Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monday is Community Day at the Savory Spoon


Photo by Joe McGarity



In these dark economic times, it’s still possible to take the entire family out for a meal at a nice restaurant no matter how broke the family may be.  The Fantom Penguin interviewed Ann Webber, Co-owner of The Savory Spoon at her restaurant in the Hartnell Castle in Redding.

“Well, we have opened the restaurant with the goal of serving the community on one day a week, so we have a regular menu on the other days and then on Mondays we have a menu that exists just on a pay-as-you-can basis.   So, we have Wednesday – Saturday lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch and then Monday is Community Day.  And so that was our original plan was to try and find a way to offer food to the community that was not charged for.”

The Savory Spoon opened on Veterans Day, 2011.

“We started off feeding veterans free.  That was our first day.  And now we’re just getting where we’re opening on Wednesdays.  We didn’t open on Wednesdays until just this week.”

“We didn’t really do a Grand Opening.  We’ve opened gradually and just used Facebook primarily for advertising.  A couple weeks ago, we were reviewed by the Record Searchlight and got a really good review and we got really, really busy.  And then we’ve since put an ad in the Date section and we’re doing a little bit more advertising here and there.  But we’re just kind of letting it evolve on its own and find its place and give us a chance to really get up to speed too.”

The Fantom Penguin took the opportunity to draw on the tablecloth with the crayons that were provided for this purpose while perusing the Community Day menu, which did not provide any pricing.

“The menu is derived from my home-cooking recipes that have been adapted and measured.  I never measured anything before, so we’re measuring things now so that we have consistent recipes.  So, it’s mostly comfort-style food and a lot of vegetarian foods.  And our menu is not as extensive on Community Day, but it’s all of the same type of items.  All of our hamburgers are available.  We usually have at least one pasta, sometimes three.  And we have homemade soups and if we have any other goodies left over, they’re on the menu for that day as well.  We had shrimp a couple of weeks ago that I had a lot left, so everybody got shrimp.  If it’s desert, everybody gets desert, whatever it might be.”

Most of the food and produce is sourced locally and organic.  The chicken is free-range.  Local suppliers are preferred wherever possible.

“Through providing local ingredients, I’m working towards getting people to appreciate and understand healthier foods, so that when they eat something and it’s using brown rice or wild rice or vegetables that they may not eat on a regular basis like a parsnip.  If we put a parsnip into something and they find out that they like it, they may buy it next time they go to the Farmer’s Market and learn to use more healthy ingredients in their own lives.”

But aren’t they losing money by giving food away?

“Here’s what we’re finding:  Throughout the rest of the week people are coming to us because they want to have some contribution to Community Day.  People say to me, ‘Oh, that’s such a great thing you’re doing,’ and I tell them as they’re eating their food, ‘You’re helping us do it by coming in any day of the week and giving us the business that helps us to be able to afford to do that on Community Days.’”

The Savory Spoon is open for business:
Wednesday – Saturday                 11:00 – 8:00
Sunday for brunch from                10:00 – 2:00
Community Day Monday              12:00 – 6:00







Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas in Scripture

Photo by Joe McGarity

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(Luke Chapter 2:  Verses 1-14)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree form Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed.  (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)  And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.  And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.



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Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas in Light

Photo by Joe McGarity

This week’s Fantom Penguin story is brought to you by Majestic Limousine.  Ride in Royal Style.  www.MajesticLimousineRC.com

The Fantom Penguin did take a ride with sponsor Majestic Limousine last week, in royal style.  But Majestic Limousine is not just a Fantom Penguin sponsor.  Co-owner Cindy McGarity-Slade is this reporter’s mother.

Majestic Limousine was started three years ago by Ron and myself, Ron Linebarger, my partner and we’ve been doing the Christmas Lights for that length of time.  It’s one of the most popular tours that we have available and it’s quite popular during the Christmas season.  We have a couple of different packages:  $149 for an hour-an-a-half tour or $180 for a two-and-a-half hour tour.  We go to neighborhoods such as Barrel Court and Old Barn Way, Lucerne and El Verano, just to name a few.”

