Some of the things worth shouting about during Best of Chico
For the first time in my nearly 13 years with the CN&R, I didn’t contribute to the Editors’ Picks in our massive Best of Chico package. Nope, all of them (see page 54) are the handiwork of my colleagues. For the uninitiated, these unbylined write-ups allow ink-stained wretches such as myself to give a shout out to a few of the things we think deserve recognition.
Only super savvy readers may be able to guess each one’s author. Typically, mine are newsy. For example, it’s probably no surprise I wrote about the newly finished Second Street roundabout last year (aka Best public art masquerading as a road improvement). Another kudos went to the folks who worked their tails off to make sure the water towers next to the CN&R’s office weren’t dismantled (aka Best save of 2018).
I was happy to excuse myself from this annual ritual, but then I got to thinking about some of the things I’d like to highlight in 2019, the year following the Camp Fire. So, here are my picks, plus one very personal take:
Best non-CN&R jab: No publication in this town is better than the CN&R at holding powerful people to account—yours truly employs snark aplenty and nobody is off limits—but I have to give credit to the student journalists at The Orion. They have done a fine job criticizing Chico State’s administration for its attempts to squelch free speech. Also derided by them: the good little soldiers in its PR department. Way to own them, Orionites!
Best succession: It’s early, but we’re already seeing good things happen under the new leadership at the Butte County Public Health Department. One to highlight: BCPHD using scientific research—aka peer-reviewed data—to explain why needle access programs work and recommend the one planned for Chico.
Best guerrilla-style helpers: Three volunteer-run efforts get a nod here. Northern Valley Harm Reduction Coalition—its naloxone workshops and giveaways have saved lives, and so will the aforementioned proposed needle program. Chico Housing Action Team—more than 100 people have roofs over their heads via the nonprofit’s Housing Now program, and many more will be housed via the future Simplicity Village. Safe Space Winter Shelter—the seasonal operation is critical for Chico’s unsheltered population.
Best neighborliness: This one goes out to everyone who responded to the Camp Fire with kindness and generosity—from the bake sale and lemonade stand fundraisers to the development community’s work to quickly install an RV park at Meriam Park for survivors.
Best recoup: City of Chico staff—led by City Manager Mark Orme—collected data to show state legislators the ways the municipality has taken a beating due to an unprecedented population increase of 20.7 percent. The result: Lawmakers allocated $3 million in one-time funds to the City of Trees. Nicely done.
Best partner: Many in the community can relate to working under immense pressure and stress for the past 11 months. In my case, I’ve been able to soldier on thanks in large part to my husband, Matt. He’s kept our home life from falling apart during an exceedingly difficult time of post-disaster coverage. We just celebrated a decade of marriage. Matt got me a gorgeous necklace. I got him a card. Yet he still loves me.