What’s in a name?

Hey, it could be worse. It could be Ted Kaczynski.

Mitch Crooks, president of the Communication Workers of America Local 9414 in Chico, has been fielding calls from reporters wondering if he’s the same Mitch Crooks who made the videotape of the white officer beating the black teen in an Inglewood gas station a few weeks ago. That Crooks has since been arrested on outstanding warrants.

“I’ve been receiving calls from all over the country,” Chico’s Crooks said, “but I’m not the videotaper.”

I thought Crooks’ name sounded familiar when I heard it on the radio, but I couldn’t immediately place him. A quick search of CN&R archives turned up his union work, and I called him.

Crooks has been good-natured about the confusion, even suggesting to reporters—including one from People magazine—that if they ever want to talk about labor issues, he’s their man.

“I’m 58 years old and I’ve never, ever once had an encounter with someone with the same name,” said Crooks, who has found the recent situation only mildly distracting. “I think my wife is starting to let the calls go to recorder.”

Dove soars again

Less than a year after she was forced to shut down her Dove’s Secret Garden gift shop to make way for a massive remodel at the North Valley Plaza mall, Dove Detches has found a new home in the Chico Mall. Detches already runs the Thomas Kinkade Signature Gallery there and has a shop in Paradise.

“I’m elated. I feel like the luckiest person in the world,” said Detches, who had felt at home at NVP and was sorry to have to leave, especially so close to the profitable Christmas shopping season.

This time, Detches is going the franchise route, signing on to own a Country Clutter store. “I was looking for a way to compete with the big boxes,” she explained. “My buying power is so much better when I can go in with 60 other stores.” She’ll be able to carry many of the same lines—like Boyd’s Bears—that she did at the NVP, but she’ll also have the help of Country Clutter and other owners in advertising, planning events and generating ideas. She hopes to be open by October.

Detches mentioned that she wanted to dispel rumors that her store, which will be located where Deb’s Hallmark was, had anything to do with the exit of Calico Goose, which moved to Forest Avenue and 20th Street after its lease was not renewed. “I would never be the cause of someone else having to leave, and they [mall management] assured me that I wasn’t.”

Stick it to the man

I hate to be cynical (OK, I like it), but I’ll bet AT&T Broadband is hoping most of its Chico customers will toss the junk that comes with the cable bill without realizing that there’s a $2 coupon enclosed.

It’s not that AT&T loves us and wants to give us back money, but the city loves us very much and has struck a deal with the corporate television service to help compensate customers for being out of compliance with city customer service regulations.

Besides the coupon, AT&T agreed to give the city $15,000. But it won’t just do what sounds much simpler: knock $2 off our next bill. So, dear readers, use that darn coupon and show them we’re watching.