When Rocky Slaughter opened for Ben Parr recently at McConnell Foundation headquarters, Slaughter took the opportunity to also introduce his latest website, Amazing Redding.com ... A Collection of Reasons Why Redding is Amazing.
The site, created by Slaughter's Sugar Pine Media, is trying to change the conversation and perception about Redding, California, a place that's always struggled with its Poverty Flats roots, but lately has even more identity issues.
Play the word-association game about "Redding" and you're likely to hear common descriptions: It's hotter than hell. It rates high when it comes to unemployment, divorce, suicide, foster-child population, registered sex offenders and domestic violence.
It scores low when it comes to things like per capita income and advanced degrees.
Maybe hometown bashing is a sport in most cities, but Slaughter says enough. It's time to accentuate the positive. Behold, Amazing Redding.com.
I'd guess that the most obvious Amazing Redding.com submissions would include places like the Sacramento River and its trail system, and the Sundial Bridge. So far on Amazing Redding, just one famous Redding person was mentioned, Merle Haggard. And just one famous Redding-born person was listed: Kevin Rose, a young Silicon Valley millionaire.
Another "amazing" thing cited on Amazing Redding.com is that Redding has the last northern-most In 'n' Out Burger location in California. And Redding's Aquatic Center has the only Olympic size swimming pool north of Sacramento.
Does it feel like we're stretching here? Maybe. Uh, what else? Shasta Dam? Nooo, that's not in Redding. Whiskeytown Lake (as seen above)? It's not in Redding, either.
I kept clicking on Amazing Redding's OK, give me another button to see more submissions on the Amazing Redding page. But by my count, there are only about two dozen answers on Slaughter's Amazing Redding page. Some are about specific businesses, like the Dermstore, or a company that created the "Jetovator". Other nominations have more to do with their proximity to Redding, like Shasta Lake, which, to my mind, is kind of cheating, because Shasta Lake isn't in Redding.
So, here's our task for the day: Name some amazing things about Redding. You can leave them in the comment section below, so we can all see them. But if you'd like, you can also go to Slaughter's webpage and enter your response.
We can do this. Here, I'll go first, since I tend to be attracted to some of the more quirky amazing finds, like Snoopy Rock on 299 east, but that's outside Redding, or the Freeway Christmas Tree, but that's outside Redding, too.
OK, just Redding ...
I've got one! My nomination for an amazing Redding place is Jindra's 76 Auto Service station and community message board on East Cypress in Redding. I find myself looking toward that station for a boost, and am rarely disappointed when I read messages of love, pride and joy. Happy birthday, happy anniversary, happy retirement, welcome home, will you marry me. It's about $5 per message. You go into the station, pick a date, and choose the message; 11 characters each on three lines. It's a community service, and I'm always grateful Jindra's does it, though I always expect that one day, they'll stop.
I left a message there when oldest Josh arrived home safely from Iraq, and when youngest son Joe, his wife and their friend visited America this summer. Also, as far as I know, Jindra's is the only full-service gas station in Redding.
My challenge to you, just for today, is to describe one amazing thing about Redding. No mention of the heat or transients or crimes or poverty or meth, please. Not today.
One Amazing Redding thing is ...
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Chamberlain was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.