Fresno State student government legislators again delayed a decision on whether to take action against student body President Pedro Ramirez and Vice President of Finance Cesar X. Sanchez, who are under investigation for code of conduct violations. At its Wednesday meeting, Associated Students Inc. voted to extend investigations of Ramirez and Sanchez for another month. Students leading the investigations are scheduled to announce their findings at the May 4 meeting, the last regular meeting before the newly elected student government takes office June 1.
Ramirez, who has admitted he is an illegal immigrant, is under investigation for allegedly driving without a license. Earlier this year, Ramirez crashed a pickup while giving a ride to a friend who had been drinking, and Fresno police have said there were signs Ramirez was speeding.
Selena Farnesi, the third ASI officer embroiled in controversy this year, was given a clean slate, however. ASI cleared Farnesi of allegations that she violated student government laws and voted that no action be taken against her. Farnesi will keep her position as executive vice president and make a smooth transition to student body president in June. In a letter to ASI, the investigating committee called Farnesi "a great leader and ... a vital part of ASI." Farnesi was elected ASI president last month.
Students may feel pain of MWC move
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Fresno State students will have to pay more to see their athletes compete in the Mountain West Conference. The university will join the new conference for the 2012-13 school year after leaving the Western Athletic Conference, but the transition comes with a price tag. Students could pay up to $70 more in fees to help fill a $2.9 million revenue shortfall for athletic programs, said Cynthia Teniente-Matson, Fresno State's vice president for administration.
Teniente-Matson outlined a few options for closing the budget gap at Wednesday's student government meeting: possible increases of $25, $55 or $70 for instructional-related fees, on top of the $124 that students now pay. A $70 fee increase would generate enough funds to support athletic programs, but anything less would require pulling more money from Fresno State's general fund to fill the $2.9 million gap. With all fee options, $10 would be allocated toward academic services, with the remainder dedicated for athletics.
An online survey will be sent to students via email and social media to seek feedback, and student focus groups will help make the final decision, Teniente-Matson said.
Dealership, school to try to raise $6,000
Future Ford of Clovis and Buchanan High School are partnering to help raise up to $6,000 in support of the Buchanan High School Foundation.
The event begins at 2 p.m. Friday at Buchanan High School, 1560 N. Minnewawa Ave., during the Buchanan High School junior varsity and varsity baseball games.
Residents can raise money for the Buchanan High School Foundation by test-driving a Ford vehicle.
For every person who test-drives an available Ford model at the event, Ford Motor Company and Future Ford of Clovis will donate $20 to the Buchanan High School Foundation.
Each test drive will last seven to 10 minutes.
Landfill has had possible violations
The hazardous-waste landfill at Kettleman Hills had several possible violations in the past for not properly treating waste and not following guidelines in analyzing toxics, a federal report said Wednesday.
The report sums up the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's investigation of the Chemical Waste Management landfill, dating back to early 2010. No decisions have been made about possible fines.
EPA officials say they have no proof that violations in the investigation present a risk to the community of Kettleman City. Residents suspect a link between the landfill and birth defects in their town of 1,500.
Federal officials last year announced several similar violations at the landfill. Many have been resolved, including the improper analysis, according to the report. Read the report: http://www.epa.gov/region9/kettleman/
Parking discount program announced
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin, downtown restaurant owners and community leaders gathered Wednesday to announce a new parking discount program tied to the 2011 Fresno Grizzlies season.
The "Dizzy Diner Discount" provides a $5 coupon to the first 400 cars that park in downtown's Spiral Garage on each Grizzlies home game day. The coupon is good on that day only at eight restaurants near Chukchansi Park, the Grizzlies' home field. It costs $5 to park in the distinctive garage, located on the northwest corner of Van Ness Avenue and Inyo Street.
Swearengin said the program encourages people to visit downtown, attend Grizzlies games and have a good time at participating restaurants.