More details have been released about a Dinuba motorcyclist killed this week in a fatal crash near Grants Grove.
The California Highway Patrol said Matthew Delbert Trimble, 24, was riding a Kawasaki 250 enduro-type motorcycle on Highway 180 east of Grants Grove when the crash occurred. Trimble was on a steep downhill portion of a left-turning curve when he apparently drifted off the roadway onto a dirt shoulder and went airborne over a steeply declining hillside.
The motorcycle hit a tree and both the rider and the machine rolled down the hillside into thick brush, which screened the crash scene from the roadway.
The Fresno County sheriff's helicopter discovered the scene Wednesday. The CHP said the crash occurred sometime between Monday and Wednesday morning.
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Thieves take $3,000 in Madera Co. wire
Copper wire thieves stole more than 200 feet of the material from a farmer this week in Madera County, the Sheriff's Department says.
The theft took place at Avenue 201/2 and Road 24, where 180 feet was taken from an electrical box and another 40 feet from the box to a pump.
The thieves also cut 16 cables from the electrical panel.
The value of the theft was at least $3,000.
Anyone with information is asked to contact detectives at (559) 675-7770 or Crime Stoppers at (559) 498-STOP.
Visalia police seek help finding man, 85
Visalia police are again asking for the public's help in finding an 85-year-old man who has been missing since he walked out of Kaweah Delta Medical Center in December.
George Ocaranza was last seen at 4:30 a.m. Dec. 19 at the hospital. He was visiting the emergency room for cuts and scrapes.
Ocaranza was wearing a black sweat outfit and blue baseball cap.
Anyone with information about his whereabouts is asked to call 911.
Madera school board fills two positions
The Madera Unified School District board filled two administrative positions Tuesday for the Madera Unified Board of Education.
Paul van Loon has been named the district's director of special services. He most recently was principal at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Madera.
Loon replaces Jennifer Gaviola, who is now a vice principal at Madera High School.
Julia Reese was hired as a chief academic officer at Madera High School. She was most recently the principal at Parlier Middle School.
Reese replaces Darren Sylvia, who accepted a position with the Merced Union High School District.
Two court systems in Fresno win awards
The Fifth District Court of Appeal and Fresno County Superior Court have been selected by the Judicial Council of California for a top award.
Both received the 2010-11 Ralph N. Kleps Award for Improvement in Administration of the Courts for the Transcript Assembly Program.
It is the first program in California that automates and transmits the compilation and preparation of civil clerk transcripts.
The Fifth District Court of Appeal received an additional Kleps Award for its Electronic Writ Processing Program.
This court-developed project is the first system in California to automate the distribution and disposition of cases in the appellate courts.
Visalia blaze starts with residents gone
Crews battled a house fire in northeast Visalia on Thursday morning, the Visalia Fire Department said.
Firefighters went to the single-story home on the 3900 block of east Fourth Creeks Court around 10:45 a.m., Visalia Fire Captain Mike Cromer said.
Crews were able to contain the blaze within 20 minutes, Cromer said.
Damages were estimated at $70,000. The residents of the home were not there when the house caught fire, Cromer said. No fire personnel were injured while fighting the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Big Picture High hires music director
Big Picture High School-Fresno hired Tim Johnson as the school's musical director this month.
Johnson, an accomplished violinist, guitarist, bassist and mandolin player, is well-known in the local classical music scene as well as for seven years as a member of the group Sons of the San Joaquin.
Johnson holds a bachelor's degree in business, a master's degree in music education and is pursuing his doctorate in music arts through Boston University.
Big Picture High School-Fresno enrolls students in grades 7-12 and emphasizes community involvement, internships and orchestral and vocal music.
Fresno State's Welty earns high marks
California State University Board of Trustees praised Fresno State President John Welty for strong leadership following a three-year job performance review. Welty earned high marks for his relationship with students, his handling of the budget crisis and the campus' commitment to community service.
The review, which concluded last week, does not come with a raise.
Home Privacy Act proposal postponed
Fresno City Council President Lee Brand said he is postponing the introduction of his Home Privacy Act until August so he can do more work on it.
The council was scheduled to vote on the act on Thursday.
Brand's proposal would regulate door-to-door peddlers and nonprofits seeking donations. The proposal would not affect nonprofit youth groups such as Girl Scouts selling cookies.
Sanger hires firm to aid city attorney
The city of Sanger has hired a law firm to help the city attorney.
The Sanger City Council approved hiring Lozano Smith Attorneys at Law to help the city attorney with municipal code, litigation and other legal services, city spokesman Dan Spears said.
Much of Lozano Smith's involvement with the city will be through its Local Government Practice Group, which specializes in current laws that affect local governments, Spears said.
Sanger seeks higher investment returns
The Sanger City Council authorized the city's finance director to seek higher returns on the city's cash held in outside investment accounts, said Sanger City Manager Brian Haddix.
Most of the city's cash reserves are invested with the California Local Agency Investment Fund, a deposit program with the California Treasurer's office.
The yield with LAIF is 0.5% per year and Sanger is losing money by keeping investments there, Sanger Mayor Joshua Mitchell said.
The Finance Director will question investment brokers in order to gather alternate investment options for the city council to review. Investment options are limited to government securities.
Delays expected on highways 99, 180
Delays are expected on Highway 99 and Highway 180 from 6 a.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday due to a construction project to repair distressed sections of the roadway, a spokesman for Caltrans said.
The northbound 99 Olive Avenue offramp will be closed along with the northbound 99 Belmont Avenue onramp and offramp.
Also, the northbound 99 middle and slow lane will be closed.
On Highway 180, the westbound to northbound 99 connector ramp and the eastbound 180 to northbound 99 loop onramp will be closed.
