Judgment calls

Rock don’t need no water
Rock don’t need no air
Rock don’t need no people
Rock don’t even care

The line between inspired and insipid can be razor thin—that’s one of the things I took away from our first Poetry 99 contest.

Out of the 400 poems judged by the CN&R’s Editorial staff, “Rock” is the one that stuck in my brain. Inspired? Insipid? That’s a judgment call. Two other editors found depth in these seemingly simple lines, so you’ll find Z. A. West among the people published in this issue’s Poetry 99 collection.

The contest rules were simple: Write a poem shorter than 100 words and send it in by Nov. 1. A couple readers questioned whether the word count would count out some worthy entries, but hardly anyone came close to 99 words.

Check out the honor roll and see what you think. Then click here for favorites of mine that didn’t resonate as strongly with my colleagues.

Oh, and please put “Poetry Slam” on your calendar for Dec. 1—at 8 p.m., we’ll hold our spoken-word competition at the Crux Artist Collective, and the mike will be open for our written winners … and anyone who thinks he or she should’ve won.

Drumroll, please: In this week’s issue, the CN&R debuts two new Calendar pages—one for Oroville, one for the Ridge. These places not only have their own identities, they also have their own activities, so breaking them out makes their events easier to locate. Plus, this frees up space to list more happenings in Chico.

The posting process remains the same: Register here, then upload your event information.

Sigh of relief: One of our inaugural Best on the Ridge winners nearly had to liquidate before it could put up its plaque.

As noted in the Best Treasure Trove write-up, Books of Paradise will lose its storefront to a wrecking ball, and its owners were having a hard time finding an affordable replacement. But they secured another spot on the Skyway, so we’re moving signs have replaced we’re closing.

For kids—and Mary Anne: A trust fund helping abused and neglected children has been renamed in recognition of a cherished champion.

The Frank Watters and Mary Anne Houx Children’s Fund collects tax-deductible donations from Butte County residents when they pay property taxes. From the Watters fund’s 1994 inception through this June, some 12,750 donors gave almost $425,000, yielding $850,000 more in government matches. Money has gone to augment counseling, court advocacy (CASA), parenting classes and other services.

Some of the candles at the child-abuse-awareness walk Dec. 7 in Chico’s Children’s Park undoubtedly will be for Houx, the long-time county supervisor who succumbed to cancer last year.

And finally: Our drivers like to spend Thanksgiving with their families, and we like to make sure they can. So look for the next issue of the Chico News & Review a day earlier, on Wednesday the 21st. We’ll go back to Thursday the following week.