Smoke ’em if ya got ’em

In a move reminiscent of ye olde “smokers’ rock” of high-school lore, cigarette smokers on the Chico State University campus will be benched if an updated smoking policy is implemented.

The California State University Board of Trustees’ recent decision to leave campus smoking policies up to the individual presidents has prompted university committees to bring Chico State’s policy, drafted in 1988 and revised in 2001, out of mothballs. The policy calls for moving cigarette urns 25 feet from doorways, establishing designated smoking areas, installing signs and directing university police to cite violators with a punishment similar to that faced by skateboarders or roller-skaters caught in action on campus.

The Associated Students Governmental Affairs Committee on Sept. 24 looked at revisions suggested by the Faculty and Student Policy Committee, which reports to the Academic Senate. Smoking would be prohibited not only inside university buildings, but also within 25 feet of doorways, windows, breezeways and awnings.

“The regulation of is this is going to be difficult,” said Jimmy Reed, A.S. president and a former smoker. “[Police] already have a minimal staff.”

Fay Roepcke, A.S. director of legislative affairs, is a smoker. If smokers are going to be relegated to benches, she said, there needs to be an awning or some form of protection. “That’s just inappropriate to ask smokers to smoke in the rain.”

Mario Sagastume, A.S. commissioner of activity fee, said he used to smoke himself and had no problem carrying an umbrella on smoke breaks. “Wah, wah—no offense,” he said. “We’re already subsidizing smoking by providing new benches.”

No more mail order for me!

Chicoans need look no further for their gag gift needs. Spencer Gifts is opening Sept. 27 in the Chico Mall, bringing with it a wide range of specialty gifts, from SpongeBob SquarePants lollypops to cute skunk costumes for baby’s Halloween to adult products such as glow-in-the-dark vibrators (no more late-night fumbling) and cupless teddies.

“We are very excited about the opening of Spencer Gifts. Although it is a store targeted at young adults and college students, any shopper will be able to walk into the store and find something to buy,” said Carrie Denniston, the mall’s marketing manager. “Their assortment of gifts and novelties is more than we had ever imagined.”

An especially big seller for the college crowd should be Hustler’s “My First Vibe,” which comes in an array of colors, just in time for Christmas.

It turns out plans are also in the works for another trendy mall shop, Hot Topic. To give you a sense of the Hot Topic clientele, when I shop there I feel really old and not nearly pierced enough. There’s a whole new generation of shoppers who look on Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears as retro-kitsch. Hot Topic has shirts with the bad-girl version of Hello Kitty and my personal favorite, Emily the Strange, who is supposed to be some kind of depressed Goth girl, but I just like the hats with cat ears.

Garbage in, garbage out

Rusty shopping carts and waterlogged mattresses were among the finds 160 volunteers hauled out during the Bidwell Park and Creeks of Chico Cleanup 2002, held Sept. 21 and hosted by the Butte Environmental Center.

Barbara Vlamis, BEC’s executive director, said the crew tackled Bidwell Park, Lindo Channel, Big Chico Creek, Little Chico Creek and Comanche Creek in its quest to rid Chico’s natural spots of trash and junk. Volunteers filled five bins full of everything from scrap metal to bicycles.

"The creeks are more impacted every year, it seems," Vlamis said, due to homeless encampments, "people avoiding fees at the dumps" and just plain carelessness. When she’s in the Upper Park wilderness and comes across an ironically placed fast-food cup, "it’s like a disconnect."