Everybody’s business

Take a bite outta what?
We received a press release from the Butte County Sheriff’s Office last week informing us that veteran investigator McGruff the Crime Dog was celebrating his 25th birthday.

The press release says, “Since 1980, McGruff has been working to make crime prevention everybody’s business.” Everybody’s business, eh? The real crime would be if I didn’t mention it in this column.

So the old dog is 25 … which means he’s 175 years old in dog years. I remember seeing his commercials when I was a kid and he was already looking pretty wrinkly. But fret not, the Sheriff’s Office recently obtained a new and improved McGruff costume and unveiled it in Oroville earlier this week.

Uptown is this year’s downtown
Cindy Dawson, owner of Victorianna Antiques Collectables & New Gifts in downtown Chico, has just opened a new store in the Park Plaza Safeway Shopping Center on Mangrove.

The store, which she calls her “uptown” location, will offer the same trendy trinkets as the “downtown” location on Broadway, between 3rd and 4th streets, as well as more home furnishings, antiques and lighting.

Dawson will continue to operate both locations, which will offer consignment and Internet sales.

Pools, spas and The News
A local business was recently honored for excellence in sales at the International Pool & Spa Expo in Las Vegas.

Backyard Living, located on West 8th Avenue, received the award for top dealer for Cal Spas, in a competition that included more than 500 dealers from around the world.

Those who attended the expo were treated to a formal banquet at the Venetian Hotel and a private concert at the House of Blues by none other than Huey Lewis & The News. And if it was anything like the performance at Sierra Nevada, things probably got a little out of hand. Wink, wink.

The “Noose” is loose
The Outlaws acquired former Chico State star outfielder Steve Newson in a trade for southpaw Laine McKeller in mid-January. Newson, known as “Noose” by his former Wildcat teammates, signed a contract earlier this week at a press conference in Chico.

The 27-year-old outfielder split time last season between the Central League’s Jackson Senators and the Brockton Rox of the Northeast League and batted a combined .301with four home runs and 35 runs batted in.

In his first season at Chico State, Newson batted a cool .330 with 12 bombs and 63 ribbies.

“Like a character in a Camus novel”
Last week, I wrote a story about the impending sale of the El Rey Theatre. In doing so, I was able to spend a little time with Manager Rick Gorman.

During our 45-minute conversation, Gorman doted on about the theater like a proud father, chain-smoking and occasionally staring pensively into the distance.

Gorman insisted that I go inside and look at the painted mural with the fairies. He then had me run across the street as he lit the theater’s marquee. Of course, I had seen these before, but I went along with his requests.

After we finished talking, I thought about how Rick Gorman is as much an iconic figure in Chico as the theater itself. It’s a shame. But hey, I guess it’s nothing a few new retail outlets can’t replace.