Jamie DeGarmo, our director of sales and advertising; and Arts Editor Jason Cassidy (aka Arts DEVO), the show’s ridiculously creative host and director. A highlight: Jason’s band, Viking Skate Country, played a really fun Chico-themed song complete with a PowerPoint that included hilarious images, including Congressman Doug LaMalfa in bondage wear (you had to be there).

Speaking of our favorite District 1 U.S. representative, it looks like he has a few Republican challengers for his seat this year. Last week, a lawyer out of Redding threw his hat in the ring. And this week, Chico businessman Joe Montes announced he’s running (see Howard Hardee’s story on page 11).

Montes is the former administrative law judge I’ve written about a few times, including lamenting how he bowed out of the local City Council elections in 2014 and Chico ended up with a couple of duds on the panel. Montes and LaMalfa share a lot of friends within the local Republican establishment, so things will no doubt get interesting. Stay tuned.