Everybody’s business

Chris Rei and Terry LaRocco

Chris Rei and Terry LaRocco

Photo By Tom Angel

Wild spa party
I was driving down East 20th Street when I saw what looked to be a group of people readying to take a dip in one of the outside pools at the new Perfection Pools and Spas location at the corner of Park Avenue.

Sure enough, owners Chris Rei and Terry LaRocco had some particularly eager customers who not only wanted to take a “test soak”; they wanted Rei to join them.

“They said, ‘We’ve got a glass of champagne for you. Do you want to get in?” Rei said. “We had a lot of people honking.”

The business, which was started in 1985 with one truck out of a “shack” in Durham, now employs 30 people. In December 2002, Perfection moved into the new location—which in the early 1900s was where the streetcars would turn around.

Taking a test soak indoors is not so unusual, although the shiest of the potential buyers ask to drop by with their swimsuits early in the morning or on weekends to avoid the passersby.

Public to private
E.C. Ross, who in March retired as director of public works for the city of Chico, is keeping busy. He’s been hired by Robertson & Dominck Inc. to head up the civil engineering and land surveying firm’s third office.

“I turned 60 and that was a benchmark when I decided I was going to get out of public service,” Ross said.

The firm already has offices in Chico and Red Bluff (where Ross lives), but his turf will be Redding. He said he wouldn’t have a legal conflict of interest working on Chico projects, but he’s more comfortable “giving it a breather” and focusing on projects elsewhere.

The firm’s many projects include the Wittmeier Auto Center and the East Avenue redesign for the city of Chico.

Ross’ work schedule is flexible, so he and his wife have enjoyed a Panama Canal cruise, a trip to the Oregon Coast and other adventures since his “retirement.” He also reveals that the E.C. stands for Ernest Cecil.

Movin’ out
Now that I have a house, my mom has asked that I get all my junk out of my childhood home. This led to a weekend of sorting through boxes of junior high reports (Will Reagan beat Mondale? I thought not), bad poetry (“A shameless tear slides down my cheek into a pool of rain”), a ballot stub from the time I accidentally registered to vote under the ultraconservative American Independent Party, and my first venture into news reporting, in high school.

A scintillating article written during my junior year illustrates how, during the last decade, I’ve improved my technique of knowing when to paraphrase and when to use direct quotes. This skill was woefully missing from my 1988 story about Yreka High School’s water lines breaking due to cold weather.

I quote myself: “She said ‘nothing was destroyed.’ … Mr. Gillen said he ‘put in close to three days’ overtime.’ … ‘The cafeteria had a big break’ causing ‘a lot of ice on the floor,’ she said.”

It makes me think of that Chris Farley sketch on Saturday Night Live where he made those little quote marks in the air. This probably also marked the last time I quoted four sources in a 395-word story.