One particular display on El Verano Street at the home of the Van Gent family rather stood out.  And as if as if the all the pretty lights, about a hundred thousand of them, were not enough, guess what?  It’s also synchronized to music.

The Fantom Penguin asked Steven Van Gent how in this amazing production was accomplished.

“One of these ports is designed, it’s a female, and it’s designed to go into the back of the computer or the upstream controller and then one of these ports allows you to send data to the next controller downstream.  And then the board will strip off data, as the computer is sending out data to control the lights, the board will strip off its packet of data and then it will send the remaining data out this serial port to the next controller in line until the last controller finally gets its last piece of data.  Because electricity is 60 cycles, this happens effectively 60 times per second.  It’s sending out fresh data to each controller 60 times a second so that it can keep up with the light show.”

“Basically, you lay down the song first and then you go back, you backtrack and you start inserting the lights so that they are in sequence or in time with the song.  And effectively the software looks a lot like Excel, if people are familiar with Excel spreadsheet formula.  There’s lots of these cells and on the Y-axis you have the controllers, the individual outlets that you see on this box.  Each one of these outlets is represented by one square in the Excel spreadsheet going down and then along the horizontal axis or the X-axis would be time.  As the song is playing that’s broken into time segments.”

“And so during this time we take each one of those squares, representing one of these outlets and we tell the light what to do at that instant in time at that particular outlet.”

“And so you can imagine, in my case I’ve got 800 different outlets and so on my spreadsheet there are 800 cells going down all the way during the entire course of the song, so thousands and thousands and thousands of cells that we have to fill up with data to tell the lights what to do over the period of a song.  And so it takes about twelve hours to sequence a single song.”

The family has a website dedicated to their display at www.ReddingLights.com.

At the time of publication Majestic Limousine still had some tour dates available after Christmas.  They can be reached at (530) 347-0567 or at www.MajesticLimousineRC.com.

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Christmas in Recovery

Photo by Joe McGarity


The holidays should be a time of joy and good cheer, but for many it can be a time of depression, anxiety and in some cases, substance abuse.  If you’re in over your head, the Empire Recovery Center on California Street is a Redding institution in every sense.  The Fantom Penguin visited Acting Program Coordinator, Robin Gosney in her office.

“Well, it starts with an assessment.  You make a phone call down here and say, ‘Hey, I’m thinking about coming in.’  You’re scheduled for an assessment.  Some individuals are in need of detoxification services and we do have non-medical detoxification services right here at the Empire.”

“Your usual stay in detox is anywhere from three to -- at the outside, maybe eight or nine days for a very severe alcohol or opiate withdrawal.  We ask that people see a doctor prior to coming into detox, just so that they’re cleared for a non-medical detox.  We do assist them with medications that the doctor prescribes to help them detox if their doctor prescribes medications such as Librium, Ativan, something like that.  We assist them with that to make their detox a little easier.   Then if they decide to come into the residential part of what we do here, what we offer is a 30-day residential or 60 or 90 days.  It depends upon how long an individual feels they need to stay or what might be required of them perhaps by a court of law.  Sometimes people get themselves in a jam and a court of law suggests that they stay 60 or 90 days in treatment.  I think everybody can be well served by 60 days, personally.”

“You’re monitored throughout the day and throughout the evening by detox personnel, by volunteers and your needs are addressed.  You get your meals throughout the day.  You get all the Gatorade that you would possibly want to drink and water.  You’re monitored so that if you’re having any kind of extreme difficulties, we are trained as staff to recognize that and if you need to go off to the emergency room then we’re there to address that with you.  And again, we’re there to help monitor medications that your doctor might have given to you, keep them in a locked cabinet, bring them to you at the medication time and then you can dispense those to yourself in front of us, under a watchful eye.  At home, if your family’s having to deal with you during that time, it can be very difficult for the family or if an individual’s trying to detox themselves, it can be pretty dangerous.  Alcoholics can die in detox.  People coming off of benzodiazepines can die in detox.  And we have trained professionals here who are trained to keep an eye on folks and monitor their condition and any signs that that individual’s in trouble, emergency services are called.  It’s also a time to get thoughtful for many individuals.  You know, you are in that little room.”

