Getting to the heart of Chico

Butte Humane Society

Butte Humane Society

Charitable cause

1st PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2580 Fair St., 343-7917

The staff and volunteers who tend to the dogs, cats and occasional exotic homeless pets at Butte Humane Society epitomize the term “animal-lovers.” Their dedication and hard work to ensure pets find good homes is the No. 1 reason CN&R readers continually recognize BHS. It’s also been named the Best Place to Volunteer, which speaks volumes about how the organization is run.

2nd PLACE: Catalyst Domestic Violence Services

330 Wall St., Ste. 50, 343-7711

3rd PLACE: The Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

Community event

1st PLACE: Taste of Chico

Chico is full of amazing eateries—just take a glance at the Food & Drinks section in this issue to see the eclectic range of cuisines and culinary specialties that create Chico’s unique palate. So it’s no wonder locals have chosen Taste of Chico, which brings some of the area’s favorite flavors together in one spot, as the Best Community Event.

2nd PLACE: Thursday Night Market

3rd PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Farmers’ market vendor

1st PLACE: Chico Chai

1919 Park Ave., 897-0822

For 13 years, Sarah Adams has been satisfying local bellies with her handcrafted blend of herbs and spices. She’s expanded over the years and now boasts her own roastery. But she’s also a consistent favorite at the Saturday farmers’ market, where she and her “chaiwallahs” serve up individual servings—hot or iced—as well as bulk items. New this year: Chico Chai partnered with Beber Almond Milk for an even more local selection. Cheers to that!

2nd PLACE: Live Life Juice Co.

220 Broadway, 566-3346


3269 W Sacramento Ave., 680-4543


1st PLACE: Janet Lombardi Blixt

Chico Art School, 336 Broadway, Ste. 20, 570-3895

Janet Lombardi Blixt opened Chico Art School in 2009 and has been steadily teaching techniques of drawing and painting to aspiring artists young and old since then. Students praise Lombardi Blixt’s patience and ability to capture the attention of a crowd, including children’s birthday parties and summer camps.

2nd PLACE: Sanjay Dev

Math departments, Butte College and Chico State

3rd PLACE: Lori Jean Phipps

Preschool teacher, Kids First Learning Center

Local personality

1st PLACE: Mike “G-Ride” Griffith

G-Ride Pedi Cab, 354-9885

If you live in Chico and don’t recognize Mike “G-Ride” Griffith, you’re clearly not getting out enough. This bonafide Chico personality is perhaps best known for his rockin’ pedi-cab. Or maybe it’s his sidekick, Lil’ G. Either way, he’s a man about town; when he’s not working, he’s often found volunteering at local events.

2nd PLACE: Linda Watkins-Bennett

CBS 12 and NBC 24

3rd PLACE: Kevin Jaradah

Spike’s Bottle Shop, 1270 E. First Ave., 893-8410


1st PLACE: Gateway Science Museum

625 Esplanade, 898-4121

For those who love to learn about dinosaurs, biology and how stuff works, the Gateway Science Museum is the place to be. With permanent exhibits—like the Gateway Gardens, which showcase native plants and the insects that love them—as well as traveling ones exploring everything from micro-organisms to animals in Africa, there’s always something at the museum that’s sure to inspire awe in visitors young and old.

2nd PLACE: Chico Museum

141 Salem St., 891-4336

3rd PLACE: Museum of Northern California Art

900 Esplanade, 487-7272

Gateway Science Museum

Party/event venue

1st PLACE: Chico Women’s Club

592 E. Third St., 894-1978

The Chico Women’s Club hosts countless events each year, from concerts and speakers organized by the club to private functions that take advantage of the comfortable, convenient rental space. The website for the Chico Women’s Club says it best: “We provide a beautiful and affordable space for community life.”

2nd PLACE: The White Ranch

214 Hagenridge Road, 342-6530

3rd PLACE: Sierra Nevada Big Room

1075 E. 20th St., 892-4647

Place to pray

1st PLACE: Bidwell Presbyterian Church

208 W. First St., 343-1484

It seems only fitting that the church that bears the name of Chico’s founder be named—again and again—locals’ favorite place to pray. But it’s not based on the name alone. Bidwell Presbyterian is active throughout the community and offers multiple services—including one geared toward youth—to ensure convenience and accessibility for its worshippers.

2nd PLACE: Center for Spiritual Living Chico

14 Hillary Lane, 895-8395

3rd PLACE: Bidwell Park

Place to volunteer

1st PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2580 Fair St., 343-7917

2nd PLACE: Catalyst Domestic Violence Services

330 Wall St., Ste. 50, 343-7711

3rd PLACE: The Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

Radio station

1st PLACE: 90.1 KZFR Community Radio

For over 25 years, KZFR has been the voice of Chico while providing an outlet for those who want to share their voice with the community. Shows range in topic from local news to gardening to reggae music, but KZFR doesn’t stop at 90.1 on your radio dial. The station is also an active participant in the community, hosting numerous events each year and contributing to others, ensuring its listeners—and others—a culturally well-rounded Chico experience.

2nd PLACE: 91.7 KCHO North State Public Radio

3rd PLACE: 103.5 KHSL The Blaze

Teacher (K-12)

1st PLACE: Heidi Danielson

Sierra View Elementary School

Individualized attention to every student is what Heidi Danielson is known for. “I imagine each of her students feels as if they’re her favorite,” one cohort says. Danielson grew up in Chico and herself attended Chico schools. As a teacher, she is described as someone both smart and kind. “She has a heart of gold, and the gentlest spirit. She has dedicated her life to inspiring and mentoring children through her teaching … she so deserves this,” a source says.

2nd PLACE: Leslie Bartsch

Chico Oaks Adventist School

3rd PLACE: Lee Holcomb

Inspire School of Arts & Sciences


1st PLACE: Farshad Azad

In addition to being a top-notch teacher—and student—of martial arts, Farshad Azad is a man who cares deeply for his community and goes above and beyond to contribute to it. Perhaps best known for his annual Thanksgiving Basket Brigade, in which he gathers community members to collect and deliver food to those in need, Azad also organizes the Parade of Lights, which celebrates unity in the community.

2nd PLACE: Ken Gates

3rd PLACE: Shelly Rogers

Youth organization

1st PLACE: Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley

601 Wall St., 899-0335

Children who attend Boys & Girls Clubs events and programs get the benefit of a volunteer force of over 500 people who are all dedicated to enriching their lives through education and mentorship. And with activities ranging from homework help to playing sports, it’s no wonder parents and teachers continually point to the nonprofit as Chico’s Best Youth Organization.

2nd PLACE: Chico Area Recreation and Park District

545 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-4711

3rd PLACE: Community Action Agency of Butte County

181 E. Shasta Ave., 712-2600