Crop ’til you drop

I’d like to start off by using the mighty power of my column to wish a happy first anniversary to Magic Moments & Keepsakes, the scrapbooking store owned by Michele and Pat Lehane. It’s located in the Almond Orchard Shopping Center on Pillsbury Road, and so am I every chance I get. Michele has turned the shop into quite the home-away-from-home for us scrap-happy folk, and we all hope she stays in business for, say, a million more years—or at least until we all get our scrapbooks done.

“Scrapbooking,” in case you haven’t heard the noun, is when you take your photos and add cardstock, patterned paper, stickers and other embellishments to complement the images you want to preserve. You’re making an heirloom for your family at the same time you’re doing a fun craft and getting in a little socializing.

Suffer the children

Advocates for families that need affordable child care are speaking out against Gov. Gray Davis‘ proposed budget, which would discontinue subsidized care for people in the end stages of welfare-to-work programs and also lessen the amount of money paid via subsidies to child care providers. Essentially, low-income parents will be paying more.

“We’re going to find a lot of kids home by themselves,” said Inde Bryant, a client services coordinator with the nonprofit Valley Oak Children’s Services.

About half the children in day care are there with the help of subsidies. Bryant said that if Davis’ plan goes through, both parents and providers will suffer. Parents who pay full price would likely see their share increase, unless the providers can find a way to get by on less money. “It’s going to put child care providers out of business,” Bryant said.

As part of its new parent advocacy program, VOCS is urging citizens to come to one of several events around Butte County to get information and fill out cards showing how much of a bite child care takes out of the family budget. The next one will be on April 5 from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Little Chico Creek Elementary School, where the Chico Area Recreation District’s off-track camp is being held. Then, on April 25, the new parent advocacy group will meet at VOCS offices at 289 Rio Lindo Ave.

“We’re taking pictures,” Bryant mentioned, “so the people with the big suits know these are not just numbers that we’re cutting, these are actual children.”

Sweet or sour?

I asked our able intern, Stuart L. Kuhlman, to look into a new deal brokered by a local olive producer. Rumor was, it had nothing to do with olives. His report follows.

Lots and lots of pickles come from JL DeGraffenereid and Sons pickle factory in Springfield, Mo.—about 40,000 tons of pickles.

A couple of months ago, Bell Carter Olives of Corning, looking for ways to diversify, finalized the purchase of the 58-year-old pickle business.

Mike McLaughlin, vice president of operations for Bell Carter, said that the pickle factory produces pickles for the “limited-menu restaurant industry.” In plain English, that’s the fast-food business.

JL DeGraffenereid and Sons pickles can be found on burgers in several national chains. If you bite into a burger from Burger King, Jack in the Box, Wendy’s or Papa Johns, it’s likely you will be munching on a pickle from their factory.

"Keep ordering those extra pickles on those Jack in the Box burgers," McLaughlin urged.