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Time For Back-To-School Shopping

We’ve reached the second week of August and, more importantly for many people, the final week of summer vacation.

Why, might I ask, does school begin in mid-August? Way back when I was in school – before cell phones, personal computers and even student backpacks – the school year started on Thursday after Labor Day weekend. It was sort of an awkward start to the year, especially in the time when schools closed for Admission Day (September 9). You could go to school for two days, and then get a three-day weekend. Awesome! The school year ended on the second Thursday in June.

There were pleas back then to start school a little earlier so that the year ended before Memorial Day weekend. The long weekend seemed like a logical start to summer vacation and, besides, no student, teacher or even janitor was paying much attention during the eight days of school after Memorial Day. (Oh, wait, did I miss a final exam?)

These days, school starts about three weeks before the former start date. Yet, in many districts, the final bell doesn’t ring until early June. What gives?

Well, although Admission Day is no longer a school holiday, there are a few additional three-day weekends. All of Thanksgiving week is now a holiday, not only Thursday and Friday. Some vacation weeks spill over to the preceding Friday or following Monday.

The biggest change, though, might be this: Kids spend more time in school now. When I was in grammar school and high school, there were no more than 175 days of instruction. I think schools could even get away with 172. This coming year, schools in the Shasta Union High School District are open 180 days. That’s a good thing if you’re a parent. But I bet kids would rather have another week of summer vacation.

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• August 16 is the first day of class at Shasta College, and here’s a course that I know wasn’t offered when I was buying Scantron forms: Exploring Contemporary Television. Yep, you may get three units of humanities credit for watching “The Daily Show” and “I Love Lucy.” The course is intended to explore the impact of television on popular culture, and vice-versa. The class will meet Wednesday evenings at New Technology High School in Anderson and Thursday evenings at Shasta College’s Tehama campus. Register at the Shasta College website, www.shastacollege.edu.

• August 15 is the deadline to submit photos for the Nor-Cal Think Pink Breast Cancer Awareness photo contest. Winning entries will be featured in the 40,000 breast health calendars that are distributed on Think Pink Day, October 21. (No kids, that’s not a school holiday.) For details, check the Nor-Cal Think Pink website.

• Renowned Lego sculptor Nathan Sawaya is demonstrating his expertise at Turtle Bay Exploration Park through this Tuesday, August 10. He’ll create four new brick sculptures and hide a four-foot Lego spider somewhere in the museum. Bet you can’t smash that one with a rolled up newspaper.

• Mark Korth, Bruce Dean and Chuck Spafford have joined the board of trustees of Mercy Foundation North, the philanthropic arm of the Mercy healthcare system. Korth is president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center Redding. Dean is president of Black Bear Diners. Spafford owns Spafford Insurance Services.

• The Shasta County District Attorney’s Office has moved its entire operation from its old Court Street location to 1355 West Street. All phone numbers and email addresses remain unchanged.

Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and wonders if the good ol’ days were really that good. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at pauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

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