Get out of jail card
Starting today (Thursday, March 29), anyone who uses marijuana for medical purposes with a doctor’s recommendation can obtain an official Butte County med-pot ID card, useful for alerting the local gendarmerie to the legality of that bag o’ bud you’re carrying. Qualified caregivers can also apply for the card. You’ll need to show a government-issued photo ID, proof of residency in the county and your doc’s written recommendation. The fee is $115.15, which includes a state-mandated surcharge of $60. Medi-Cal recipients will be charged half of that. The county Health Department will mail you an application, but you must submit it in person, by appointment. For more information, call 538-7700.

100 years young
Christian & Johnson, the venerable gift shop on Camellia Way next to Big Chico Creek, is celebrating its centennial this month. The company opened in 1907 as Lindo Nursery, started by Annie Bidwell’s gardener, F. G. Petersen. Petersen was known as the “Camellia King” of the United States, developing six varieties into more than 600 and winning many prizes. The nursery moved to the current location in 1913.

In 1948 Mrs. Petersen sold the nursery to Ray Johnson, co-owner of Christian & Johnson Feed and Seed, at Seventh and Broadway. Johnson, who went on to become the local assemblyman (1964-74) and state senator (1976-84), moved his store to the nursery site and changed its name to Christian & Johnson. The gift shop opened in 1951.

The nursery closed several years ago and the land was developed into shops and offices, but the gift shop remains, now owned by Melissa Heringer. She says she’s determined to make it last another century.

Slain security guard’s parents sue
The parents of a young security guard who died after being struck in a fight in December 2005 have sued his employer, the Chico Holiday Inn, charging that he wasn’t adequately trained to be a bouncer.

As originally described in “A moment of violence” (CN&R, Nov. 9, 2006), Travis Williams (pictured), a well-liked 22-year-old Chico State University student whose job normally was to handle the door of the On the Rocks nightclub, was sent outside to quell a late-night ruckus in the inn’s parking lot, only to be blindsided by a blow from a recent parolee named Lloyd Murray. Williams struck his head on the pavement when he fell, lapsed into a coma and died five days later. Murray, 33, subsequently was sentenced to 12 years in prison for involuntary manslaughter.

The CN&R story noted that, on the night Williams died, one of the three security guards was sent home, over the protests of the bar manager. The inn’s owner, Kumar Sherma, told the CN&R that three guards weren’t needed inside the hotel. When a fight broke out in the parking lot sometime after midnight, however, the two remaining guards went outside, contrary to hotel policy.

Gary and Margie Williams are seeking monetary damages and recovery of hospital and funeral costs.