EditorialWe applaud CUSD creativity
With a whopping $9.4 million still to be cut from the Chico Unified School District’s budget over the next two years, the district is coming up with some innovative ways to make ends meet and avoid the proverbial shit hitting the fan.
We applaud the district’s recent moves to increase the student-teacher ratio to 47:1 in all classrooms, including special education, and to change the school-principal ratio to 2:1 across the board. We also like the new $125-per-month school-bus “iPass”—why shouldn’t kids have a share in picking up some of the financial burden of this crisis? They might learn something.
The elimination of all fine-arts, music and physical education instruction was a no-brainer. And the district’s move to get rid of textbooks, school libraries and basic math instruction? Genius! We are, after all, living in the age of computers (can you say “Wikipedia”?) and smartphones.
But the district’s financial savvy goes well beyond making long-overdue cuts.
“We are in the process of working out the process by which we will begin the first phase of the construction of a brand-new water park on the grounds of Chico High School,” CUSD Superintendent Kelly Stoolie told the CN&R. What a great idea!
To be called PantherWorld, after the school’s mascot, the new big-cat-themed attraction will take up the remaining grassy area at the high school and will feature a wave-pool, a leisure river, three enclosed twister-slides, as well as a three-story-high, triple-looped, six-lane water slide called The Cougar, and the world’s first partially underground log-ride slated to be named The Subterranean Lion. We strongly urge the school board to grant approval of this project. Chico has long been in need of a water park—why not build one that aids education?
Staley estimates that PantherWorld will earn approximately $2 million in its first year of operation. The park is scheduled to open in December of this year.
“It’s really an exciting time for the district,” bubbled Stoolie. “Who would have thought that so much good news could come out of this economic crisis? We really are making lemonade out of lemons.”
Guest commentMosquitoes need love, too
It’s time to end the insect holocaust that kills them by the billions
By Cindy Softy
Every year about this time, local officials begin a massacre of biblical proportions. Billions of defenseless, innocent insects are murdered, and why? Fear, that’s why.
I’m speaking, of course, about mosquitoes, those tiny, fragile—and much maligned—flying creatures that comprise such an essential link on nature’s food chain. Without mosquitoes, we’d have no bats. Spiders would go hungry. The fish in our ponds and the birds in the air would lack food, too.
Did you know that mosquito larvae are effective at cleaning polluted ponds? And that they breathe air, just like us?
Yes, I know mosquitoes sometimes carry diseases. But they don’t mean to. They don’t intend to hurt anyone. They’re just being themselves, filling up on blood to feed their babies (just the moms; the dads don’t need blood). It’s a wonderful thing, if you think about it, life replenishing itself, nature reproducing in all its glory.
And what do we do in response? We kill them. Some of us just slap them dead when they happen to land on us to obtain blood. That’s bad enough. If we were truly devoted to protecting life, we’d just brush them off, like Buddhist monks do. Or let them take our blood, gladly sacrificing so they can reproduce.
Slapping them dead is nothing compared to what we do to them collectively: spray tons and tons of terrible, toxic poisons on these poor creatures, murdering them by the billions in an insect holocaust. Try to imagine their terror. Picture the movie Antz and imagine it as Mosquitoez.
Please consider joining our group, Lovers United for Mosquito Protection (LUMP). Show you care about even the tiniest creature. For more information, call 555-BITE.
From This CartonMe and Wally
We get down in the steam room
By Robert Spearchucker
I had an unlikely encounter the other day with our congressman, Wally Burger. I hadn’t realized we were members of the same fitness club. Well, there we were, in the steam room, both as naked as jaybirds, so we didn’t recognize each other at first. I gotta say, Wally’s not exercising as much as he should be. He’s starting to show the effects of gravity. Admittedly, I’m not one to talk. We both could stand to lose a few, though my fat is liberal and his is conservative, which makes mine better than his.
“Wally, what’s new?” I asked.
“Oh golly,” he replied, “it’s just wild in Washington these days. We’ve got that health-care stuff going on, you know, oh boy, it’s really something. Pretty complicated, too. I tried to read the Democrats’ bill, but, gee whiz, it was fatter than a D.C. phone book, and you know how those bills are written. You have to be a lawyer to understand them, and I never graduated from college!” He laughed.
That’s Wally for you. He wants folks to think he’s a half-educated doofus who grew up in East Nicholas and that the voters are as smart as he is even though they work for Walmart and make 26 grand a year and he works for the guvmint and makes a whole lot more than that and is a millionaire to boot. You don’t win Republican votes if you’re a smarty-pants.
You know that old saw, “Don’t believe what you read in the papers”? You can forget about that as far as this April 1 issue of the CN&R is concerned. This is the truthiest paper we’ve ever published. First off, there’s Marydeth Cooper’s exposé of the CN&R’s clever response to the economic downturn. Personally, I’m looking forward to the topless carwashes. Then there’s my own report on the City Council’s latest effort to find a site for the disc-golf short course. City Plaza isn’t working out, apparently. Our Greenways feature focuses on our world-renowned Coast Range brewery (Chico, the town beer made famous!) and its latest move to become 100 percent self-sufficient. It won’t smell, we’re told. Finally, you’ll enjoy Jackson “Hopalong” Cassidy’s story about Mam’s, the eatery that elevates dining to a new level. What can we say? It doesn’t suck.
Hurray for Walmart
Walmart should be commended on its new and improved plans to upgrade and expand its store. It was a real disappointment last year when the lefty, extortionist Chico City Council turned down the previous plan. How totally unpatriotic. However, I actually think this new building is going to serve the community much better.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around having a grocery component on the second story of the building, but I suppose it makes sense considering the first level is what will hold the showroom floor for the company’s new line of automobiles, the Wa-go.
Ann Swab, the queen of sustainability, should be happy with the third-story indoor international farmers’ market. Just think of 20,000 square feet of delicious produce from interesting quaint farming communities such as Chile, Mexico and China. Now that’s eco-friendly!
I’ve also taken note of Walmart’s new policy directive that gets rid of that prejudicial “no shirt, no service” rule. Hello, not every Chicoan can afford shirts and shoes these days. The council members would know that if they didn’t hate poor people so much.
Cops are the bad guys
Years ago, when I still wrote fiction, I penned a screenplay eerily similar to the recently released Kevin Smith-directed film Cop Out. Two buddy cops who go out in search of a prized coin rather than a baseball card like in the movie. In my version, the cops face off against a group of thugs who hate cops and challenge their authority.
The thugs in my script are based on me. If I had my way around this town, we wouldn’t have police officers, we’d have peace officers, and they’d ride around on Segues and politely ask us to follow the law. It’s absurd how often they abuse their authority—my solution, take the authority away! Instead of badges, they’ll wear peace flags and instead of guns they’ll carry candy in their holsters, because, really, who doesn’t like candy? And don’t get me started on female cops—does anyone respect their authority anyway?
In my script, after fighting the thugs, the two buddy cops head over to the local casino and one of them accidentally throws down his lucky silver dollar, a really sentimental coin. Then he has to track it down from the bozo who won it. I won’t tell the rest, in case someone else wants to take my idea as his own.
It’s really unbelievable how rampant these script thieves are in Hollywood. A word to the wise: Protect your words!
Mikey P. Peterson