Shasta County Wish List


Dear Santa,

How are you? I hope things aren’t too cold up there at the North Pole. Give my regards to Mrs. Claus and the elves, whoops, I mean the little people.

I realize it’s been a long time since I’ve written, 1972 to be precise. Belated thanks for the slot car racetrack, bicycle and snowmobile! Best Christmas ever!

I also know it’s a little late in the season to be writing, but this isn’t about me. It’s about my friends and neighbors here in Shasta County. Remember how the Grinch stole Christmas from the fair citizens of Whoville? Well, having just moved here two years ago, I’m not quite certain, but I think the same thing has happened here!

So, without further ado, here’s my Christmas list for Shasta County!

1. A heaping sackful of self-esteem. Sadly, some folks here appear to be obsessed with turning Redding (our major town) into a “world-class city.” If they could just feel a little better about themselves, perhaps they’d be happy just being who we are. It may take more than one sack. A sleigh full of sacks, perhaps. Maybe two trips.

2. A heavy-duty tarp large enough to cover the Redding Big League Dreams Sports Park. Unfortunately, some dreams don’t come true (not your fault) and we’ve had to resort to painting faces in the grandstands in lieu of the nonexistent fans who never came to watch the nonexistent pro sports team. I’m thinking if we could get a big enough tarp, we can cover the stadium and move all the homeless people in there to keep them out of the weather.

3. If you can’t find a big enough tarp, a minor league soccer team would be nice.

4. As many cases of hard liquor as you can carry. That will keep potential drunk drivers at home instead of terrorizing our highways and roads this holiday season.

5. Jobs. Our unofficial unemployment rate exceeds 20 percent. Our high schoolers leave just as soon as they graduate because there’s no work. We once had a burgeoning medical marijuana industry, until the county supervisors and the sheriff killed it. Slipping some of those aforementioned cases of hard liquor down the chimneys of the county supes and the sheriff might work wonders!

6. Precipitation. You’ve done a great job so far this holiday season—it’s snowing as I write—but we’re going to need a lot more of the wet stuff to get us back on track. Filling Lake Shasta to the brim should do the trick.

7. A real newspaper. Perhaps you haven’t heard yet, but the East Valley Times went out of business last week. Now the people of eastern Shasta County have no way to find out what’s going on at their school board meetings. It’s true we still have a daily newspaper, but we don’t really talk about the daily newspaper. Maybe a website?

8. A flatbed trailer. Six months ago, I wrote this story about how some jerks dropped off 10 decrepit, rusted-out cars across the road from one of my neighbors. Well believe it or not Santa, even though I called the county several times, those cars are still there, haven’t moved an inch! You supply the truck, we’ll provide the labor.

9. High-tech lab equipment. As I mentioned the kids around here don’t have much to do, so they’ve resorted to blowing themselves up along with entire neighborhoods making something called “butane honey oil.” I have no idea what that is, but I understand it can be manufactured far more safely with something called an “extractor.” You can binge-watch “Breaking Bad” on Netflix for some ideas.

10. Peace on earth and goodwill to everyone.

11. Lots of salmon and a gigantic fish ladder. As tough as the drought has been on all of us, the fish have been nearly wiped out. If you can fill the lake up as I asked and build a giant fish ladder so the salmon can get over the top of Shasta Dam, well, that would make a lot of people very, very happy. Not to mention the salmon.

12. State of Jefferson t-shirts all around!

That’s it for now, Santa. I know some of these are big asks, but I’m telling you, we’ve got big trouble here in Whoville. You’ve been really good to me, I don’t need a thing, but if you could at least bring those homeless people in from the cold, that would be awesome!

Merry Christmas!


R.V. Scheide
R.V. Scheide has been a northern California journalist for more than 20 years. He appreciates your comments and story ideas. He can be emailed at
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36 Responses

  1. Avatar EasternCounty says:

    I’ve been thinking for a long time that Stillwater would be a good place for the tarp, but your idea of tarping Big League Dreams may be even better.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Someone else also suggested Stillwater. They were being serious, so it must be a good idea! Merry Christmas!

  2. Avatar cheyenne says:

    I was involved in softball in the Redding area, actually Anderson, and promoted many tournaments that drew teams from all over California as well as southern Oregon.  I also assisted others who promoted successful tournaments.  When Redding started having meetings about Big League Dreams we were at all the meetings.  It became apparent to us from the answers to our inquires that softball was going to change in Shasta County and not for the better.  The overwhelming answers to our questions was, “We are professionals from southern California and know what is best for Redding”.  Where have I heard that before?

