Everybody’s business

Lodge pines
It’s not just the Elks that are endangered.

Fraternal organizations including Lions, Optimists, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, granges and more are suffering from an aging membership and a lack of interest in such groups. Some have even had to—gasp!—accept women into their ranks.

It’s easy to say “so what” to what at first glance seem like good ol’ boys clubs. But these social organizations are also service organizations, and as they dry up so do the funds they raised, through member dues and special projects.

The local chapter of Rebekah’s Lodge, the ladies’ auxiliary to the 200-year-old Independent Order of Odd Fellows, is one of those struggling to stay alive.

Eileen Ritter is one of about 25 members, including many who are elderly and living in nursing homes. Ritter is hoping to breathe new life into the organization by spreading the word. “This is all going to die if we don’t get some publicity out there,” she said.

Rebekah’s Lodge recently donated $5,000 to the Butte County library system for large-print books. And money has also gone toward children with disabilities, the World Eye Bank and other charities.

For more information, call Kids’ Kingdom (an indoor play area owned by Ritter’s daughter) at 343-5437.

Kicked in the tacqueria
I don’t normally play favorites, but El Patron is definitely my favorite local taqueria. It was to my great sorrow that during part of my pregnancy and during the first few months breastfeeding I could not partake in Patron’s delicious, life-giving chile relleno burrito.

Now, happy day. El Patron is opening a second location much closer to my house than its original site on East Avenue near Safeway.

The new Patron will be located at 2454 Notre Dame Blvd. Suite 100, which is next to yet another cash-advance joint and one of the gazillion new mattress stores. It’s near Lowe’s, Austin’s Home Furnishers, McDonald’s—you get the drift.

Calendar grill
Here’s a plug for a fund-raiser that’s useful and pretty, too.

The Middle Mountain Foundation has come out with its first calendar. Dated for 2006, it features the Sutter Buttes gorgeously photographed in all seasons by Peter Sands, Bill Knorr, Ken Calhoun, Jeff Lock, David Garcal, Walt Anderson, Anthony Dunn, Brian Hausback and Ron Sanford.

As all good North Valley residents know, the Sutter Buttes is the world’s smallest mountain range. If you want to help preserve it by ponying up a tax-deductible donation, get a calendar or learn about hikes, visit www.middlemountain.org or call 671-6116.