Readers’ picks: Community

Recognizing the special people and places that give Chico its character

Taste of Chico

Taste of Chico

Photo by Ken Smith

Charitable cause

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2580 Fair St. 343-7917

Chicoans hold a special place in their hearts for animals, so it should be no surprise that Butte Humane Society, whose primary function is to care for the homeless pets in our community, regularly wins Best Charitable Cause. In addition to caring for dogs, cats and other animals in need of a home, BHS facilitates foster care for pets, offers obedience and temperament training, and also runs a low-cost vaccination clinic. The organization is also a fun place to be, earning it a second honor for Best Place to Volunteer.

2ND PLACE: Torres Community Shelter

101 Silver Dollar Way, 891-9048

3RD PLACE: The Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

Community event

1ST PLACE: Taste of Chico

Chico is home to hundreds of eateries, breweries, wineries, food trucks and other businesses dedicated to delivering a huge variety of delicious food and drink to the public, and the best way to sample a good number of them in a short time is at Taste of Chico. The streets of downtown are closed for the popular September event, which features live music, art exhibits and plentiful people-watching opportunities, and is made possible by the hard work of more than 150 volunteers.

2ND PLACE: Saturday Chico Certified Farmers’ Market

3RD PLACE: Thursday Night Market

Place to volunteer

1ST PLACE: Butte Humane Society

2580 Fair St. 343-7917

2ND PLACE: The Jesus Center

1297 Park Ave., 345-2640

3RD PLACE: Torres Community Shelter

101 Silver Dollar Way, 891-9048


1ST PLACE: Farshad Azad

Azad’s Martial Arts Family Center, 313 Walnut St., Ste. 150, 892-2923

Farshad Azad has influenced the lives of hundreds of students, from children to seniors. But he’s also known for his activism in the community. Many Thanksgivings ago, the martial arts instructor started a community drive, dubbed the Basket Brigade, to assemble and deliver food baskets for local needy families. He has organized many of the downtown Parade of Lights festivals, bringing together groups and organizations for a bright event celebrating community. He’s also given back through working with the Chico Noon Exchange Club. Is there anything this guy doesn’t do?

2ND PLACE: Nicholas Mertz

Relay for Life, Stonewall Alliance

3RD PLACE: Jim Secola

Christbridge Ministry, 984 Myrtle Ave., 990-0822

Live Life Juice Co.

CN&R file photo

Locally produced food— Regional (Butte/Glenn/Tehama)

1ST PLACE (TIE): Chico Chai teas

1919 Park Ave., 897-0822

Sarah Adams launched her company, Chico Chai, over a decade ago and locals caught the chai tea bug—and haven’t let go. Adams makes her loose-leaf and “strong brew” teas in small batches using organic, whole spices. It’s her attention to detail and commitment to quality that sets her teas apart and earned Chico Chai the title of Best Locally Produced Food and Best Farmers’ Market Vendor. Congrats!

1ST PLACE (TIE): Live Life Juice Co. juices

220 W. Sixth St., 566-3346

The ladies at Live Life Juice Co., sisters Angelina, Autumn and Abigail Rasmussen, have struck liquid gold with their cold-pressed juices. After launching their company at the Saturday farmers’ market about two years ago, they quickly caught on with locals and earlier this year they parlayed that success into a brick-and-mortar shop, where they serve wellness shots and rotate through about a dozen different juice blends.

3RD PLACE: Lundberg Family Farms rice

5311 Midway, Richvale, 538-3500

Farmers' market vendor

1ST PLACE: Chico Chai

1919 Park Ave., 897-0822

2ND PLACE: Grub CSA Farm

3269 W Sacramento Ave., 680-4543

3RD PLACE: Live Life Juice Co.

220 W. Sixth St., 566-3346


1ST PLACE: Sanjay Dev

Math departments, Butte College and Chico State

Sanjay Dev tied for first place in the Best Instructor/Professor category last year, and this time around he proves his recognition is lasting. Students in Dev’s math classes at Chico State and Butte College rave about his ability to make the subject fun despite its technical nature. His bright smile and infectious positivity are testaments to his love of life, which he also translates to his students.

