HopPo Fuses Andean Sounds

A modern vision of songs from a past that remains current.

Ruben Albarran, aka “Juan, the one that acts as if he is singing,” and sometimes known as “Sizu Yantra” — it all depends if he is singing in one of the CDs of Café Tacuba (one of the greatest rock mestizo groups from the United Mexican States), or if he is electrified in one of his soloist projects. He is somehow the brains behind this interesting project that combines Andean sounds with the musical restlessness of Ruben “Elfego Buendia” and his musical partners, Rodrigo “Chino” Aros and Juan Pablo Villanueva from Chile and Alejandro Flores from Mexico. read more

Crossroads

photo by Leslie Layton

photo by Leslie Layton

Manteca, 148 miles south of Chico on Highway 99, is on the route motorists have traveled for years from the Bay Area to Yosemite National Park.

by Lindajoy Fenley

Dave Gordon’s mural in downtown Manteca harks back to the early 1900s, when trains steamed through fields of bright yellow sunflowers, and watermelon and pumpkin crops made this San Joaquin Valley farm town prosperous. A huge watermelon rides in a small child’s wheelbarrow, tall gray canisters fill the milkman’s truck, a mother with kids in tow holds a couple of sunflowers, and wispy white clouds hover in a clear blue sky. read more

Undocumented Students: Illegal but not Criminal

Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown
Gubernatorial candidates Meg Whitman and Jerry Brown

by Dave Waddell

Given the nauseating, demoralizing politics that overshadow the complex family issues of illegal immigration, I was heartened to read of the Obama administration’s intentionally laissez-faire treatment of students who were brought to the United States unlawfully as children.

To me, the best way to counter the demonization of all illegal immigrants, including these students, is to put a human face to their plight. So I’d like you to meet “Alicia,” my student.

I put quotation marks around the name because it is an alias. I would prefer to use her real name, but she fears being identified, despite the fact that students like her are increasingly stepping up and speaking out. Alicia was conditioned by her family to not “rock the boat.” That’s understandable when a wrong move could result in detention and deportation. read more

The Grove

photo by Mike Donnelly

by Mike Donnelly and Leslie Layton

The nine-unit Grove Motel north of Willows on the old Highway 99 has been in the family of Gene Del Pape since 1957. Its sign is a rusting relic with peeling, powder-blue paint and unlit neon.

“They don’t make signs like that anymore,” says Del Pape, noting that it was featured in a historical book. When his father bought the motel on what is now called County Road 99W, it was a four-unit building, a motor court where cars parked between units on a well-traveled highway.

Remnants of these classic American icons from the ’20s, ’30s and ’40s can be seen up and down the old motoring routes. “No Vacancy.” “Eat.” “Cocktails”, they call out — if you can still read them as they decay in the crumbling ruins of road stops. Weary travelers now stop at fast-food restaurants and corporate hotel chains on the Interstate. read more

Charter Movement Deepens Segregation

Chapman missions

photo by Tania Flores

Chapman Elementary fourth-graders build California missions

by Leslie Layton

Chico Country Day School’s classroom No. 22 was hopping on a spring morning with 29 fourth-graders on the cusp of greatness. Regan had opened the world’s largest orphanage, Morgen had found a cure for malaria and Alex was a “record-breaking lawyer.”

The charter-school students were completing an assignment that required they imagine themselves 30 years in the future as Time magazine’s Person of the Year. Each student was putting together an issue of the magazine honoring his or her future self.

One mile to the east, at Chico’s most diverse public school, fourth-graders at Chapman Elementary were also tackling a hands-on project, but theirs was a fourth-grade ritual, one performed for decades. Each student was building a cardboard model of a California mission he or she had selected and researched. read more

What’s In a Name?

AlexaPark_300_250

Chico writer Alexa Valavanis wrote the following column in response to the Aug. 4, 2010 ruling by a federal judge overturning California’s gay-marriage ban.

by Alexa Valavanis

Judge Vaughn Walker doesn’t know my name. I’ve never written him a letter or rang his smart phone. We’re not colleagues or acquaintances or even Facebook “friends.” In fact, there’s a strong possibility the judge and I would defy the theory of “six degrees of separation.”

Which is a long way of saying the chief judge of the U.S. District Court in California, nominated by George H.W. Bush, doesn’t know anything about me. He doesn’t know I value my family and faith above all else. He doesn’t know how deeply I cherish being an American and the individual rights and freedoms both of my grandfathers fought for. read more