Saturday, April 30, 2011

Now Possible to Save All Stray Animals

Photo by Joe McGarity

No one likes to think about what happens to all the stray cats that can’t find homes.  We think the problem is too big to handle.  But the Fantom Penguin heard from Lori of Lori’s Antiques on Park Marina Drive in Redding who shared her bold plan.

“I’ve been in business as Lori’s Antiques for nearly ten years and we are currently going out of business as Lori’s in order to launch a non-profit with a 501(c)(3) as Faithful Feline Friends.  We will still be thrift-to-antiques in our business but we are primarily trying to start a roving pet clinic to educate and spay and neuter cats.”

“We are killing millions of animals in our country every year.  ‘Killing’ I say, not ‘euthanizing’; there’s a difference. “

It’s important to note that when the new charity is finalized it will be providing mobile services in the community and cannot actually shelter any animals on site, other than Baby and Cutie-Pie, of course.

“It’s very important to me that we are educating the public about Spay, Neuter and Release programs.  This is a service that is provided, but at the moment only one day of the month using one particular facility and we are mostly all paying privately to support the program.  There are many people that want to help; don’t know how to help.  And what I hear mostly is, ‘I love my cats, but I can’t afford to fix them.  I can’t afford to fix them,’ and so that cat has another litter and it continues and it continues; and unless and until we can stop that, we’re just going to continue to kill more pets that were born that never asked to be killed.”

Just a short note from the Fantom Penguin this week to suggest that in our modern age of social networking and micro-financing, saving all of our faithful feline friends is not just a possibility; it is a goal.


Saturday, April 23, 2011

Library Still Has Books

Photo by Joe McGarity

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The idea behind the Public Library may seem pretty straightforward and little changed from the days of Benjamin Franklin, but let’s not judge a room full of books by their collective covers.  Megan Owens took the time to explain to the Fantom Penguin all the services the library offers beginning with service to the environment.

“We have a green roof which is above the children’s programming area and the benefit of the green roof is that it’s alive.  It’s alive with drought-resistant plants.  It will last much longer than a conventional roof and it helps to insulate the floor below, so that’s very eco-friendly.  The ‘slushie-machine’ as we call it at night creates ice and in the daytime is used to help cool the library so there’s less of a stress on the grid, so that’s eco-friendly and we also have photovoltaics on the roof, photovoltaic panels that help with solar energy so again, so that we’re not stressing the grid so much with the energy use for the library.”

“This library has been here for about four years and it was basically built by the citizens of Shasta County and it is co-owned by the city and the county.  They work together to make this library.  It’s open seven days a week.”

The first documents showed to the Fantom Penguin were part of an archival project documenting the history of Native Peoples.

“Which was a project of the state library and we house part of that and it’s wonderful monographs of --interviews that were done of people of the tribes that are native to this area.  We are also a depository, a Federal Repository so we get federal documents as they’re published and they come here.  We also have Environmental Impacts that are done for development in the area or for other reasons that an Environmental Impact would be done and we are a State Repository so we get state documents as they arrive.  All of that you can inquire upstairs at the Reference Desk and they’ll be happy to help you find what you’re looking for.  We have an amazing local history collection about the Northstate and there are some very interesting books that are about miners and travelers and life as it was from the mid-Nineteenth Century through the Twentieth Century.”

“We have a wonderful genealogy section and we have people from the Shasta Genealogical Society three times a week here.”
“Some things that people are not aware of are some of the resources we have through our website which are pretty much available from anywhere to someone who has a library card and an internet connection.  Two of those are Help Now which is an online tutoring where students are connected with a tutor through the interface that we have here at the library and that is K – 12 and there’s also an Adult Learning Center.  So if you’re having trouble with a skill at school or a homework problem, you can go to our website and login and get help from an actual person.  There is also something called Job and Career Accelerator which has many resources for people who are looking for jobs.  There’s a Job Inventory, an Interest Inventory, there are links to local jobs, there’s help with resume-building, how to do a good interview and we also have through the Job Accelerator Resource Center online self-paced computer skills.  If you want to do a little more on Excel or you want Word we have the whole Microsoft Suite plus some other things, operating systems for Mac and PC, so there’s some of those as well.  So those are two pretty good resources, amazing resources that we have that a lot of people don’t know about.  Our website is getting more and more sort of a virtual branch of the library.  We have also downloadable books, audio books and e-books and that collection is growing pretty consistently.”


