Summing up the summit

Organizers of last week’s North State Economic Summit are still basking in the afterglow of the event, which hosted business people, local government officials and advocacy groups seeking to boost the economy here. While the Northstate is a $2.7 billion agricultural powerhouse with an ever-increasing share in fields like technology, it still holds only 3.7 percent of the state’s personal wealth (based on per capita income) and thus is often overlooked by decision-makers in the Capitol.

“I think people were delighted with the fact that we were able to get 200 people in the room from 18-plus counties,” said Don Smail, senior project manager for the summit. He said economic-development folks are following up March 29 and 30 with a regional meeting in which they will try to get all the 20 rural counties on board with a list of 20 goals—"a short list of achievable priorities.” Butte County’s Board of Supervisors adopted such a resolution this week.

Lon Hatamiya, secretary of the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency, was a key speaker at the event and said that counties, by cooperating, create “more of a single voice to Sacramento in decision- and policy-making."The North Valley Community Foundation is the nonprofit agency through which many private donors and grant-givers choose to funnel money they want to go to benefit local charities. The presentation March 20 of a $900 grant to help prevent violence among young people was no exception.

The money from the foundation’s mini-grant program is making possible a free workshop, set for March 31 in Chico, called “Exploring the Roots of Violence.”

Emily Alma, who is affiliated with the Community Collaboration for Youth, said, “We hope to have a large spectrum of the community attend so we can learn from each other. … The workshop involves people in real, personal experiences that lead to an understanding of how our culture works."Other good news in education came at March 21’s Education Hall of Fame Dinner, which is also a scholarship fund-raiser, put on by another foundation, the Chico Unified School District Education Foundation.

The foundation honored 1958 Chico High School graduate Ed Masterson and Joanne Lucchesi, Ph.D., of the class of 1964. Masterson, now associate vice president for university advancement at Chico State, in turn recognized two teachers who have meant a lot to him: Irene Griffith and Maxine Weston. Lucchesi, a college professor in Walla Walla, Wash., who recently retired as an assistant superintendent with the public school system there, honored Alberta Simic and Sadye Queen. Longtime volunteer Bonnie Huntington could not attend but was given the Harry M. “Hank” Marsh Award for “outstanding service to Chico schools.”

There were a few tears among the dozens who attended. Lucchesi observed that "kindergarten shapes a student’s entire schooling." Masterson said, "Teaching is a noble profession; a true calling."