Congratulations are in order

Way to go grads, Anonabox and Lundberg Family Farms

What a week! I’d like to congratulate all the recent Chico State graduates. This is an exciting time. I remember vividly that feeling of simultaneous exhilaration of newfound freedom and fear of having to be an actual adult. If that’s you right now, don’t worry too much. The real world sucks sometimes, but it can also be pretty great. It is exactly what you make of it.

One of the cool things about living in a college town is being able to extend that student experience far beyond four years. And no, I’m not just talking about drink specials (though those are nice, too). I got the chance about a year and a half ago to hear former CIA analyst Ray McGovern speak on campus on the topic of government surveillance and the Fourth Amendment. He was fascinating, but the message he sent was scary: We are all being watched, my friends. The government may not be concerned about all of us, but it’s collecting our emails, our Facebook profiles, our Internet search history. Just in case.

That speech stuck with me, and when I first heard about Ananobox, a Chico-based company—funded by Kickstarter and Indiegogo, by the way—that focuses on Internet security, privacy and freedom, I thought it was genius. To put it simply, “The Original” Anonabox ($79.99) is a small device that plugs into your router to increase the privacy of your online activities.

Chico entrepreneur August Germar turned the company from a dream in 2014 into reality nearly overnight (with a few hiccups) and Anonabox was acquired by tech holding company Sochule Inc. last year. Now it employs 13 people and completes all its assembly right here in Chico. And just last week, the company partnered with the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner to be a part of Australian Privacy Awareness Week.

“The theme of Privacy Awareness Week 2016 is privacy in your hands,” the commissioner said in a press release. “For businesses and government agencies that means privacy is part of good governance and made a key priority. For individuals, it means understanding your rights, making choices and taking charge of your privacy in the digital age.” Amen, brother. The United States should follow suit, but in the meantime, we as individuals can do our part. Go to for more info on this cool local company.

Goin’ green It appears that other congratulations also are in order this week. Lundberg Family Farms, which grows and sells certified organic and eco-farmed rice in Richvale, has long embraced a mission of sustainability and just Wednesday (May 25) was recognized by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council for successfully diverting 99.6 percent of waste from the landfill, incineration and the environment. For that, the farm earned platinum status as a certified zero waste facility. Rock on.