Everybody’s business

The dean scene
A barbecue held in Chico State’s Alumni Glen on Aug. 30 was a chance to meet the new dean of the College of Business, welcome business freshmen and transfer students and schmooze with representatives from corporate sponsors such as Target, Foster Farms and Apple.

I joined Mark Lore, who covers campus for the CN&R, in going over to say “hi” to the new dean, Willie Hopkins.

I made the same joke he’s hearing from everyone: “Hope you stick around.” The college has gone through half a dozen deans and interim deans in just eight years.

Hopkins has been a leader at business schools in Maryland and Colorado, he loves blues and jazz, and was nice to us. All points in his favor, I say.

Cancer answer?
Early stage breast cancer could be treated more easily in the future if the results of a medical trial bear out. Enloe Medical Center is one of the first hospitals to join in the National Cancer Institute study that will treat 3,000 patients who opt to be involved.

Called “partial breast irradiation,” the technique involves inserting a needle into the breast and inflating a balloon into the void left by a lumpectomy. Then, radiation is applied, but only to the area surrounding the original tumor, and only for one to five days.

“It’s a shorter course of treatment and it affects less normal tissue,” said Dr. Anne Dawson, a radiation oncologist at Enloe’s Cancer Center. “It’s more intrusive [physically] but it is actually quite simple.”

Besides preserving healthy tissue, the technique is much less time-intensive than the six to seven weeks of whole breast radiation that has historically followed surgery. It’s the sheer length of treatment that leads 40 percent of women to opt for a mastectomy as opposed to breast conversion therapy, according to MammoSite, a company that developed equipment for partial-breast irradiation treatment. The MammoSite technology has already been used to treat 9,000 women.

Dawson said Enloe’s protocol is to apply partial-breast irradiation twice a day for five days, as opposed to full-breast irradiation daily for five and one-half weeks. “It’s probably not as tiring,” she said.

“I hope this is the way of the future,” she said.

Dawson mentioned that even if a patient doesn’t want to be in the trial, she can still opt for partial-breast irradiation, which some health insurance companies cover but others don’t.

The trial will include younger patients (under 45), going beyond earlier comparisons of partial breast irradiation to whole-breast radiation.

The ‘M’ word
I’ve been hearing increasingly reliable rumors that Macy’s hopes to build a store at the Chico Mall.

The latest tip was that city officials recently held a “top-secret” meeting with folks including representatives of utilities companies regarding the possibility of demolishing the old Troutman’s building and rebuilding a larger space to accommodate Macy’s. In the hush-hush meeting the store was referred to as “the ‘M’ word.”

Chico’s planning director, Kim Seidler, said if there was such a meeting he sure wasn’t in the loop. “We don’t have any applications,” he said. “I’d call it a rumor, but a high-grade rumor.”

Mall officials also say Macy’s is only a rumor.

Seidler said it’s not unusual for a company looking at Chico to meet with the city and ask employees to keep it on the down-low. Sometimes, the potential newcomer doesn’t even want the property owner to know a site is being considered. The city’s practice is to maintain confidentiality until an application is submitted.