Archive for February, 2011

One Nite Only Band Around a Little Longer

Posted in Feature Articles on February 26, 2011 by

Photo by Joe McGarity
The Fantom Penguin sat in on a recording session with the One Nite Only Band at Somewhere Else Studios as they set down a track for a new television series.  bilcrook, the band’s founder, told the Fantom Penguin how the group began.
He told us, “I moved up here to Northern California and had played music all my life in Central California; was looking for a place to play, went to the area jams and it wasn’t long before I was hosting jams at my home.”
“I play guitar.  I can play bass.  I play keyboards.  I used to try to play harmonica until Jerry Short showed up and started playing harmonica and I’ve never picked it up since.”
Harmonica Player Jerry Short said,  “One Nite Only’s been together forever, probably ten, eleven years.  It’s changed faces many, many times.”
Bassist Jerome Said told us,  “I came into this town called Red Bluff and I didn’t know nobody, but there was a jam, a blues jam at the Palomino Room, I think it was and I just stumbled in there and played a little bit and took some numbers and everything.  And I had a chance to glance at bil that time and we played and everything and it was a beautiful moment.  And one thing about musicians, you know we’re all like brothers and sisters, we have that connection no matter what, you know?  But it’s kind of hard to borrow a dime or a nickel from one of them.  You know, you’re just stuck.”
Jerry Short continued, “One Nite Only’s a special events band, so we pretty much play just about anywhere you want.  Again, special events; we like doing public service stuff.  KIXE’s been real good to us.  We’ve had a lot of fun with them.”
bilcrook added, “Oh, we’ve been working with KIXE for over eleven years.  It started out I met some people from KIXE at some S.V.C. retreats, Service and Volunteer Coalition retreats and the relationship grew and we volunteer every year.  The band’s been successfully auctioned off there a number of times and we’ve played live on KIXE.  It’s been a great relationship.  It’s been good for the band.  We just hope and pray that it’s been just as good for KIXE, one of the greatest choices as far as TV viewing in the Northstate.”
The new series in need a tune is Unjunked, a locally produced series which encourages creative recycling and re-purposing and not coincidentally hosted by this reporter.
“Our music is kind of like Unjunked,” said bilcrook, “ It’s been re-purposed, redirected, recycled, redone, refinished, re-shined and, yeah, we think it’s real appropriate for Unjunked.”

Preservation Society Surveys Route for Railroad Museum

Posted in Feature Articles on February 19, 2011 by
Photo by Joe McGarity

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They don’t make them like they used to and some folks like it that way.  Some of them have taken steps to preserve the rich railroading history of the Northstate.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Matthew Shuman, President of the Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society who told us how it all got started,
“Approximately 1998 a group of people got together and wanted to preserve the railroading history as related to the logging and mining industry of Northern California so they formed this non-profit organization called the Shasta Cascade Rail Preservation Society, more lovingly known as “Scraps”—SCRPS and since then it’s grown a little bit; the equipment has grown; displays have grown and we continue on and move forward.”
“Currently in the background you’ll see several pieces of equipment.  Some are related to Northern California and some aren’t, but they’re old pieces of equipment so we can go back to the days of old and see what they were like when they operated in the Northern California area.”
Shuman also told the Fantom Penguin that the Society’s long-term goal is to open a museum of local rail history.
“Yes, we hope to have a museum where we can display railroad memorabilia and items and have a continual rotating display.  Currently we have a lot of artifacts, but they’re stored throughout various parts of the Redding area in homes and so we’re looking for one location to put everything.  Right now we’re negotiating with the city at leasing a larger parcel just north of here in order to lay out track, have an operating loop so that we can take passengers for little short train rides and move our equipment around.”
The Fantom Penguin asked Shuman how interested persons could get involved.
He replied, “Well, there’s a couple ways.  They can either contact myself or any board member; we are online at  The application is there as well as phone numbers to contact us.  So, if anybody’s interested they can call me personally at (530) 604-8006 or (530) 241-4350.  And we’re always looking for new members to join, come down and help and either restore cars, paint cars, work on track or various other items that we have.”

