Readers’ Picks: Community

Matt York

Matt York

Architectural treasure

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Mansion

525 Esplanade, 895-6144

Chicoans' favorite architectural treasure is also its most well-known landmark. The home built by our city's founder, Gen. John Bidwell, was home to the family until his wife, Annie, died in 1918. The Italian villa-style home is three stories and features 26 rooms. Now a state historic park, the home is a museum worth visiting to get a glimpse at life as the Bidwells knew it.

2ND PLACE: Senator Theatre

517 Main St., 891-1809

3RD PLACE: Stansbury Home

307 W. Fifth St., 895-3848

Teacher (K-12)

1ST PLACE: Nicole Nye

Chico Country Day School, 102 W. 11th St., 895-2651

A kindergarten teacher at Chico Country Day School, “Miss Nye” is well-loved by her students, as well as the teachers, parents and staff. Her students are referred to as “Miss Nye's Butterflies,” and most school days Miss Nye wears something with a butterfly on it. She reportedly has butterfly necklaces, purses, shirts and more—many gifts from former students. Part of what sets Miss Nye apart is she takes time to meet with students outside of class. She is known for her soft-spoken manner in achieving complete classroom management.

2ND PLACE: Linda Holm

Wildflower Open Classroom, 2414 Cohasset Road, Ste. 3, 892-1676

3RD PLACE: Renai Barney

Sierra View Elementary School, 1598 Hooker Oak Ave., 891-3117

Local do-gooder

1ST PLACE: Matt York

One Mobile Projector Per Trainer,, 343-7868

Lots of longtime locals remember Matt York and his days as a pioneer at the Chico-based Videomaker Magazine. He is now executive director at One Mobile Projector Per Trainer (check it out on Facebook), a nonprofit that's helping people around the world enjoy the empowerment of making videos in their communities. The organization supplies camcorders and projectors to international organizations.

2ND PLACE: Nicholas Mertz

Stonewall Alliance Center, 358 E. Sixth St., 893-3336

3RD PLACE: Farshad Azad

Azad's Martial Arts, 313 Walnut St., Ste. 150, 892-2923

Farmers’ market vendor


3197 W. Sacramento Ave., 680-4543

Over the years, “Growing Resourcefully Uniting Bellies” has provided education and resources, as well as established community gardens designed to improve our quality of life. The nonprofit is an active proponent of socially and environmentally sustainable agriculture, and the produce offered at local farmers' markets is, according to Chico voters, second to none. The folks at GRUB also have taught hundreds of local children how to grow their own food, paving the way with invaluable lessons for a healthy generation ahead.

2ND PLACE: Chico Chai

1919 Park Ave., 897-0822

3RD PLACE: Guzzetti’s Indian Food & Catering

117 W. 14th St., 896-1467

Instructor/ professor

1ST PLACE: Janet Lombardi Blixt

Butte Humane Society

Chico Art School, 336 Broadway, Ste. 20, 570-3895

For a town with a state university and several colleges, being named Best Instructor/Professor is an accomplishment in itself. But Janet Lombardi Blixt also manages to pull in lots of votes each year for Best Local Visual Artist. She is the owner at Chico Art School, where she instructs artists of all ages—with or without prior experience. Students report Blixt is also an encouraging mentor.

2ND PLACE: Rebecca Brunelli

Chico State, biological sciences

3RD PLACE: Jodi Rives Meier

Butte and Yuba colleges, communication

Place to tie the knot

1ST PLACE: White Ranch

214 Hagenridge Road, 342-6530

Wedding photos to treasure are among the reasons couples love the picturesque White Ranch. The venue boasts tremendous scenery and natural features, including flowers, vegetation, fountains, open fields and more. It's a breath of fresh air in more ways than one, just outside the bustle of Chico off Keefer Road on the north end of town. There's plenty of room to spread your gathering out, as well as privacy to celebrate in.

