Army at the airport

The Chico Municipal Airport is expecting some help in the form of National Guardsmen who will augment security at the city facility in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C.

Airport Manager Bob Grierson—himself a major in the National Guard—said the five guardsmen were expected to arrive sometime this week. Meanwhile, even with Chico having lost its last flight time of the day, the number of travelers is about back to normal.

“We are already quite secure. We meet all FFA standards,” Grierson said. But when the government decides something must be done, it doesn’t differentiate between big airports and little ones, which are less likely to be threatened. That’s proven frustrating for the Chico airport, which can’t even use its new, $379,000 parking lot because it falls within the new forbidden zone—300 feet of the terminal—as do the old lots. A temporary lot to accommodate 90 cars has been set up, and the Chico Municipal Airport has applied to Washington for an exemption, but “they’re just not approving it,” Grierson said.

“What they want is bomb-sniffing dogs, concrete barricades and every container within 50 feet opened and inspected. They’ve got one playbook,” shrugged Grierson, talking about the FFA, which isn’t footing the bill for any of this.

Grierson, a good Army man, respects the process, so he didn’t want to criticize when I asked what he thought of the whole thing. But he offered his mom’s observation: “They’re shutting the barn door after the horse escaped.”

Tower of power?

When the News & Review reported a while back on the closure of Tower Books in downtown Chico and the opening of a Tower used-CDs store in an attempt to diversify, we mentioned that the record stores’ Sacramento-based parent corporation, MTS Inc., wasn’t doing too well financially.

Now, the company has nailed down some money to keep itself in business by securing more operating cash by reducing debt payments in a way its creditors can agree with. (The debt earned Tower the dubious distinction of lower bond ratings and talk of bankruptcy.) The refinancing option staves off bankruptcy, according to national news reports, and is a positive for the company.

Young love

We’re proud of our esteemed calendar editor and writer John W. Young. He was walking around the office shyly giddy at having received a request from the Orland Free Library to include his literary and reporting works on a special shelf showcasing local authors. He graduated from Orland High School sometime in the turbulent 1970s. Young’s hometown library is celebrating its 85th birthday on Nov. 3, and he’s been invited to be honored.

“I guess I’ll have to work out how to get over there,” said Young, who may be a famous writer but can’t afford a car. “I’m flattered that I was invited to be a part of the Orland library’s honoring local writers. Orland’s a great place to grow up.”

Now he has to submit a photo and write a little bio of himself to include in what the library guy calls the "John Young Binder." That’s pretty cool.