Photo By Tom Gascoyne

She’s got the jack: Some of you nasty people better get yourselves checked at the free clinic. According to county health officials there has been a 400-percent increase in gonorrhea cases in the first six months of this year.

The outbreak, which is mostly concentrated in the southern part of the county, has so far affected 51 men and women between the ages of 14 and 58, with 63 percent of the cases occurring in women. Usually around this time of year, only about 13 cases will have been reported.

Anyone who’s ever had “the clap” will tell you it is no fun. Symptoms include burning pee, pus-like discharge and frequent urination. Many who carry the disease never get symptoms at all yet still pass on the disease to unsuspecting sex partners. If you don’t get it taken care of you could go blind.

For more on “the dose” call 538-6220 or 895-6565.

Steel this union: Oroville hospital employees voted by a wide margin last week to organize and affiliate themselves with the Health Care Workers Council of the United Steelworkers of America.

Citing low pay and poor treatment, workers in the clerical, technical and support services units chose to join ranks and negotiate new contracts in response to a months-long organizing drive by the USA. Union spokesman Jeff Sabin said he hoped the units could pick leaders and begin negotiations with the hospital within a few months. Registered nurses at the hospital are already represented by the California Nurses Association.

Trout fishing in Chico: The new fountain on Main Street (pictured below) got its finishing touches this week in the form of six bronze trout that will serve to spit fountain water skyward (or maybe just dribble it off their fishy lips) allowing it to flow over a granite slab and back into the fountain’s basin.

Local artists Patrick Collentine and Susan Larsen designed the fountain, and told the seven-member citizen committee that selected them that they wanted to recreate the feeling of the old city wells that once served as the center of the community. The fountain, begun in June, was constructed by Robert T. Hill and Associates and features a concrete bench that serves as both a seat and the fountain’s exterior wall. It’s a good-looking addition to the downtown, especially with the recent disappearance of the Downtown Plaza Park elms. Brautigan would be proud.