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People of Progress a Hub for Services

Posted in Feature Articles on February 12, 2011 by
People of Progress Thrift Store, Redding, Ca

Photo by Joe McGarity


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A fresh coat of paint and a new sign adorn the building on Center Street at the People of Progress Thrift Store.  The merchandise inside the building is getting new life as well.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Melinda Brown, who told us about their operation,

“Our thrift store is one of the biggest in town and we have a good, high-quality selection and we’re very grateful to the community for their donations over the years.  We have over 14,000 items.  We have over 6,000 books.  We have the hugest shoe collection in town and bedding; we have knickknacks and gifts.  We don’t have a lot of furniture, but some interesting things come through and we also have things that can be made into art, I always say, things just waiting for that person to come by, to doll it up and make something out of it so you never know what you’re going to find.  Although if you’re coming for clothing or shoes, you’re always going to find a great selection of that, but other things, you just never know what you’re going to find.”

You may not know what you’re going to find, but you will know how your purchase impacts the community.

Melinda Brown went on, “So there’s a huge selection and we really depend on the store; it’s 75% of our funding.  That’s really unusual to have a store that provides that much and ours helps the community four or five ways:  It helps divert things from the landfill, it helps, you know, “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?  Well, we’re reusing before we recycle when you buy at our store, you’re shopping locally and then your dollars are directly funding the capacity for us to have our food bank and resource center so it’s helping about five different ways.  It’s extremely important to our organization that our thrift store does well.”

While it may be tempting to think of them as a great place to find cheap chic shoes, retro clothing and other goodies in their famous thrift store, that’s only the tip of the iceberg for P. O. P.  Melinda Brown told us what People of Progress really do.

“Some people think People of Progress is a great thrift store, and they would be right, but what the purpose of the store is, is to fund our programs and we serve 16,000 people a year with food for 280,000 meals, emergency clothing; we have two community gardens, a community orchard; we help with emergency prescriptions and transportation, so we’re kind of a one-stop center to help people in need.”

Not content to merely distribute food, P. O. P. works to help the community come together to grow healthy fruits and vegetables at the local level.

Brown continues, “P. O. P. has been on the forefront of the community garden movement.  Ours is about forty years old, one of the oldest in the nation and we have two gardens, one at the Dieselhorst Bridge, one at Kids’ Kingdom in Enterprise.  And we also just planted an orchard two years ago, so we’re hoping that that will start producing fruit soon too.  They aren’t gardened in common; you have your own plot and we charge you for a water fee and you grow what you want as long as it’s organic and legal and then we ask for a donation to our food bank of some of the things that you’ve grown, like a big bagful once a year.  And it’s a great place if you’re going on vacation.  You know, there’s somebody there to water for you.  So a community garden is different and at best is if you can grow in your own yard.  Then you aren’t spending gasoline to get somewhere.  But, if you don’t have a yard or if it’s too shady or too rocky a community garden is a great way to go.”

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Roller Derby Athletes Both Flash and Substance

Posted in Feature Articles on February 5, 2011 by
Redding Roller Girls
Photo by Joe McGarity

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There’s more going on at Big League Dreams than men’s softball.  On the far side of the batting cages stands the field house, the home of the Northstate’s very own roller derby team, the Redding Roller Girls.  As Redding Youth Hockey League players finish their game, the women lace-up their traditional quad roller skates and prepare to take the field.  The Fantom Penguin spoke with Canna Bull, a jammer for the Redding Roller Girls, who explained the rules,

“The sport is essentially a physically hard race.  You have two jammers that are on the back line and then you have a pack of four girls from each team on the front line.  When the ref blows the whistle, the first pack takes off.  After the last girl crosses that first line, then the ref is gonna blow two more whistles.  The jammers, which is the position that I play, they then take off and they try pretty much their hardest to get through a pack of eight girls that are trying to stop you by pushing you out of the way, trying to block you.  If you manage to make it through that pack and come all the way back around the track, then you can start scoring points.  For every person, or blocker, on the opposite team that you pass you score one point.  At that point, if you’re the lead jammer, you can either call it off or you can keep going until the refs call it off after two minutes.”

Although the competition is fierce and to the untrained eye can seem like a violent free-for-all, Roller Derby, as sanctioned by the U. S. Roller Sports Association, has strict rules.

Canna Bull explains, “Roller Derby is a full-contact sport but there are many rules that keep us from physically injuring other players on purpose or hitting them in the face, elbowing them.  We all play a very clean game and those players that do not are asked to leave the game.”

The rules are serious and so is the training, but showmanship and theater are also a traditional part of roller derby.  Each member of the team takes on a “skate name”, her persona in the rink.

Canna Bull concludes, “I think if you’re a woman that wants to be involved in sports, roller derby is the best sport to be a part of.  There is nothing like the camaraderie that you get from hitting your own friends at practice.”