CN&R grab bag

Some news out of the corner office at Second and Flume

Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not giving anyone a tongue-lashing in this space. Not in this issue, that is. Nope, this week it’s a grab bag of news from the corner of Second and Flume streets (aka CN&R headquarters).

First up, I’m pleased to announce that Managing Editor Meredith J. Cooper has been selected to take part in the 2019 Center for Health Journalism Data Fellowship organized by the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism.

As a fellow, Meredith later this month will further hone her reporting chops during training sessions and workshops at USC—which happens to be her alma mater—and return to Chico and set off on a big project related to Camp Fire recovery. Stay tuned.

In other news, readers who are early risers may have heard CN&R reporter Ashiah Scharaga on the local airwaves on a few recent Wednesday mornings. She’s been breaking down her coverage of the regular Tuesday meetings of the Chico City Council for North State Public Radio listeners.

Ashiah has been a city beat reporter for years, so she’s extremely adept at explaining the nuances inherent to municipal government. She also knows all the players—from the local gadflies to city staff and management. Of course, it’s difficult to condense to 80 seconds. That’s especially true in the case of recent long meetings. You’ll have to pick up the CN&R each Thursday to get the full picture.

Speaking of Ashiah, I should note that she’s a woman of many talents. In addition to her skills as a reporter who tackles myriad topics—you know, the opioid crisis, homelessness, arts and culture, agriculture, Camp Fire recovery, etc.—she also is a gifted actor and singer.

But don’t take my word for it. Ashiah is playing one of the leads in California Regional Theatre’s production of the Tony Award-winning Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. The show opens this Friday (Oct. 4).

Ashiah works about 20 feet from the door of my office, and I’ve gotten to know her well since she joined the CN&R back in January 2018. Let’s just say I’m looking forward to seeing her tap into her dark side as she portrays the demented Mrs. Lovett.

In other news, next week is our annual Best of Chico issue—among our largest and most popular of the year—in which we reveal the results of our readers’ poll on everything from Best Bike Shop to Best Bloody Mary. We’ll have editors’ picks, too.

While I’m on the subject of contests, we’re still accepting submissions for Fiction 59. Next Wednesday (Oct. 9) is the deadline, so you have just a little more time to put ink to paper—or better yet, type away and submit online at Just be sure to read the rules closely. Each entry must be exactly 59 words.

This time around, after years of discussion, we opened up a micro category as well: six-word fiction. Thanks to everyone who has thus far entered their work. Everyone, that is, but the two creeps who thought it would be funny to email me sexually explicit entries as a joke. Pro-tip for author “Thomas Patch”: At least get the word count correct.