2ND PLACE: Janet Lombardi-Blixt

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

3RD PLACE: Lori Jean Phipps

Preschool teacher, Kids First Learning Center, 2117 Zuni Ave., 321-2784

Teacher (K-12)

1ST PLACE (TIE): Rebecca Klein

Third grade, Little Chico Creek Elementary, 2090 Amanda Way, 891-3285

Third-grade teacher Rebecca Klein just started her third year teaching and clearly she’s made an impression. “What makes Rebecca special is her amazing connection with her students,” says Little Chico Creek Elementary Principal Kristen Schrock. Students love her for her positive attitude, dedication and commitment to making learning fun. She even painted her car with chalkboard paint, so her students could use it as a canvas!

1ST PLACE (TIE): Jennifer Rossovich

Second grade, Hooker Oak Elementary School, 1238 Arbutus Ave., 891-3119

A teacher for Chico Unified School District since 1989, Jennifer Rossovich has seen many changes, but has always been focused on the children. That’s what Hooker Oak Principal Brian Holderman says stands out about the second-grade teacher. Rossovich is known for being a kind and gentle leader, always holding her students to high standards. Students and parents alike recognize her as an excellent teacher, one of three in the Open Structure Program at Hooker Oak.

2ND PLACE: Nicole Nye

Kindergarten, Chico Country Day School, 102 W. 11th St., 895-2650

Place to pray

1ST PLACE: Bidwell Presbyterian Church

208 W. First St., 343-1484

Bidwell Presbyterian Church was founded in Chico nearly 150 years ago and names John and Annie Bidwell among its first members. Today, the church attracts a variety of congregants between its traditional and contemporary services. Just last month, the congregation unanimously selected a new senior pastor, The Rev. Dr. Henry Hansen, who hails from the Bay Area and promises to continue Bidwell Pres’ commitment to ministry and community.

2ND PLACE: Chico New Thought Center for Spiritual Living

14 Hillary Lane, 895-8395

3RD PLACE: Bidwell Park

Mike “G-Ride” Griffith and Lil’ G

File photo by Kyle Delmar

Place to tie the knot

1ST PLACE: White Ranch

214 Hagenridge Road, 342-6530

When it comes to the big day, nothing is quite as important as the venue, which brings all the pieces of the puzzle together. Chicoans again voted White Ranch, owned by Tom and Donna White, as the Best Place to Tie the Knot, and it’s easy to see why. Large trees encompass the lush landscape, providing beautiful backdrops for photos and shade for daytime affairs. Who could ask for more?

2ND PLACE: Bidwell Park

3RD PLACE: The Palms

2947 Nord Ave., 894-8000

Youth organization

1ST PLACE: Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley

601 Wall St., 879-5653

With nine locations throughout Butte County that serve more than 2,000 kids and teens, it’s no wonder the Boys & Girls Clubs of the North Valley is voted Best Youth Organization. The clubs offer not only a safe place to play and make friends, but also homework help, mentoring and positive role models for local youth.

2ND PLACE: Chico Area Recreation & Park District (CARD)

545 Vallombrosa Ave., 895-4711

3RD PLACE: Youth for Change

7200 Skyway, Paradise, 877-8187

Local personality

1ST PLACE: Mike “G-Ride” Griffith

G-Ride Pedi Cab, 354-9885

If you’ve spent any time at all in downtown Chico, you know Mike “G-Ride” Griffith. In fact, you probably know he’s coming before he arrives, as his signature ride, a pedicab, is pimped out with a full stereo that he uses to pump upbeat tunes through the streets. Griffith—along with his loveable pup, Lil’ G—can also be found at many community events, from the Thursday Night Market to the annual Parade of Lights, and he takes genuine joy in making friends, acquaintances and even strangers smile.

2ND PLACE: Linda Watkins-Bennett

CBS 12 and NBC 24

3RD PLACE: Megan McMann

CBS 12 and NBC 24 (formerly)