Land of cotton
After much effort, a line of 100-percent organic cotton clothing is for sale at the Associated Students Bookstore at Chico State University, and also on the bookstore’s Web site. Students volunteering with the Oroville-based Sustainable Cotton Project led the push to make Chico State’s the first university bookstore in the United States to have such merchandise. The T-shirts are made by Patagonia, one of the first large companies to sign on to the idea of organic cotton in clothing.

The leaders of the effort—like students Kat Polan, Calli Burch and Eddie DeAnda, plus Prof. Mark Stemen and the cotton project’s Will Allen—hope the clothes will make people more aware of organic-cotton-growing methods and their role in reducing the amount of insecticides and pesticides going into the environment.

Butte County, friend to business
Those marketing wizards (I’m not being facetious) at Butte County Economic Development Corporation have launched another campaign aimed at getting the word out about this area and its qualities that relocating businesses might find desirable. A team from the EDC will visit 30 companies each month to try to lure them here. It’s a follow-up on advertising efforts, mainly toward Bay Area manufacturers.

“Personal contact is the key to selling Butte County,” stated Marketing Chairman Rich DeLaby in a press release. A lot of it is about communication at this point: letting companies know Butte County is here for them should they decide to make a move.

(A selling point, as always, is the low wages Butte County folks will toil for, which always strikes me as a good news/bad news element of local economic development efforts.)

The EDC, a collaborative effort between business and government, reports that in “the 2000 marketing year” it helped create close to 400 new jobs. Good thing, because unemployment here is a sorry 7.9 percent—well above the 4.5 percent state average.

In God’s country
I just came back from spending 10 fun-filled days in my native Siskiyou County. I played bingo and poker with my grandma and watched a lot of Iron Chef, Power Puff Girls and Sci Fi Channel re-runs of Quantum Leap, plus Trading Spaces, a really neat show where neighbors redecorate a room in each other’s house. (I tell you, Chico’s cable monopoly, AT&T Broadband, really needs to get on the ball with the selection here. Call them and tell them what’s cool: 342-4242). Anyway, it was all very relaxing.

Gas in Yreka is the second-most expensive in the state, at $2.09 a gallon, according to AAA and me. So my mom has been driving the 40 miles to Ashland, Ore., to fuel up for $1.46. (Chico’s average cost is $1.84 a gallon, up 13 cents in the past month.) In other north Northstate news, the farm and garden store didn’t dye the baby chicks Easter colors this year “because of all those animal-rights wackos” (direct quote). But farmers up north have a lot bigger things on their mind, like the drought in the Klamath Basin. It’s seriously a scary situation: no irrigation water at all for many of the farmers, who are plenty sore at the salmon and sucker fish right about now. Rep. Wally Herger, R-Marysville, was up there listening, as was K. (for “kick-ass senator from the Northstate") Maurice Johannessen.