Golden Archer

At the long-neglected building at the corner of Third and Main streets, there are empty skeletons where awnings used to be, along with signs of fresh paint and a new roof. The structure that houses 5th Street Clothing Co., Crazy Horse Saloon, the Jean Farm, Gina Marie’s and Preston’s Shoe Repair, among other things, is undergoing a transformation.

Frank E. Archer recently bought the property from its San Jose owners and set about doing what reportedly hasn’t been done in more than 20 years: taking good care of it. “It’s pride of ownership. It was a very run-down building. … I think the former owner had never seen the building,” said Archer, who moved to Chico not quite a year ago but has been doing real estate business here since the 1980s. “I love Chico, and I love the fact that it’s downtown so close to the college,” he said of the building, which is 100-percent occupied.

Archer said he’s putting $50,000 into the initial renovation, which includes the new, burgundy awning that should arrive any day now, plus the painting and roof work.

Preston Powers, the cobbler, is excited about the changes. He’s moved a few doors down to 161 East Third St. “This is going to do nothing but help our business,” said Powers, who doesn’t even care if his rent goes up. “Nobody’s done anything to this poor, old building in a long time.”

Good soles

There was a quiet little fund-raiser going on last week at the Birkenstock store in downtown Chico. Without much fanfare, the owner decided to give all of the money the shop brought in on Friday, Sept. 14—not just profit; all money from sales—to the relief effort for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Celeste Baker said the idea came to her as she was driving to work that morning, a day when many stores chose to close. “I just decided we’d put a sign out up front saying that [we’d donate] whatever came through the door,” she said. “It’s hard, when we’re on the West Coast, to be doing anything.”

Most heartening, she said, were the people who saw the sign and popped in to add cash to the pot or buy shoes they weren’t even planning on. All told, $2,300 was sent to the American Red Cross.

Hail Cesar

A year after Gov. Gray Davis created a state holiday in honor of farm-worker-union organizer/hero Cesar Chavez, the state Department of Education continues to work on the associated curriculum that will teach schoolchildren about Chavez’s cause.

The CDE has contracted with SCIENTECH to develop the curriculum, which is to be about the union leader’s life and work. Whatever they come up with, it won’t just be one lesson on Cesar Chavez Day, but rather something that will be integrated into the year’s study of history and social science.

If you want to say what you think should happen, get ready for the public hearing set for January 2002 or check out the Web site at