Hello, Chief

It’s been four months since Leslie Deniz took over as police chief at Chico State University, but college and law enforcement officials gathered Sept. 12 for a special “changing of the guard” ceremony, which made the shift seem all the more official.

Her new colleagues were there to welcome her—and renew their commitment to the Code of Ethics—and her old comrades at the Yuba City Police Department were there to wish her well.

Chico State President Manuel Esteban, upon seeing those assembled in dark uniforms, laughed, “I really feel safe.”

It was a homecoming of sorts for Deniz, who graduated from Chico State in 1989 with a degree in community service. A former Olympic athlete, Deniz lived in Chico even as she served as a lieutenant in Yuba City. She replaced Mike Minard, who retired as Chico State’s chief in December 2000 and made an appearance at Thursday’s event.

After taking the Constitutional Oath, Deniz received a salute and gave a short speech. She said she wants the department to be “open and helpful,” working with other law enforcement agencies and making sure students, parents, community members and other visitors know “they’re going to be safe while they’re here.”

Curious, George

Wow, I thought state Attorney General Bill Lockyer had it in for California’s nursing homes, what with all the settlements and such he’s secured against them. Now he’s set his sights on former boxer George Foreman. California is among the 44 states, plus Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, that recently reached a settlement with Salton, Inc., the makers of the Foreman grills. The company had been accused of violating anti-trust laws by “coercing retailers into fixing the price of the George Foreman contact grills and keeping competing grills off store shelves.” If the courts approve the settlement agreement, the company will pay $8 million, plus $200,000 in investigative expenses. California should get about $900,000 to use for health care and nutrition grants.

By way of a disclaimer, let me say that we got three George Foreman grills for our wedding (Aside: Yes, yours is the one we kept) and are quite pleased with their performance.

Foreman didn’t write back from the e-mail address in relation to which he stated, “I always answer my own e-mail and it’s only me,” and Salton representatives referred me to a Sept. 6 press release about their quarterly and yearly earnings. There, they state, they’ve entered into agreements regarding their “conduct with retailers,” which will allow them to “resolve this matter without the distractions and costs of investigation and likely litigation.”

Lookin’ good in the neighborhood

Chico’s own Doe Mill Neighborhood, developed by Tom DiGiovanni as a return to the cozy neighborhood feel of days gone by, is being featured in an advertising campaign for the Jeld-Wen Door Manufacturing Company, which is based in Klamath Falls, Ore.

DiGiovanni said the neighborhood’s atmosphere and Craftsman-style design caught the eyes of company executives at a builders’ conference in San Francisco last summer. “I think they also really dig the way the street is formed and pulled together,” he said. They saw “what we call our ‘baby pictures,'” DiGiovanni said. “We’d already put those doors on 20 homes, and they really fit with the design.”

The team of photographers and art director arrived in Chico Sept. 16. "I had no idea it would be so involved," said DiGiovanni, who is building out the 180-unit project in stages but barely keeping up with the impressive demand. About a dozen families have already moved in.