Sarah Blackstone

Sarah Blackstone


Chico State University has named an interim dean to lead its College of Humanities and Fine Arts. Sarah Blackstone, chair of the Department of Theatre Arts, will serve two years beginning in August. (The college will start looking for a new dean in fall 2002.) She replaces retired—but still teaching—Dean Donald Heinz. Blackstone has been at Chico State for a year, following a 10-year stint at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. Blackstone, an expert on 19th-century popular entertainment, holds a doctorate in theater history from Northwestern University and also studied at the University of Wyoming and Kansas State University.

Heinz praised Blackstone in a press release: “ She will be the first dean the college has had from the arts and will no doubt bring a special perspective. More important, Blackstone believes in the ‘calling’ of the administrator and aspires to it. She knows that good institutions can become better through effective and collaborative leadership."The Chico Unified School District has announced more changes going into the next school year. A replacement has been named for Sierra View Elementary School Principal Roger Steel, who left for a job in Gerber. The new principal will be Debra Aldred, who had been an assistant principal at both Chapman and McManus elementaries.

Also, the school board on June 14 approved the hiring of employees to replace retirees David Reise (assistant superintendent) and Robin Thompson (business manager). And the Personnel Commission chose a new classified personnel director to take over for Rich Wallace. Kelly Mauch will be the new assistant superintendent in educational services. Born in Chico, she is a Chico State graduate who has also studied at Pepperdine University and the University of the Pacific. For the last eight years, she’s been principal at 2,400-student Lodi High School, making her the only top-level administrator with extensive secondary experience. The new business manager is Randy Meeker, a 1981 Chico State graduate who most recently served as assistant superintendent for business services in the Plumas Unified School District in Quincy. And taking the classified personnel director seat is Tracy Martineu, who comes to the CUSD from the Health Plan of the Redwoods in Santa Rosa, where she was human resources administrator. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of San Francisco.


Chico State University’s student-run newspaper, The Orion, has won the Mark of Excellence Award for Best All-Around Non-Daily Newspaper from the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ). The SPJ has been presenting student newspaper with various awards for 27 years. The newspaper competition included 2,200 newspapers in 36 categories. The students were judged on design, content, writing style, investigative prowess and editorial page. Before reaching the national competition, The Orion had to compete in regional areas. Chico State journalists will pick up their award Oct. 4-6.

“The Mark of Excellence Awards are among the most prestigious awards college students can win,” said David Carlson, SPJ vice president for campus affairs.


Argentina tango Instructor Antonio Gomez will be teaching classes with his partner Laura Ingram. Gomez has been dancing for more than eight years and was taught by the masters of Buenos Aires, including Juan-Carlos Copez and Carlos Rivarola of the movie Tango. Ingram has studied classical ballet and folk dances. Tango is the romantic dance that “captivates the soul,” Gomez explained.


The Chico Chamber of Commerce recognized several local service agencies at the Industrial Barbecue on June 15. The group held the barbecue at the Chico Municipal Airport.

The honored nonprofits were: American Heart Association; American Lung Association of California; Big Brothers, Big Sisters of Butte County; Catalyst; Chico Community Shelter Partnership; Chico Community Children’s Center; Community Action Agency of Butte County, Inc.; Community Living Center; Enloe Medical Center; Girls Scouts of Sierra-Cascade; Northern Valley Catholic Social Services; North Valley Community Foundation; Parent Education Network; Peg Taylor Center for Adult Day Health Care; Right Now Foundation; SMF North Valley Blood Center; The ARC of Butte County, Inc.; United Way of Butte and Glenn Counties; Valley Oak Children’s Services; Work Training Center; and Youth for Change.