To: Chico School Board, Re: Pin Oaks and the Science Building

Dear School Board members,

I know the Pin Oak trees on the Chico Jr. High campus (see photo below).  I ride my bike past them just about everyday.  They’re part of our neighborhood.  I’ve seen kids sitting on the benches between the trees eating their lunch or just hanging out.  Maybe, if you grew up in Chico like a friend of mine told me, you remember sitting on that bench yourself as a young student.  But it isn’t just sentiment that argues for the preservation of these trees.  We live in a world threatened with the disastrous consequences of rising temperatures where every living, green-house gas sequestering tree counts.  I’m sure we, as a community, can come up with an alternative site for the science building instead of where these old schoolyard tree-friends now stand. Perhaps the trees could be incorporated into the site plan.  For example, the building could be constructed with a courtyard landscape that includes the trees. 

If you haven’t seen the trees up-close please check them out (see photo below).  Their size makes them “heritage trees.” My husband and I measured them.  The tree with the umbrella beside it is about 37 inches in diameter.  The tree with multiple trunks, is about 48 inches in diameter.  They’re really nice big examples of the Pin Oak variety. 

I think a new science building is a wonderful idea for the students at Chico Jr. High. And the natural history of the oaks could be one of their first science projects.  Please build the building and spare the trees.

Thank you for considering my comments.

Sincerely,

Karen Laslo

Pin Oaks at Chico Jr. High

Pin Oaks at Chico Jr. High

 

You Know These Trees

You know these trees. You’ve probably driven by them many times, seen kids sitting on the bench between them eating their lunch or just hanging out. Or if you grew up in Chico perhaps you remember sitting on that bench yourself. Well, these heritage trees are scheduled to be cut down to make way for a new science building – right there, where our old tree-friends now stand. And it isn’t just sentiment that argues for the preservation of these trees. We live in a world threatened with the disastrous consequences of rising temperatures where every living tree counts. But the removal of the schoolyard trees is not a done deal yet. There are other options for the building site. The science building is on this week’s agenda for the Chico Unified School District’s meeting. If you have fond memories of these trees, or if your kids like them, if you think trees are essential for our survival, or, if like me, you just don’t want to lose more of our heritage trees, then please do one of the following:

1.  Attend the CUSD meeting on Wed., 12/17, 6:00pm at the City Council chambers, 4th and Main in Chico and speak up for the trees. It’s item 12.2.1 on the agenda. http://www.chicousd.org/documents/Board%20of%20Education/Agendas/2014/141217%20Agenda.pdf

 2. Call the School Superintendent and say you don’t want to loose those trees: 891-3000

 3. Call or e-mail the Facilities manager, Maria Campos, 891-3209, mcampos@chicousd.org

 4. E-mail the School Board members:

 kkaiser@chicousd.org

egriffin@chicousd.org

lhovey@chicousd.org

erobinson@chicousd.org

athompson@chicousd.org

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Young People (Literally!) Take to the Streets of Chico

About 100 young protesters gathered in front of Chico Nut on Saturday to organize for a march down the Esplanade to the city plaza. They marched in solidarity with Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford and Akai Gurley, black American citizens recently shot to death by white police officers in different parts of our country.

The marchers, led by Jaquan Sayres, were peaceful and well-behaved, even when they chose to leave the sidewalks and go directly into the street, blocking traffic and risking arrest. Event Monitors from the Chico chapter of the Northern California ACLU walked beside the large group to keep the crowed moving and to make sure everyone was safe. Local police were present but didn’t interfere with the march. Below, in photos, are highlights of the march.

Jaquan Sayer, march organizer

Jaquan Sayer, march organizer

Marchers gather at Chico Nut on the Esplanade.

Protesters gather at Chico Nut on the Esplanade.

Sue Hilderbrand from KZFR interviews a protester.

Sue Hilderbrand from KZFR interviews a protester.

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Sign second from right quotes Abe Lincoln.

 

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Not reported in the news.

 

Police were present along the route.

Police were present along the route.

Marchers head downtown

Marchers head downtown.

Sign on right quotes Elli Weisel.

Sign on right quotes Elie Wiesel.

Into the street.

Walking in silence, marchers take to the street.

Blocking traffic on the Esplanade.

Blocking traffic on both sides of the Esplanade.

ACLU Event monitors

ACLU Event monitors.

Still in the street.

Still in the street.

Still in silent protest, marchers block traffic by Children's Park

Still in silent protest, marchers block traffic by Children’s Park.

Marchers head for City Plaza on Broadway.

Marchers head for City Plaza on Broadway.

Marchers arrive at City Plaza where a rally followed the march.

Marchers arrive at City Plaza where a rally followed the march.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“City of Stumps” Designation Continues

In Tom Gascoyne’s front page article in last week’s News&Review, he coined the phrase “City of Stumps.” It’s in ironic contrast to Chico’s official designation of “Tree City USA,” as bestowed on our town by the National Arbor Day Foundation. But Gascoyne’s designation does seem more appropriate these days. Yesterday, in the deepening twilight of an on-coming storm, 25 city street trees were cut down on Mission Ranch Blvd. in Chico. The neighbors complained of dropping limbs and raised sidewalks. However, several local tree advocates offered numerous ways these problems could be mitigated, to no avail. Only 3 city council members wanted to save the trees (Gruendl, Ritter and Stone). During the council discussion our-now-Mayor Sorensen stated, “Cut them down. The sooner the better.” Let’s hope this callous comment won’t be his ongoing mantra for our urban forest. (see photos below)

Before, Oct. 2014

Before, Oct. 2014

Now, Dec. 2014

Now, Dec. 2014

A tree's remains

A tree’s remains

South-facing, now these neighbors will have blazing hot backyards. Palms drop big branches too.

South-facing, now these neighbors will have blazing hot backyards. Palms drop big branches too.

Crew hurries to clean-up as the storm approaches. Let's hope the curbs and street haven't been damaged.

Crew hurries to clean-up as the storm approaches.

The last tree is chain-sawed.

The last tree is chain-sawed.

In the murky light of the rain the last tree falls.

In the murky light of the rain, the last tree falls.

The "job" is complete.

The “job” is complete.