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I missed all the negotiations, but I go to the dump all the time (they built in next to the dump?!) and the first thing I noticed was the painted fans in the stands. It made me very sad.

  3. Avatar robie rich says:

    Love it and totally agree!!


  4. A note to Santa about those State Of Jefferson t-shirts.  Put them in one big pile so I can put  a torch to them.. A bad idea , Just remember UNITED WE STAND AND DIVIDED WE FALL.

  5. Avatar Virginia says:

    Big Dreams Park was a dunce from the start.  Over hyped and over cost! The parks for the young ones need to be where they can get to them!  Not chauffeured because some of the young you want to help don’t have anyone to chauffeur them, for heavens sake.  Want thise kids to play ball, not to begin using drugs!

    Then, let’s not think of all the bright ones in the City who thought the State wouldn’t sue them!

    Last but not least, we end up with Big Dreams and they want to serve liquor to the parents!!  And, who cleans up the place, the City!

    We need to be the City that the people loves our lives to be less complicated, and most of all to not try to be like all the other places in the Bay Area or LA Basin.

    Just use common sense, not emotion!

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      I had no idea people felt the same way about Big Dreams Park. The only reason I know about it is because it’s next to the dump! I wonder how much taxpayer money they spent on that thing?!

    • Avatar Damon Miller says:

      Hey, BLD worked out okay for Pat Kight. Remember, Pat? The Redding City Councilman who brought BLD to town in 2001 and went to work for Big League Dreams around 2005? I don’t. And remember the managing editor of the Record Searchlight who got a job at the City of Redding about two years later?



      • Avatar Virginia says:

        Started out at abut $5 million.  Last I heard, the cost to build was something over $12 million.  But who knows how much was hidden, and of that, the cost to maintain by City a year is not included.  At one time the City tried to say look at all the motel tax, etc. that the visitors paid.  My thought was at the time I read it was, hooey!

        $500 K plus for the fine by State.  In the middle of nowhere, too!

  6. Avatar Breakfast Guy says:

    R.V. – I completely agree with Robie. The tarp idea is not bad. Bet BLD wish they could turn back time & not have invested in Shasta County. I feel sad for them.

    Happy Christmas and all the best to you.

  7. Avatar name says:

    It is too bad that the East Valley Times went away.  They covered quite a bit of stuff that could not be found in any other places (such as Bella Vista Water District, and proposed cell towers).

    Maybe someone will come up with a way for them to run it via a profitable website, like this one.  I do not think that they went under, I think the lady just wanted to retire and could not fund anyone willing to take over.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      We were actually considering buying East Valley Times, but nowadays, the numbers just don’t pencil out for real newspapers. Sad. RIP East Valley Times!

  8. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    I loved the East Valley Times and learned of its demise from this column.  Unfortunately, I stopped advertising in the EVT when I moved into town, which I now regret.  Still, when I’d visit Palo Cedro and grabbed a copy from a stand, I’d always drop extra quarters in the tube.  Death from a thousand cuts, I’m sure, but I can’t help feeling semi-responsible.

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      The owners worked their butts off! I felt bad that we couldn’t purchase the paper. I’m not so sure my style would have worked, but it would have been interesting to find out!

  9. Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

    13.  A time machine so that we can go back 20 years and lobby for the 10th UC campus that went to Merced.  I was a lecturer at UC Davis when the competition was on, and we in the UC system looked on in horror as Redding’s town fathers stated—right out loud—that they didn’t really want a UC campus because it would change the politics of the town.  We were like, WTF?  Shasta County is so flush that they can reject the gift of a public university?

    About a decade later, back when I had moved to Shasta County and the newspaper that we don’t talk about was a real paper that did in-depth investigative journalism, it ran a series of articles comparing Redding with Flagstaff, AZ, in detail.  The objective of the series was to determine why two very similar cities (in the currencies of population, distance from major cites, located on Interstate highways, traditionally dependent on resource-extraction economies, etc.) were so different in the present.  Flagstaff: thriving, affluent, groovy.  Redding: Perennially sucking left hind teat.

    The obvious answer:  Flagstaff has University of Northern Arizona.  Redding didn’t even yet have The Bethel Effect.

