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Capital Ideas

The thoughts of Matt Olson, a systems thinker, hacker, and social entrepreneur, on retooling consumer culture

Read My Lips: New Taxes!

With or without?

The Chico City Council has begun a series of excruciating budget cuts in response to deficits and long-term debt levels of immense proportions. According to the new City Manager, Brian Nakamura, who was brought in last year to clean up our budget mess, “this probably is the darkest time for the city of Chico.”

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The Innovation Within

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I’ve been to a lot of technology networking events, so I thought I knew what to expect when I went to the Innovate North State Challenge on June 27th: Company A has a good idea but not the right team, Company B fails to differentiate itself in a crowded space, but Company C is disrupting a massive market, has defensible IP, and is poised for growth!

I could go that route, but I think I’d be doing you a disservice to not tell you instead about what happened later, at the Sierra Nevada bar, when, while enjoying an Ovila Abbey Saison (or three), I met a man that challenged my worldview in a profoundly depressing way.

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Reinventing Chico

Fab Lab

A group of makers has been quietly building a community space here in Chico with great potential for democratizing the tools of innovation and expression. After months of planning and hard work, Idea Fab Labs, Chico’s first makerspace, is opening its doors May 4th.

Makerspaces—open, social spaces designed for brainstorming, collaborative learning, tool sharing, and most importantly, making things—have a long tradition in technology communities around the world. They provide the space and both standard and high-tech tools, as well as the knowledge of how to use them, in a collaborative, open environment where experimentation and peer-to-peer learning thrives.

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Community Summit Summup

Zingg engages frats

Four hundred people representing virtually every part of the Chico community attended a gathering on the Chico State campus last Friday to collaborate on actions we can take to change Chico’s increasingly out-of-control drinking culture. Attendees ranged from the Chico State and Butte College student bodies, fraternities and sororities, parents and University officials, to members of the Chico City Council, Chico Police and EMTs, to downtown bar owners, retail sellers of alcohol, apartment building owners, as well as a healthy dose of average Chico community members like me.

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Hello, My Name is Chico, And I Have A Drinking Problem

Chico Drinking

Mason Sumnicht, a pledge to Sigma Pi at Chico State, died on November 15th after a night of heavy drinking at local bars. He was celebrating his 21st birthday by drinking 21 shots with the help of his fraternity brothers. His life ended with severe brain damage and 12 days of life support in the hospital. The tragedy of the loss of a young man with his whole life ahead of him cannot be overstated. Unfortunately, such a tragic event is not as uncommon in Chico as it should be. This was the fourth alcohol-related student death in the fall semester—Shawn Summa, Brett Olson, and Carly Callaghan all lost their lives in the last four months.

These are just a few of the highest profile cases in recent months, but the list goes on and on—drunk driving, hazings, sexual assaults, rapes, drownings, alcohol poisonings, stabbings—crimes related directly to the high rate of alcohol consumption by students and the community at large.

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