Thumbs up to Kiki, the African lioness at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, on her newest arrival. The cub was born Tuesday, and it is a big deal – the first time since 1968 that such a birth has occurred there. It’s too early for a gender-reveal party – wouldn’t that be fun? – but the little one appears healthy. Kiki and her cub are being given their very important private bonding time in the lions’ holding area.
We are really fortunate to have this addition to the zoo, since lions were reintroduced to the zoo as part of the African Adventure exhibit just last year. Before that, it had been about 15 years since any lion was on exhibit at the zoo. Zoo curator Nicole Presley says it will be a few months before the little one can greet the many Valley fans waiting to see the new baby.
Thumbs down to Buy Back, a Fresno recycling company, for cheating employees out of their rightful wages. The U.S. Department of Labor announced Tuesday that the company paid $15,272 in back wages and an equal amount in damages to employees after an investigation by the Wage and Hour Division. The investigation found that the company violated the Fair Labor Standards Act by not paying workers, identified as “helpers,” the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour. Instead, the workers were paid a daily rate, food and drinks or a few dollars, regardless of the hours worked.
Thumbs up to Borges USA-STAR Fine Foods of Fresno for its commitment to reduce the number of breast cancer deaths in the United States by 50 percent over the next 10 years. The company announced this week a $60,000 donation to the Susan G. Komen nonprofit in support of that goal. The company, which makes olive oils, vinegars and other Mediterranean foods, has swapped its green labels for pink labels on some products to bring attention to the disease during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Thumbs up to ImagineU Interactive Children’s Museum director Peter Sodhy of Visalia for his eight years of work on a mural project that has put the city on the international children’s map. The mural was unveiled recently on International Peace Day. It is composed of five panels painted at museums in Australia, El Salvador, Germany, Nigeria and Visalia. Images of each panel were scanned and transmitted to the museums. They were printed onto vinyl panels locally and hung together as one mural.
In Visalia, senior docent Maddie Pullen designed the ImagineU panel that depicts the world’s continents. Using colors, dozens of children put their thumbprints on each continent to show the idea of “from many colors – one.”
A total of 337 children worldwide worked on the panels, which carry the pictures of the kids on the back. “It’s proof of (the) concept that museums can all work together and don’t have to spend a lot of money,” Sodhy told Lewis Griswold of The Bee. The mural is on permanent display at ImagineU, 210 N. Tipton St., Visalia.
Thumbs up to Renaissance Scholars at Fresno State for making headlines recently when Kleenex released a new campaign titled “Someone Needs One.” A campaign video highlighted the local Renaissance Scholars, which supports Fresno State students who were formerly in foster care or homeless by helping them transition through college. This help is in the form of academic, personal and financial services. The video generated more than 5.3 million views within two weeks and it has been featured on “Inside Edition” and The Huffington Post. Watch: www.facebook.com/Kleenex/videos/10153815463198199.
Thumbs up to Fresno inventors Tommie Nellon and his wife, Dr. Vernice Nellon, creators of a solar-powered fan and hat combination. The idea is becoming a big business for the Nellons, as they sell their cooling hats around the world. The Nellons were featured on the CNBC series “Make Me a Millionaire Inventor” on Thursday. They did not get an investor, as they had hoped, on the show, but they are not quitters.