Empty coops continued, creeks and corn

Six hens get eviction notice and what the heck is corn sugar?

The flap continues
Christianne Langford will miss her six hens and the fresh eggs they have provided her, her family, and some of her neighbors on Bidwell Drive for the past year. Even though Langford (pictured) lives in a county pocket of land—where it is assumed by most Chicoans that one can own chickens—she received a visit and a letter in late August from a Butte County code-enforcement officer stating that she has until the end of September to get rid of her chickens, which she hand-raised since they were chicks.

Langford’s quarter-acre property is zoned “R-1” (residential), and “the county wants to change it to ‘R-1 high-density,’” she offered. The letter she received cited Chapter 24, Section 24-65, of the Butte County Code: “Specifically, the keeping of poultry in a residential zone.”

The officer told her that someone had complained about the chickens, Langford said, though he couldn’t say who or why.

“We’re an agricultural county,” she said, sitting at a table near her huge, chicken-manure-fertilized vegetable garden. “That’s what I don’t understand. The bizarre thing is, my parents have had chickens forever—since I was a kid—and they live in Orange County.”

Langford recently went door-to-door to circulate a questionnaire to 13 of her neighbors asking if they had any problem with her raising chickens.

“All my direct neighbors love them,” she said. All 13 respondents “said they had no problem with them. Most of them were aware that I had chickens, but some didn’t even know. … I can’t find a neighbor who’s upset.”

Having a garden and chickens, she added, “has saved me tons of money. It just doesn’t make sense … especially since we [in Chico] are trying to move to eating local, and we have the sustainability campus.”

Call for creek photos
Jennifer Oman-Payne
, who works as storm-water management education and outreach consultant for the city of Chico, is getting the word out that the deadline for photo submissions for the city’s 2011 Chico Clean Creeks Calendar is Oct. 18.

“This is the fourth year of the calendar project,” writes Oman-Payne. “Every year we have received an amazing influx of beautiful creek shots submitted by citizens who share their talents as photographer artists. People of all ages and walks of life participate.”

The 2011 calendar will be available for no cost beginning in early December at the Chico branch of the Butte County Library and at the CARD office on Vallombrosa Avenue, as well as throughout 2011 at a number of public events and school presentations.

Go to www.keepchicoclean.org for submission specifics, and to view the 2010 calendar (pictured), which features beautiful photographs of our local creeks, as well as lots of useful information about taking an active role in keeping them clean.

Buyer beware
The Corn Refiners Association—in an attempt to revamp the tarnished image of high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which has been linked to obesity, diabetes and pancreatic cancer—applied on Sept. 14 to the Food and Drug Administration to change its name to “corn sugar.” While the FDA could take two years to make a decision, the corn industry is already using the term in advertisements.