Everybody’s business

Fit for an Outlaw
I hear there’s going to be criminal element pumping iron at Fit One Athletic Club.

Yes, it’s official—Fit One is the exclusive training facility for the Chico Outlaws pro baseball team. The announcement was made on Jan. 13 at a special ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the club’s recent $1.2 million expansion.

But with all of the letters to the editors pouring into local papers in the past few weeks saying The Outlaws name elicits connotations of hell-raising and debauchery, are the fine people at Fit One going to make them train in a special room?

And what about Nugget, the team’s mascot? With all the dancing he’s expected to do, he needs a place to work out, too. Personally, I don’t see how a chubby, eight-foot raccoon can fit on a standard-sized treadmill.

Surely, future letters to the editor will bring more spirited discussion on the topic.

Labor pains
A statewide political group called VotersInjuredatWork.org has recently been formed to fight for the rights of voters injured on the job.

The group held a series of news conferences throughout the state on Jan. 19 protesting the loss of their rights, care and compensation.

“Hundreds of thousands of voters are injured at work each year, yet have no political voice,” said Mark Hayes, president of the nonprofit group, in a press release. “We are going to fight back, and we will go after those politicians who scapegoat injured workers.”

I checked out the group’s Web site and found that it was registered with Joker.com but wasn’t up and running yet. And when I attempted to call Hayes, I received his voicemail.

I don’t wish them any harm, but wouldn’t it be ironic if the group members injured themselves during one of the news conferences?

Biologically speaking
John Hein, a Chico State biology graduate, was just awarded a Sigma Xi grant for his thesis project on the impacts of plant defense on rhizosphere microbiota.

Hein’s thesis, in which he examined how stimulating a plant’s defense system may change its ability to fight off disease, is part of a project being researched by biology professors Kristopher Blee and Gordon Wolfe.

The $455 grant will go toward equipment needed to obtain DNA from plants and the surrounding soil.

“The grant is from a very prestigious scientific society,” Hein said in a press release. “So it is a great honor that they would deem my research important enough to fund.”

The grant came from the Sigma Xi Grant-in-Aid of Research program, which gives funding to about 20 percent of its applicants.

Back at the ranch
The USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service will be able to provide important information regarding shifts in the global market, farmer production decisions and governmental policies on the agricultural economy.

By participating in the 2004 Agricultural Resource Management Survey (ARMS), California agricultural producers will answer questions on the aforementioned topics and provide “reliable, accurate descriptions of the current economic health of California’s farms and ranches…”

Farm Production Expenditures, the first report with results from the survey, will be released in July of this year.