“When somebody’s really going through withdrawals, they don’t really want a counselor.  They don’t want me in their face.  I’m a counselor.  Usually a few days up in detox, an individual might decide, ‘Hey, you know maybe I really need to stay and seek residential services.  Maybe I do need to work one on one directly with a counselor and attend some classes,’ and that’s when they’re assessed for that and if they’re approved to come into the residential part of treatment, that’s when they meet me usually.  I seldom work up in detox.  I’ve helped out up there, but that’s not my main thing that I do.”

What then does one do for sixty days?

“There’s classes throughout the day.  Those classes range from educational classes where disease concept is explored.  Relapse prevention is discussed, the various aspects of the disease.  The individual has a chance to really learn about what’s going on with them.  And also in those educational classes they learn about various ways to continue their recovery once they leave treatment.  All too often, people make the mistake of thinking that they can come into a 30-day program, 60 or 90 days even, and that they’ll be well when they leave here.  Really what they’re here to do is they’re here to have that safe place, to find people who are like them, to begin to relate, to understand that they’re not alone, to feel safe and then to become educated on what’s really going on with them and then what they’re going to need to do to continue to treat their disease.  We believe that addiction, alcoholism, that those are diseases which demand treatment.”

Due to the ongoing recession, Empire Recovery no longer provides detoxification services for free.  The center is currently home to a Christmas tree lot, which is a fundraiser for the detox program.  The residential program has something different.

“We have one program right now that we call the ‘Adopt a Room’ program.  There are rooms upstairs for the residents that house up to 32 residents and we’re always in the process or redoing this or redoing that.  If anyone wanted to give back to the Empire at some time, that would be very, very much appreciated whether it was a new dresser for the room, new bedding, a comforter for the room.  Perhaps someone would want to come in and spend time doing a little spackling, painting in the room.  Those kinds of things are always appreciated and needed here.”





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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Voices of the Occupation

Photo by Joe McGarity

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This week’s Fantom Penguin story is brought to you by TraderPenguin.com, an online portal to nearly everything with an emphasis on creators from the Northstate, TraderPenguin.com.

Many Fantom Penguin readers have asked for an explanation of the Occupy Wall Street movement.  What are they doing?  What’s it about?  But don’t bother looking for a spokesperson from the organization.  There aren’t any.  There are eyewitnesses like Northstate resident, Lura Kilpatric, to whom the Fantom Penguin spoke.

“Well, first of all, I want to say that I’m not a spokesperson for Occupy Wall Street or any of the other occupations.  I’m only here talking to you about my own feeling and my own opinions.  But, I believe that there is a huge disparity between the 99% and the 1%, which everybody pretty much knows about that.  There are a lot of people with a lot of opinions that are in the movement, so it’s not just any one thing.  It’s basically that a dialog needs to start about things that are happening around us that are causing the middle class to disappear, are causing millions of people to be living below poverty level or at poverty level more and more and for me that’s just not the American way.  A person should be able to get a job and work their way up in that job or get raises, prosper and be able to support themselves, their families, that sort of thing and we see more and more that that’s not happening.  People are losing jobs.  People have lost their homes due to illegal mortgage practices by the banks and these people, even if they did have some sort of work, are not able to buy new homes.  Some of them, a lot of people are now living in cars and things like that, including children.  I just was reading an article (and I can’t give you the numbers because I’m not real good at that), but there are a lot of families with children living in their cars and that’s just wrong.  There’s plenty of money.  There’s plenty of money in the world.”

This would be the point where the Fantom Penguin should mention that he would have been among the homeless were it not for Lura Kilpatric.  The RV in which this reporter is currently living belongs to her and sits on private property owned by another.  Without them, this publication could not exist.