    • Avatar EasternCounty says:

      I’m apparently in the minority, but I find it odd that Bethel has such influence.  People and companies move to Redding because of Bethel.

      • Avatar K. Beck says:

        Redding population: just under 100,000.

        Bethel Redding population: approximately 8,000. They seem to have money, and a LOT of really smart people. They look around and see obvious deficiencies here and they take action to fix them. Of course they benefit from that help, too. But at least they are willing to work, and spend some of their money, to help solve problems here.

        Make sense now?


    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Hell, I forgot to put a UC or CSU campus on the list! PS Santa!

  10. RV, here’s a hint to keep in your pocket: Merriam Webster reminds us that the “adieu” means “an expression of good wishes when someone leaves”.  I suspect the word you intended to use was “ado” (‘without further ado’) which means  “foolish or unnecessary talk, trouble, or activity”.

    It’s a common mix-up, and I’m sure we know what you meant, but it changes your intent quite a bit.  Perhaps your editor just missed it this time.

    So without further ado, Merry Christmas and thank you for your comprehensive list!  Adieu!

    • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

      A SNOOT!  I like to think I’m one, too, but I completely missed the adieu/ado hiccup.  Jenny, do you have a copy of Brian A. Garner’s A Dictionary of Modern American Usage on your reference shelf?   I bought mine immediately after reading the late David Foster Wallace’s essay, Tense Present: Democracy, English, and the Wars over Usage.

      In the usage wars, your Merriam-Webster falls into the Descriptivist’s camp (vs. the Prescriptivists).  Anything goes, so long as it’s what most people are writing, most of the time.  Perhaps in 100 years, R.V. will be able to respond that your objection is much adieu about nothing (though “ado” for “adieu” is more likely).


      • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

        By the way, Jenny, here in ‘Merica, we put the period that terminates the sentences inside the quotation marks.   I’ve published in a British journal in which the period goes on the outside of the quoted text, and you English Commonwealth-types make no exceptions for us Yanks.  Further, I had to use your funny Brit spellings of behaviour and colour and such.  The period inside the quotation marks makes absolutely no sense, and it’s not consistent with where we put a terminating question mark relative to a quote, but that’s how we do it here, goddamn it.  When in Rome, Jenny.

        • Avatar K. Beck says:

          …born & raised in the USA. I put the period, or whatever I put, that terminates the sentence outside the quotation marks. Because it makes sense to do it that way. Sometimes rules make no sense and we should not follow them in those instances! Maybe it is because I was in college in the 60’s and we ignored dumb rules back then????

          • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

            I agree that the Brits have it right by putting the period outside the quotation marks.  Anarchists like you—and that guy who was recently found in a local parking lot not wearing pants—reveal to the rest of us the rich palate of life’s possibilities.  Two spaces after a period, though—I don’t care what the newest fashion is.  We live in a society.  We can’t have total chaos.

            My all-time favorite rejection of an edit is Sir Winston Churchill’s margin note in a draft of a speech he was writing.  (The story is apocryphal, but I still like it.)   He had been advised to not end a sentence with a dangling preposition.  He wrote:  “This is just the sort of nonsense up with which I will not put.” (I put the period inside the quotation marks because even though he probably used the British convention of putting it outside, the quotation marks are mine, not his.)

    • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

      Ah, damn! I used to know that, but I forgot! I knew there was something odd about that! Thank you. Now I won’t make that mistake again till 2025.

      • R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

        I mean the “adieu v. ado.” I’m not even going near the Oxford comma debate. AP Stylebook forever!

        • Well, I missed the ado do, too. Ah, the beauty of online is we can fix it, so in the future, when others read this post and see the comments, they will wonder, and perhaps doubt themselves.

          p.s. Here at A News we use AP lite.

        • Steve Towers Steve Towers says:

          When I have to justify how I’m formatting or editing a bulleted list of particulars (as one example), I pull The Chicago Manual of Style from my references bookshelf.  I might have to add the AP Stylebook to that shelf at some point.

    • Say, Jenny, I could totally see you with your own column.

  11. R.V. Scheide Jr. R.V. Scheide Jr. says:

    Great news! Someone finally came and hauled off those wrecked automobiles! Sometimes wishes come true!

  12. Congratulations, R.V. I have a hunch your prodding had a bit to do with it. 🙂