Live from East Avenue…

Four years after staking out success on Salem and First streets, Celestino’s N.Y. Style Pizza is adding a second location to feed Chico’s pizza-lovers.

“A lot of people have been asking me to put something at that end of town,” owner Celestino Gencarelli said of the area by the East Avenue Marketplace (you know, by the best Safeway), which is booming with new houses. The new Celestino’s will form another base for deliveries and pickups and will also serve up slices to the Pleasant Valley High School set. (Celestino’s is known for its pocketbook-friendly slice-and-soda deals).

The new joint, with its full kitchen, will give Gencarelli a chance to expand his catering business. “We’re going to do a lot more cooking,” he said. There will be pasta, vegetarian dishes, chicken and more.

The new Celestino’s should be open in “May sometime,” said Gencarelli, whose last name is known by few: He’s just Celestino. Changing times for agriculture have sparked the proposal of a new course at Chico High School: agriculture economics and government. Teacher David Wemp has long been offering a class about the economics of agriculture, which also meets the district and state requirements of a “traditional” economics class. But in recent years, he said, it’s become more important that farmers be aware of the decisions being made by lawmakers, which of course end up affecting them economically.

“One of the objectives is for the students to understand how economics and government interact,” Wemp explained. People in agriculture need to know how to tell their story to the government and the population in general. “We’re able to produce things really well but we’re not that great at marketing,” he said.

Wemp, whose course will include topics ranging from elections to ag credit to ethics to policy, expects that in class “we’ll have some debating—we’ll call it discussion.”

The Chico Unified School District Board of Trustees was slated May 2 to consider adding the course to Chico High’s fall schedule. Wemp and crew put a year’s worth of effort into the very detailed proposal, and he was confident it would get the green light.I ate dinner at Chico BrewHouse last week, and they were serving up a not-so-tasty 3-percent “energy surcharge.” You can’t blame them, though: Like all small businesses, they’re dealing with rising costs and were really open about passing it on in the form of a surcharge, rather than just jacking up the prices and leaving you wondering why.

The waitress gave me a paper from the owners, Dan Goodrich and John Abbott, which explained that it’s not just the PG&E rates but also "large increases in the minimum wage, rent, food, supplies and workman’s compensation insurance costs." When energy prices go down (they’re being optimistic by saying "when" instead of "if"), they’ll get rid of the surcharge.