2ND PLACE: The Palms

2947 Nord Ave., 894-8000

3RD PLACE: Gale Vineyards & Winery

9345 Stanford Lane, Durham, 891-1264

Place for eavesdropping

1ST PLACE: The Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse

118 W. Second St., 895-0676

Considering the Naked Lounge has been named Best Local Coffeehouse, and its location downtown, it should be no surprise that this locals hangout is also the Best Place for Eavesdropping. Stop by for a killer cup of Joe and lean in to hear about your neighbor's most recent love saga or your chem professor's late-night shenanigans. Aint' nothin' wrong with that.

2ND PLACE: Starbucks

Various locations

3RD PLACE: Saturday farmers’ market

Youth organization

1ST PLACE: Boys & Girls Club of North Valley

628 Wall St., 879-5653

When it comes to youth, the Boys & Girls Club of North Valley is a great place to be. With opportunities to play games, get help with homework and socialize outside of school, the club is an ideal spot for kids to just be kids. Its mission is, “To inspire and enable all young people to reach their full potential as responsible, productive and caring citizens.” That's clearly something the nonprofit takes seriously and the community appreciates.

2ND PLACE: Chico Area Recreation and Park District

545 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-4711

3RD PLACE: 6th Street Center for Youth

130 W. Sixth St., 894-8008

Place to pray

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Park

Whether nestled on a blanket under the shade at One-Mile Recreation Area or sitting contentedly, feet dangling into a secluded swimming area along Big Chico Creek, Bidwell Park offers many a serene spot perfect for blocking out the rest of the world. Most often referred to as the “jewel of Chico,” it seems appropriate that in a nature-loving town like ours the locals consider the park the best Place to Pray.

2ND PLACE: Bidwell Presbyterian Church

208 W. First St., 343-1484

3RD PLACE: Chico New Thought Center for Spiritual Living

Linda Watkins Bennett

14 Hillary Lane, 895-8395

Place to volunteer

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2580 Fair St. 343-7917

Chicoans love their pets—that's for darn sure. They also love the lost and abandoned furry friends among them—that's evidenced by their picking Butte Humane Society as the Best Place to Volunteer. Whether you're walking and socializing the dogs and cats, working in the adoptions area or doing dishes and laundry, there are many opportunities to help make the animals' stay at the shelter as comfy—and short—as possible.

2ND PLACE: Enloe Medical Center

1531 Esplanade, 332-7300

3RD PLACE: Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

Local personality

1ST PLACE: Linda Watkins Bennett

CBS 12 and NBC 24

Action News Now producer and anchor Linda Watkins Bennett has been delivering our local news for more than a quarter century. In May, the Chico native was named an “Official Chico Icon” by the group You Know You're From Chico When …. How many of us can boast that? Watkins Bennett has patiently judged more than her share of parades and contests, she's a friendly volunteer and mom around town who feels like a friend on the TV screen, or your neighbor in the newsroom.

2ND PLACE: Megan McMann

CBS 12 and NBC 24

3RD PLACE: Super Elf at the Plant Barn

406 Entler Ave., 345-3121

Customer service

1ST PLACE (tie): Dutch Bros. Coffee

Various locations

1ST PLACE (tie): Trader Joe’s

801 East Ave., Ste. 110, 343-9920

Who hasn't gone to Dutch Bros. for an Annihilator and been blown away by the upbeat, excited baristas who deliver killer coffee with killer smiles? And when was the last time you went to Trader Joe's and were greeted with anything but friendly staff ready to help you find that delicious Mediterranean Hummus and recommend a wine to go with it? We thought so.

3RD PLACE: Christian & Johnson

250 Vallombrosa Ave., Ste. 100, 891-1881

Community event

1ST PLACE: Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

Chico is nestled in prime farm country, so it should come as no surprise that our farmers' markets are a fresh, local food lover's paradise. The year-round Saturday morning downtown market is the go-to place for produce and goodies as well as to socialize. Don't forget the smaller market, either, on Wednesday, for our shopping pleasure.

2ND PLACE: Taste of Chico

3RD PLACE: Thursday Night Market

Charitable cause

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2580 Fair St. 343-7917

2ND PLACE: Torres Community Shelter

101 Silver Dollar Way, 891-9048

3RD PLACE: Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640