Get your yawn-yawns out
The $25 million dollar outdoor concert facility just 10 miles south of Marysville formerly known as Sacramento Valley Amphitheatre and AutoWest Amphitheatre has yet another new name: Sleep Train Amphitheatre. The venue, which holds around 18,500 people, has been renamed after the 18-year-old Sacramento-based company Sleep Train Mattress Centers. Since opening in 2000, it has hosted big names such as Dave Mathews and Aerosmith.

“We wanted a sponsor that was a local business, had a commitment to the community and could enrich the overall experience of the concert patron,” said David Mayeri, COO of Music Western Region, Clear Channel Entertainment, which owns or operates 135 live-entertainment venues (44 amphitheaters in the United States alone).

So far, the only show announced for spring is Coldplay on May 28, with another Ozzfest around the corner in July. As for the somniferous name, executive director Larry Hostler wasn’t worried and noted most fans just want a place where they can see the stars shine.

At least it isn’t named Pepto Bismol Amphitheatre—yet.

Student tests, scores both improve
The state has finally gotten its standardized testing system to the point where school rankings make sense, and Chico schoolchildren are looking all the better for it.

Cindy Kemp, who oversees testing for the Chico Unified School District, said she’s pleased with this year’s Academic Performance Index (API) scores, which show improvement at many schools.

Particularly noteworthy is the fact that scores have gone up at Chico’s so-called “underperforming” schools, where students initially tested below the state average.

The new structure of the API gives much less weight to the SAT-9, which is based on national norms and works against children with lower socioeconomic status. Now, instead of being tested on random things, “they’re being tested on what they’ve been taught,” Kampf said.

SAT-9 is now only 20 percent of the API at elementary schools and 12 percent for junior-high and high schools. The California Standards Tests now form the bulk of the measurement. Next year, SAT-9 will be abandoned in favor of the CAT-6, which will test students based on state standards, but in a way that will still allow them to be compared to their counterparts nationwide.

Chico mourns a ‘true public servant’
Former Chico Mayor Gordon Casamajor lived to such a ripe old age, 87, that by the time he died on Feb. 19, following a heart attack, not many people remained in town who remembered his huge contribution.

Many who did joined family members Tuesday morning at the CARD Community Center to honor a man who, by every account, cared little for personal recognition, preferring instead quietly to serve others while being the best husband and father he could be.

He came to Chico in 1942 as a flight instructor at the Army Air Corps base then at the airport, married his wife Mary Helen, and stayed on, selling life insurance for a living. His love of flying never waned, and he was a major figure in the local soaring community. He also was a leader in the Lions Club, and many Lions were present at the service. His son Dan mentioned his devotion to his wife and his caring for her after she became ill with Alzheimer’s four years ago.

In addition to two terms on the City Council, including two stints as mayor (1967-71), Casamajor served on the Airport Commission and the CARD board. Former City Manager Fred Davis noted his many contributions, including setting up the nonprofit company that manages the Bidwell Park golf course, developing public facilities at a time of rapid growth, upgrading the airport and expanding CARD. Casamajor was "a true public servant" who will "long be remembered for his service to his community," Davis said.