Drivers are advised to take extra precautions and look out for signs that will notify motorists of closures.
I-5 ramps to close
A construction project on Interstate 5 will close ramps in Kings County on Monday and Tuesday, said a Caltrans spokeswoman.
From 3 a.m. Monday to 6 p.m. Tuesday, the Highway 41 southbound connector on- and off-ramps to I-5 will be closed due to a pavement rehabilitation project on one mile of both northbound and southbound I-5.
Signs will notify motorists of the closures and a designated detour route.
The detour will add an additional 15 minutes to commute times, Caltrans said.
2 Valley teens lead state's delegation
Two Valley teens are headed to Washington, D.C., this morning, serving in leadership roles for the California delegation at the American Legion Boys Nation program.
Tor Gudmundsson of Hanford and Shaun Lichti of Clovis were elected to state leadership roles at the California Boys State Convention. Gudmundsson was elected governor of California Boys State and Lichti was elected party secretary.
Gudmundsson is the first governor of California Boys State from the Valley in nearly 30 years, Boys State district chairman Jay Ogawa said.
Both Gudmundsson and Lichti came from the same district, marking the first time ever that both state delegates came from the same American Legion district, Ogawa said.
Grant-writing workshops planned
The Visalia Citizens Advisory Committee is holding grant-writing workshops for nonprofit organizations interested in seeking city grants.
The hour-long workshops will be offered at 10 a.m. Aug. 6; 6 p.m. Aug. 11; and 11 a.m. Aug. 16. All workshops will be held at City Council Chambers, 707 W. Acequia Ave., Visalia.
The workshops are for organizations that are eligible to apply for grants through the city's Non-Profit Program Fund. The fund is designed to assist agencies in providing gang prevention/intervention programs and for services aimed at improving quality of life for youth.
Organizations interested in applying for the grants must attend one workshop session.
For more information, call Liz Ybarra at (559) 713-4598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workshops planned on aid for veterans
Quail Park Retirement Village in Visalia will host two workshops in August on veterans aid and attending benefits.
The workshops will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 9 and from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Aug. 13 at 4520 W. Cypress Ave. in Visalia.
Gilbert Fleming, an elder-law attorney, will be the guest speaker.
To RSVP, call (559) 624-3500.
Cowboy blood drive set in 2 Valley towns
Evans Feed & Livestock Supply will host the National Day of the Cowboy Blood Drive from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
The western lifestyle store is partnering with the Central California Blood Center at two of their stores -- at 241 S. E St. in Madera and 79 W. Orange St. in Porterville -- for the blood drive.
All donors will receive a free T-shirt and a buy-one, get-one free coupon for The Big Fresno Fair.
Information: (559) 673-9420.
Project gathers shoes for the needy
Organized By Choice of Fresno is collecting shoes for people living in extreme poverty and recovering from natural disasters.
The company has joined the international nonprofit charity Soles4Soul. Every donation will support the charity's initiative to distribute 11 million pairs of shoes in 2011.
Drop-off locations are scattered throughout Fresno and Clovis, including Central Valley Entertainment Systems at 6687 N. Blackstone Ave., #103, Fresno, and in Clovis at Aloha Pet Sitting, 962 N. Filbert Ave., Clovis
For more information on where to donate shoes, call (559) 871-3314 or visit www.giveshoes.org.
Bone marrow needed
People who missed the Gracie Chavez blood and marrow registry can still donate. Gracie, 3, has a rare condition called aplastic anemia, which stops her body from producing new blood cells, which in turn causes her bone marrow to stop functioning. Her only hope is a bone marrow match, officials said.
Donors must be in good health, weigh at least 110 pounds and be at least 17 years old. Photo ID and a Social Security number are required.
To donate blood or bone marrow, visit a Central California Blood Center in Fresno, Visalia or Porterville.
Hosts sought for visitors from Japan
Host families are needed in August to house visitors from Japan.
From Aug. 22 to 27, nine women and one man from Miki City, Japan, will visit the Valley. They range from teenagers to adults in their early 60s.
Those interested in hosting a visitor will be asked to complete a questionnaire in order to best match guests to prospective hosts.
Hosts will be responsible for providing a private room for one guest, transportation on a minimal basis during their stay, and some meals.
Most activities will be planned and costs covered.
If interested, call Kathy Rouse, (559) 713-4355, or email her at email@example.com.
Yosemite project set for public review
The Ansel Adams Gallery Buildings Rehabilitation Environmental Assessment is available for public review in Yosemite National Park.
Park staff members will discuss the project at two open houses in the auditorium behind the Yosemite Valley Visitor Center from 1 to 4 p.m. on Wednesday and Aug. 31.
The proposed project consists of rehabilitation of four buildings including the Ansel Adams Gallery in Yosemite Valley.
Written comments may be submitted by mailing: Superintendent, Attn.: Ansel Adams Gallery EA, P.O. Box 577, Yosemite, CA 95389; or electronically at www.nps.gov/yose/parkmgmt/planning.htm.
Branch library opening celebrated
The community of Tranquillity will celebrate the opening of its new branch library Saturday.
The new 3,484-square-foot branch replaces a small, leased storefront that dates to 1911 and has served as the town library since 1937.
The facility includes a homework center, literacy center, meeting rooms and public computers.
Financing comes from state bonds, the county's Measure B, Tranquillity Irrigation District and Friends of the Fresno County Public Library.
The grand opening celebration is 10 a.m. at 25561 W. Williams St.
Local historian offers help with research
One-on-one assistance with local history questions and research will be offered through The Fresno County Public Library beginning Aug. 1.
Bill Secrest, a well-known author and an expert on local and state history, will be available 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, or by appointment.