“Yes, the Internet is important and, in fact we provide public computers for people to use also so they can access the Internet.”

“So, roughly 45,000 – 50,000 people a month come through the door.  Some of those are repeat customers; that’s from the door count.  And we have several programs for children.  We have programs for adults.  We have a wonderful thriving literacy program and we have rooms for the community to use.  And we did a survey in October and still the number one reason people come to this library is to find a book to read which I find rather amazing.”





Saturday, April 16, 2011

Consider the Cost of Violence this April


Photo by Joe McGarity


Recently, the Fantom Penguin challenged a viewer to sponsor an embedded reporter in the 4th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event.  The Fantom Penguin thanks Majestic Limousine of Cottonwood for their generous support. 

Amongst those in attendance were Shasta County Sherriff Tom Bosenko, Councilman Les Baugh, County Administrative Officer Larry Lees, MacGruff the Crime Dog, Buck the Actual Dog, two Stormtroopers and Darth Vader.

Although the Dark Lord of the Sith may seem an incongruous choice to appear at such an event, it is the editorial position of the Fantom Penguin that there is still Good in him.

The festive atmosphere could also seem incongruous in light of the seriousness of the issues involved, but the light-hearted spirit of the event seemed more the result of hopefulness and positive thinking and perhaps that is the result of facing these issues directly and getting something done.

The 4th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event was followed a few days later by the 16th Annual Take Back the Night event.  It was there that the Fantom Penguin heard from Caedy Minoletti of Shasta Women’s Refuge.

“This is our sixteenth annual Take Back the Night event here in Shasta County.  It’s a national event and we do it because April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month.  So, from 5:00 – 7:00 we have our Family Fun Fair, which is going on right now where there’s different booths set up, different social services agencies here with fun, exciting safety activities for families.  7:00 – 7:30 we have an awareness march where we hold posters and walk down Pine Street and then 7:30 – 8:30 we actually have survivors of -- victims of crime who are going to meet and share their stories of what they’ve been through,  how they survived it and now how they’re thriving.”

The event serves to remind us that this kind of violence not only happens, but happens all too frequently.

“And that sexual violence does happen here in our area, in our community.  And the reason we have this event is not only to bring awareness that it happens and we want to take back our streets and make them safe but that we’re not going to put up with violence here in our community.  And it’s actually a statement as well as an awareness event.”

“Sexual assault is a very under-reported crime.  One out of three females are assaulted before they even graduate high school and one out of six boys, so it’s an epidemic and it needs to stop.  Now.”

This particular event is not a fundraiser.

“We do different fund-raising activities throughout the year and this is not one of those.  We just want to bring awareness to our community and fun while we do it.”

“The program that puts this on is the Education Department of Shasta Women’s Refuge and the Domestic Violence (get this) Coordinating Council Education Subcommittee.  So we are educating our community.  That’s what we do every day.”

An organization with a complicated name, but a simple mission.



Saturday, April 9, 2011

Such Thing as a Free Lunch

Photo by Joe McGarity

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Although it is often said and generally believed that there is no such thing as a free lunch, an investigation by the Fantom Penguin has uncovered evidence to the contrary.  Every Wednesday a group of individuals called the Lunch Bunch, who are neither a charity nor a church group, distribute sack lunches to those in need living on the streets of Redding.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Sherry Redmond and Norma Logue.

Norma Logue told us, “It’s been going on since September.  We get donations from the community and Junk ‘n Treasures donates socks and scarves and blankets and hats to us.”

Sherry Redmond added, “We’re by South City Park and Tiger Field and we also go around the outer area of the library.”