“I was in New York with family, up in Upstate New York and I got the opportunity to go to New York City and I spent a good part of a day at Occupy Wall Street and I want to say, I was so impressed.  I was onboard anyway, but when I went there and I saw how organized they were and what they were doing there, I was really impressed.   Everything from recycling . . .  They composted things that were compostable.  They recycled everything.  They talk about public health and public safety and I saw no problems there.  It was very clean.  There were people . . . and I’ll send you a picture.   I’ve got pictures.  There are big barrels full of brooms and mops and things like that and people were coming by and sweeping up and it was very clean.  So, that thing with the news about it being not clean and not sanitary was not anything that I saw.  I saw a very organized and very clean . . .  The other thing that was great was you saw sort of areas where tables were set up where people had information and so as the tourists were walking through (and there were a lot of tourists there) you could stop somewhere and find out a little more about a certain subject and they had a lot of different things for people to, you know, places where you could stop and ask questions and things like that.  They had teach-ins in different areas.  In case you don’t know what a teach-in is, it’s where someone, an expert in say economics, comes in and they talk to whatever group of people are interested in learning about some certain aspect of economics, for instance.  There was library.  I’m sure everybody’s . . . well, maybe not.  If you watch mainstream news you probably wouldn’t know this.  There was a library with thousands of books.  When the eviction happened the police trashed all these books.  It was just unbelievable and that brings me to another thing I wanted to say:  What you see on the news, those trashed places with that garbage all around and all that, that’s after the police came.  I don’t care where you were.  I’ve seen a lot of these places live-streamed, so I saw what they were like before the police came and I saw what they were like after the police left.  It was the police who trashed them not the occupiers and I want to make that very clear because that is one of the things that sheds a bad light on the occupation that is absolutely not the truth.”

The Fantom Penguin also spoke with local business owner David Encore of Encore Entertainment.

“Well, of course, I can’t speak for the movement.  We all can only speak for ourselves as individuals, but I think what it’s about is a global awareness of mass injustice.”

“I own a business.   I spend a lot of time, my personal time, dedicated to the Occupy Movement because whether I’m a business owner or not; I’m part of the 99%.  I know that and I want to do my part to help.  I feel like I’m partly responsible for the condition that our country’s been put in like everyone else.  We’re all responsible for being asleep and letting this happen to the way it has.  And so now this is my way of taking my personal responsibility for what’s been allowed to happen.  So, I’m out here doing my part.”

“I do get quite a bit of different customers who are telling me, ‘You shouldn’t connect your company to the movement,’ and, ‘If you’re going to have a Facebook page for your business it should be separate,’ and you know, I don’t feel that way.  I have no fear whatsoever in expressing my support of the movement.  So, if people don’t come to my shows or don’t hire me for some reason because of this, that means nothing to me.”

The Fantom Penguin asked David Encore if he thought the movement was receiving fair coverage in the news media.

“It’s hard to find a story that doesn’t have some spin attached to it and trying to make the protesters look like they’re homeless or they want a handout or something like that and that’s just not the case.  I would say that at least 80% of the people participating in this movement either have jobs or had jobs recently and they’ve been paying taxes and playing by the rules all these years and now that they’re standing up and doing something about it, they have to be subjected to ridicule and lies.”

Is Occupy Redding soft for not camping out overnight and for cooperating with authorities?

“It really has to do, I think, with the demographic here in the area.  When this first started, I was all about occupy, tents, camp-out, the whole nine yards.  But the fact is, is that we just didn’t have enough support for that.  Why do this with five or six tents whereas what we’re doing now?  Just being here is creating awareness and that’s what we’re really trying to do.  I think causing trouble and actually occupying here in Shasta County, we don’t have enough people for that.”

“We understand that civil disobedience is important, but in Redding we also think that awareness is important and people seeing us out here in front of City Hall, they’re still thinking about the cause.  Whether or not we’re out here camping, I think we get more support in this are by being civilly obedient than we would otherwise.”




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