Friday, April 16, 2010

Want Something Done...Call A Local Business Owner

The "Welcome To Chico" sign in south Chico on Hwy 99 has looked anything but welcoming lately. It has been gradually wearing down over the last few years and a particularly heavy storm this past Winter left it looking like something out of a low-budget horror flick. (Think Norman Bates and the hotel on the hill....yikes!)

Of course there was the usual flurry of Tell-It-To-The-ER comments..."who's responsible for that ugly's an embarrassment...SOMEBODY needs to do SOMETHING!" But wait...who is SOMEBODY?

It's interesting that these types of situations always generate a lot of calls to the Chamber of Commerce. But then again we get calls when people want to know where they can buy a bigger frying pan and how to get rid of bedbugs. Honestly...

This is one of those things that everyone wants to claim ownership of when it looks great, and point to others as being responsible when it goes bad. The reality is pretty muddy. As far as I can tell the sign is on private property, but was built by volunteers with private money...a very, very long time ago.

In any case it was immediately clear that it would take money and labor to get it fixed. There was demolition of the old sign to do, reinforcement of the underlying skeleton and reconstruction of the exterior. So who ya gonna call?

Never fear...this is Chico and things get DONE here. The flurry of calls caught everyones attention...the discussion grew...and then suddenly...LOOK, UP IN THE SKY! IT'S A BIRD...IT'S A PLANE...IT'S DINO CORBIN!

Yes, Chico has Superheros. A lot of them. And usually in the front of the pack waving the rally flag is Dino Corbin of Deercreek Broadcasting. Radio is his day job, but community service is his passion. If you know him at all, you know that for sure.

And Dino KNOWS people. A lot of people. People who, like him, love to give back to their community in quiet and unassuming ways. People who will not only fork over their hard earned cash to fund a project, but will slap on a nail bag, fire up their tractors, draw up the design, arrange for the permits and get the doggone job DONE!

People like Gage Chrysler and Steve Seegart of Modern Building Company, Frank Solinsky of Payless Building Supply, Tom Dauterman of Thomas Manufacturing, Danny Andreasen of Cleanrite Buildrite, Alex DuBose of Guy Rents, Keith Kuykendall of First Impression Signs and Roger Hart at 3Core.

And when these folks start rolling, they are a force to behold!

I have not doubt that this sign will be in beautiful shape in no time at all. And when it's finished, these folks won't stand around slapping themselves on the back and shouting from the rooftops "Look what we did...We are AWESOME!"

Nope. They'll probably just shake hands, nod 'nice job' to each other, and go on back to their real jobs. They will have made a tangible difference in the aesthetics of our community and they won't expect a damned thing for it. Because that's the kind of people they are.

Most people will never know how much these folks do for our community because they don't ask for our thanks, but I think we should all be a heck-of-a-lot more appreciative of them, and many others just like them, every single day. And the next time you hear someone bad-mouthing business in this community, kindly remind them of what YOU know that they obviously don't. Business people in Chico make good things happen. The Chico Chamber of Commerce knows that, and we are deeply grateful to all of them.

Just because they don't wear capes, doesn't mean they aren't SUPERHEROS!

Friday, April 2, 2010

The Internet...Giving Ill-Informed, Mean People a Voice for Over 20 Years

Wait...let me slip on my asbestos undies before I finish this blog entry. Why? Because I'm pretty sure the title alone will create the sort of nasty, dirt-slinging, name calling free-for-all I'm going to write about.

How often have you visited a news site on the Internet and made the mistake of reading some of the horrendous 'comments' that people post about the story? You know what I'm talking about...the type of truly hideous things that people will write/say only when they are hiding behind a cartoon-faced, fictitious name moniker that gives them the courage to be publicly awful.

I've looked at some of them and they can be so mean they make my skin crawl. I know I shouldn't even bother looking but it's like passing a car just get sucked in and are so shocked by what you see that you can't look away.

Yes, I've been on the receiving end of some of those nasty comments. Sometimes they call me stupid, or greedy, or a corporate shill (whatever that's supposed to mean). I generally let it roll-off because whoever is writing it is just reacting to something I did/said that they disagree with. I'm usually just puzzled why they can't disagree with me without being nasty about it.

Several months ago I saw a similarly degrading string of comments related to a coaching change on my twin daughters high school basketball team that, for some reason or another was reported in the local paper. The comments directed at the young women on the team were truly degrading. I honestly believed that nothing would surprise me anymore until I read some of that tripe. What kept going through my mind was "It's HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS BASKETBALL for crying-out-loud"! Why would anyone want to flex their insult-hurling muscles about a thing like that?

The more I think about it, it seems that a national state of incivility has taken over, manifested by the ease of spewing anonymous venom to millions of people without consequence...i.e. the Internet. What's so odd is that often it appears people don't seem to know the real issue that they are ranting-on about. They are just 'posting angry' for the sake of seeing their anger take shape in the form of printed words.

So as not to appear a hypocrite, I will admit here and now that I am very pointed in my blog posts, newsletter CEO columns and an occasional letter to the editor. I do try hard however to refrain from name-calling, degrading language or personal attacks. I do my best to talk about issues rather than people. I'm not perfect but I try pretty hard.

The type of unkind behavior I'm referring to doesn't just bother me, it worries me. How on earth did so many Americans become such foul, insensitive, angry humans? Are our lives so horrible that we must resort to spitting angry words into the ether without regard for who it effects? This simply cannot be the end-result of what our forefathers dreamed when they protected free speech, because this type of dialog won't end up being may very well cost us our humanity.

It gets even worse if the discussion starts with a dialog about local, state or national politics. Those are the kinds of posts that will scare the heck out of you, at least they scare me. And I don't buy all that baloney that one side or the other is responsible. The nastiness comes from both sides and anyone who says differently is not being honest.

I wonder some bad will it get before the pendulum starts to swing back toward civility? How many generations of young people will we raise that grow up without any regard for human feelings, social graces or civil debate?

Turning this around won't come from politicians, or the media, the right or the left. Turning this around will come from the folks that still care about how other people feel as well as how they treat one another. When those folks start to stand up and say "this kind of behavior is NOT okay with me!"

So, let me be one of the first to jump on this bandwagon. This type of behavior is not okay with me. Who's with me??