An individual who did not give his name also spoke to the Penguin.

He said, “I think that’s really good for them, coming out here doing that thing, for helping other people, the ones that are still struggling out here.  That’s a really good thing.  It’s a love thing.”

The current incarnation of the group grew out of an earlier project.

“Redding Brown Bag – and it started out through that and we just kinda made it happen.”

When asked what the Fantom Penguin’s audience needs to know about the homeless situation in Redding, the ladies replied in unison.

“That there’s a lot more homeless than you think there is.”

Norma added, “And that we need more shelters for them.”

Watch this on YouTube





Saturday, April 2, 2011

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event Not Entirely a Drag

Photo by Joe McGarity



A strange invitation on Facebook prompted an investigation by the Fantom Penguin.  Dave Regnell, Chairman of the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Committee explained the purpose behind the 4th Annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Event.
“The Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event is actually a national event that many communities are picking up on and it is an event that is attempting to raise funds for things like the Women’s Refuge and organizations that are trying to deal with domestic violence.  In fact, the month of April is Domestic Violence Awareness Month so this timing is really good for us.  The other thing that Walk a Mile in Her Shoes does besides raising the awareness of domestic violence is also raising the money for our local Women’s Refuge.  As everybody knows, the downturn in the economy has forced many organizations to lose funds.  And so it’s a very important part of our community, especially when economic times are a little less than normal, we start to see domestic violence peak a little bit and the Women’s Refuge is really the only organization that can guarantee women not only safety but anonymity to the perpetrators that are responsible for the violence in their lives.”

“We actually hope to have between 400 - 600 people out here during the event.  We encourage families to come and support their men that are walking.  We also encourage the businesses to come out and support the people from their businesses.  If you have a person in a business that is out here, we encourage the business to come out here and fly their colors and say, ‘Yes, we support the event.’  My challenge has always been:  This is an event for real men; only real men are gonna walk a mile in women’s shoes and raise money for the Women’s Refuge.  But if you’re not up to the real man standpoint then we would hope that you would man-up and at least write a check for the real men that are walking so that we can meet some of our goals, our financial goals for the Women’s Refuge.”
With a challenge like that and unable to produce a check, the Fantom Penguin was compelled to suggest that it would not be possible to find a pair of ladies’ shoes to fit his flippers.

“Every year we like to donate shoes.  We have a lot of people that bring us larger shoes to donate to the Walk a Mile in girls’ shoes and so anybody who needs some larger shoes, we will have the 9 ½, 10, 11, 12, we’ve even had some 13’s for the guys to walk a mile in girls’ shoes.”

That’s Wanda Leach, the owner of Junk ‘n Treasures thrift store on Highway 273 in Anderson.  But is shopping for shoes really what keeps men from participating?

“That is some of it, you know?  You just don’t go downtown and buy shoes in the larger sizes.  They are harder to find and so that is one of the things that deters them.  They think they’re gonna get laughed at.  It’s fun!  Everybody has a really good time and that is one of the reasons why I like to donate shoes to help them.”

“We did it one year and then last year we did it with our dog.  The dog got to walk a mile in girls’ shoes.  And then this year we will do it with our grandson, my husband and the dog and we will all walk in girls’ shoes.”

Dave Regnell again, “The event itself is actually going to start at 10:00 am on April 9, that’s a Saturday, but pre-registration will start at 9:00 in the morning.  To help facilitate some of that, we’re also going to have a registration on Friday evening from 5:00 – 7:30 pm at Need 2 Speed so we can get some of the paperwork taken care of ahead of time.”

“For people who wish to participate in the event, there’s two ways you can actually do this.  One is to do it online at www.ShastaWomensRefuge.org or you can also call (530) 244-0118 ext. 202 and that will put you in contact with a lady named Kristi Hanson who is the Women’s Refuge contact for this event and is helping me handle a lot of the logistics that we have to take care of to make this event happen.”

Now all the Fantom Penguin needs is a viewer to serve as a sponsor and perhaps a good finishing school.