Highlights, lowlights from week’s news
HIT >> It’s not often that words out of Washington earn accolades in this space, but this week, it happened.
When President Joe Biden spoke of having a “good meeting” with Speaker Kevin McCarthy, it gave us some hope that maybe, just maybe, a couple of politicians might actually have remembered who they’re working for.
“Let’s start treating each other with respect. That’s what Kevin and I are going to do,” Biden said at the annual National Prayer Breakfast on Capitol Hill. “Not a joke, we had a good meeting yesterday. I think we got to do it across the board. … let’s treat each other with respect.”
He also called on all Washington lawmakers to do the same, adding it’s time “we start to see each other again, look at each other again, travel with each other again, argue like hell with each other again but then still go to lunch together.”
It reminds us of the days when President Ronald Reagan and Speaker Tip O’Neill would spend all day bashing each other, and then meet up and get the nation’s business done.
Maybe Biden’s words were a slip-up. Maybe they weren’t genuine. Only actions can prove that. But in either case, it was nice to hear that kind of talk from a president again.
MISS >> It’s always sad to hear of the death of a valued member of our community. This week’s passing of Howard Slater was an especially big loss.
In addition to his role with Slater & Son — General Contractor, Slater had his hand in many of the projects that have made Chico, well, Chico. Among the community organizations he served were the Chico Masonic Lodge, Chico Chamber of Commerce, Chico Economic Planning Commission, the North Valley Community Foundation and the Chico Sunrise Rotary.
He was responsible for the construction of more than 1 million square feet of development in the north state, but it’s one building in particular that he’d probably like to most be remembered for: the Torres Shelter. His company constructed the building and his family has been among the biggest supporters of True North Housing Alliance ever since.
In his memory, the Slater family has started the Howard Slater Memorial Fund at the North Valley Community Foundation which will benefit the Torres Shelter. You can go to https://nvcf.org/funds/HowardSlater-Memorial-Fund to help continue his mission of supporting this crucial shelter and its work.
HIT >> If we had to pick a favorite local story from the first month of the year, it would quite possibly be Ed Booth’s account of how enrollment in the Chico High Future Farmers of America program is off the charts these days.
The FFA program has 600 kids at Chico High, and that’s out of a total enrollment of 1,930. It’s a far cry from just over 16 years ago, when the Chico Unified School District was considering cutting the program as a cost-saving measure. Kudos to local farmers Ed McLaughlin, Rick Cinquini, Rich McGowan, Les Heringer and Andy Bertagna for their efforts in persuading the school to keep it going in those days, and to Superintendent Kelly Staley (who started the following year) for continuing it.
It’s not just the fact that so many kids are taking part in a heritage-rich program that has produced several generations of community leaders, although that’s a big part of it. It’s also because so many students who didn’t grow up on a farm are learning the importance of agriculture — and, on even another level, it’s probably helping to bridge the “city versus country” divide that plagues so much of our nation.
The FFA motto is 12 simple words: “Learning to Do, Doing to Learn, Earning to Live, Living to Serve.” It sounds straight out of the backbone of the best of America, and for good reason.
MISS >> Before Sunday’s 49ers-Eagles blowout, can you think of a single time in NFL history when a team that was trailing by multiple scores had to run the ball for half the game because it didn’t have a single healthy quarterback capable of throwing a football?
Neither can we.
Add the fact that this was an NFC Championship Game and it becomes all the more incredible.
It was like watching a baseball team lose a game in the World Series because nobody on the roster had ever pitched. Or a heavyweight boxer lose a title fight because he didn’t throw any punches. (OK, we practically saw that in the AliHolmes fight, but that was the only time.)
Instead, the 49ers spent the entire second half seemingly trying to run out the clock instead of score — all because they started the game with only two active quarterbacks on the roster.
We know choosing which players to activate is a tricky business, but we suspect fewer teams will take the “let’s go with two quarterbacks” gamble again in the future after that travesty.