Everybody’s business

Photo By Tom Angel

WWAD: What would Annie do?
We at the News & Review sometimes joke that we wouldn’t have to go far to buy illegal drugs, judging from the brief-enough-to-be-suspicious occurrences of motorists visiting “our” side of Annie’s Glen.

The public park, bisected by the Memorial Way bridge, is a (as National Public Radio’s Harry Shearer would say) “home to the homeless” and, it seems, a prime spot to score drugs. Now, I don’t want to bag on the homeless, who are limited in where they can congregate, or blame them for what’s become a societal problem. But drugs in public parks? That just doesn’t seem right.

Sandee Renault, who lives very near Annie’s Glen, is bothered by the activity there. Last week, she decided to start a petition. Within an hour she had close to 40 signatures from people who live and work nearby. They support the idea of better maintaining the Second Street side of the park and even installing a bridge that would run from Pine Street to Mangrove Avenue. “That flow-though traffic would increase the safety of the area,” Renault figures.

Renault plans to present the signatures to the city Parks Commission.

I called up Parks Director Dennis Beardsley, who said the city is well aware that illegal activity sometimes takes place in Annie’s Glen.

“I don’t maintain the problem’s been solved,” he said, but the city has been working on it. They’ve increased police patrols and, with the help of the Creeks and Kids program, taken out some of the vegetation and homeless encampments along with it.

“We’ve encouraged folks to walk through there more,” he said.

The city’s Bike Advisory Committee is reviewing something that’s long been a part of the city’s Transportation Master Plan: the idea of running a bike path under Pine Street to connect Annie’s Glen to the One-Mile Recreation Area. If that happens, there would not only be more traffic though the area, but cyclists could go from downtown to Upper Park without ever crossing a public street.

Almond joy
I like to keep up on what’s up with almonds, being as how they compete with rice for the title of “top crop” in Butte County.

On May 10, the California Agricultural Statistics Service released its “subjective forecast.” It indicates that the 2004 crop is up 6.6 percent from last year, making for at least 1.1 billion pounds of nuts statewide growing on 550,000 bearing acres. If the forecast holds true, it will make 2004-05 the most prolific year ever for almonds.

For the more-accurate “objective” forecast, which uses actual counts of nuts on the trees, we’ll have to wait until June 30.

Sea this
The latest addition to downtown Chico is the Black Sea Gallery, taking up the bottom floor of the snazzy new building commissioned by Bob Linscheid, Steve Gonsalves and pals at 555 Main St., next to the Senator Theater.

There are Black Sea Galleries in the Bay Area, and the addition of the Chico store makes for the seventh. Chicoans Dana Pollock and Christa Allen own and operate the location, which features custom home furnishings, bedding, accessories and lighting.

Also available at the “competitively priced” store will be services of feng shui and interior-design experts. Local artists’ work will be displayed as well.