Some of the people who shared the spirit
This 30th-anniversary issue has got us poring over back issues of the paper and thinking of the friends and associates we’ve met on our journey.
Some of them go all the way back with us, to the late-1970s, when they were young and idealistic veterans of the culture wars of the Vietnam War era. Their names pop up often in early editions of the CN&R because they were intensely involved in the community, and they have remained so to this day.
Most have lived here the whole time, while some have moved away shortly and then returned. We think of them as “30-year warriors,” people who have been able to merge their desire to make Chico a better place with their own need to make a living.
Here are some of them. They’re a varied group, and each has contributed in a different way, but we believe they well represent the generation that gave birth to this paper and the spirit that has sustained it. Chico is a different town because of them, and others like them, and we’re grateful for their contributions.
The long-time county supervisor goes all the way back to the very beginning, to 1971. As an activist student-body president at Chico State, she selected an editor for the campus newspaper, the Wildcat, who was also an activist. He in turn built a staff that eventually, in 1977, took the paper off campus and formed the CN&R.
The paper was always a strong supporter of her—as well as a studious critic of her only serious opponent, Bernie Richter, the incumbent supervisor she defeated in 1978, when she was just 24 years old. We’re proud of that support and the resultant success Dolan has had as a Butte County leader.
The former Chico State dean of students was a pivotal figure during the notorious gun strike of 1975-76, when students occupied Kendall Hall for two months, protesting the arming of campus police. Wildcat staffers got to like him then, and the affection remained long after the birth of the CN&R.
Baily, now retired, is widely known for his volunteering, especially as an emcee, where his silky basso and smooth style lend an air of savoir faire to any event. And he’s worked countless hours on behalf of KCHO as a fund raiser, on air and off. He was one of the co-founders of the Boys & Girls Clubs and secretary of its board for several years. And he currently is secretary of the statewide Retired Public Employees Association.Maureen Pierce
An anti-nuke activist and student body officer at Chico State during the mid-1970s, Pierce went on to become a director of the Chico Feminist Women’s Health Center during the 1980s, a period when it was battling sometimes violent anti-abortion activists and the Chico medical establishment.
After that she opened the first independent adoption center in Chico and worked for Parent Education Network before becoming executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley in 1997. Under her leadership, the organization has built a large new facility in downtown Chico, opened four sites in Paradise and next month will open a site inside the county Juvenile Hall in Oroville.Bob Linscheid
In 1975, Linscheid, who was then student body president at Chico State, found himself caught up in the infamous two-month gun strike and occupation of the administration building (see above). It was his role to negotiate between the striking students (and some teachers) and the CSU Chancellor’s Office, and he did a good job of it.
His skill as a fixer and negotiator has served him well. He left town for a while in the 1980s, but returned to become executive director of the Chico Chamber of Commerce before becoming the maven of economic development who today heads Bob Linscheid & Associates. Most Chicoans know and appreciate him, however, as the man who brought pro baseball to Chico, serving as general manager of the Chico Heat and now as president of the Chico Outlaws.
Two things have characterized Dechter’s work in Chico: a love of folk music and a devotion to public radio and television.
Three years after arriving here in 1978, Dechter began hosting the weekly Good Old Fashion Folk Music Show on KCHO public radio, and she has been doing so ever since. In the meantime, the Paradise resident was volunteering at both KCHO and KIXE, the public television station in Redding. There she agreed to produce a live music show, Stage 9, that eventually got picked up by a third of the PBS stations in the country.
For 14 years she served as station manager of KFPR, KCHO’s Redding outlet, while continuing her volunteer work with KIXE. Largely because of her, the two stations have developed a close working relationship, and each has offices in the other’s home studio.
Dechter is now news director at KCHO and happy, she says, to be back in Chico among all her musician friends.Scott Teeple
When it comes to public art in Chico, nobody has done more than Teeple in the years since he began painting murals in the late ‘70s. As he himself says, “You can’t walk a block downtown without seeing one of my paintings.” From the image of the Bidwells on Second Street to his newest work, the old Chico Normal School pictured on the Chico Museum, Teeple’s art defines the city’s visual space.
As prolific as he’s been in Chico, it’s only a small part of his work. He’s brightened homes, restaurants, fences and walls of all kinds throughout Northern California. It’s feast-or-famine work, with never a regular paycheck, and has given him “a tenuous hold on bill-paying,” but it’s also made him many friends and been endlessly fun to do, he says.Willie Hyman
Nobody speaks truth about the racism black people, and especially young black men, face every day with more consistency and firmness than Willie Hyman. There’s a reason so many black men end up in the “cop justice system,” as he calls it, and it’s not because they’re more inclined to crime than others.
A resident of Chico since 1976, when he came here to take a job with CARD, Hyman co-founded the Butte Community Coalition in 1978 and has been fighting racism vigorously ever since, using lawsuits, the media and testimony before lawmakers to press his group’s case. What many people don’t know is that he’s also an accomplished fine-arts photographer who’s had shows in numerous museums and galleries in Northern California.Ken Grossman
We can remember when Sierra Nevada’s founder used to drive up to LaSalles in a pickup truck and unload kegs of Pale Ale himself. At the time he and the brewery’s co-founder, Paul Camusi, were also its only employees. How things have changed.
More than anyone, Grossman has put Chico on the map. That we’re known for beer may seem less than ideal to some, but really it’s about quality and commitment. Grossman isn’t just a brewer, he’s an artist among brewers. And, with his fuel cells, extensive recycling and pending solar array, he’s also made Sierra Nevada an international exemplar of sustainability.Ed Bronson
As a young assistant professor of political science at Chico State, Bronson wanted to do something for his pre-law students and meet a pressing community need at the same time. There were no legal services for the poor at the time, so he proceeded to set up the various groups that became the Community Legal Information Center.
Today a wide range of programs and services can be traced back to Bronson’s efforts: the Own Recognizance Bail program, the Independent Living Center, the Area Agency on Aging and the Community Housing Improvement Program, among many others. Nobody we know has done as much to organize programs for people as Ed Bronson.
Meanwhile he became one of the country’s foremost experts on the death penalty, and over the years he has testified at hundreds of trials on death penalty jury qualification and venue change.
We first knew Berkow as an early contributor to the CN&R as well as a frontman for some jumping bands of the late ‘70s and early ‘80s, including Peter Berkow & Friends. He also produced records featuring local musicians. Then he became editor of Off the Record, a faux alternative newsweekly published by the Enterprise-Record to compete with the CN&R. When the E-R pulled the plug on it, he went back to school, got his master’s and started teaching journalism at Shasta College.
Since then he’s become, with the help of his videographer wife, Anita, a successful producer of PBS educational video series as well as Sierra Center Stage, the PBS roots-music series emanating from the Sierra Nevada Big Room. He’s still making music and performing, and he still writes the occasional piece for the CN&R.
CN&R staffers first got to know Parrott in the late 1970s, when they often lunched at his little sandwich shop in what was then known as the Upstairs Shopping Mall, on Broadway. He later opened a restaurant, California Kitchen, at 1020 Main St., but when it sank, he wasn’t sure what to do with his kitchen. He thought of making tofu, but he’d never eaten good tofu before.
“A hippie gal told me I needed to eat fresh tofu,” he recently related. “So I paid her $5, we made two pounds of it, and I went, ‘Oh, there’s really a need for this.'”
For the next 25 years, until he sold the business last year, Parrott provided Chicoans with the gift of fresh, handmade, healthful tofu—and in the process created a generation of tofu lovers who knew that, when it comes to tofu, freshness and quality are everything.