Thumbs up to the Central California Women’s Conference for offering $100,000 in grant money to Central Valley nonprofits serving women and children.
Organizations can apply for the money online by 11:59 p.m. Feb. 27. The criteria for grant submissions are posted on www.ccwc-fresno.org/grantapp. The lucky recipients will be recognized at a Community Celebration Grant Reception on May 17. CCWC has donated more than $850,000 to Valley nonprofits during its 30-year history. This year’s conference will be held Sept. 19 at the Fresno Convention and Entertainment Center.
Thumbs down to the California Republican Leadership Fund for obscuring more than $9 million in campaign contributions it funneled to nearly six dozen legislative candidates, according to the state’s campaign finance watchdog. The CRLF paid the maximum $5,000 penalty for each of six violations of causing others to violate state election law, the Fair Political Practices Commission announced.
The commission’s enforcement division said the fund was controlled by the top four Republicans in the Legislature. But the money, which went to Republican candidates for the state Legislature in the 2012 and 2014 elections, was improperly reported as coming from the local committees instead of from the statewide fund.
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Thumbs up to Lauren Lake and Maddie Robinson, both 17 and seniors at Central High School, for their big-hearted effort to raise $50,000 to honor a beloved former football coach battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Former coach Justin Garza’s positivity has inspired them so much that they are working constantly to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In 2011, at age 35, Justin Garza was diagnosed with the disease that affects the body’s ability to fight infections. A bone marrow transplant in 2014 gave hope to the husband and father of two. However, his cancer returned last December. Garza also has inspired the Central community to give a helping hand. Various Central Unified employees have contributed a large amount of sick leave, allowing him to remain on paid leave.
The teens’ next event will be March 4 at the Chipotle near Shaw and Blythe avenues. From 5 to 9 p.m., customers can mention the cause and 50 percent of the proceeds will go toward their foundation. They’ve also created a Twitter account to spread the word about upcoming events @LLSMaddieLauren. So far, they have raised $10,000.
Thumbs up to the sibling dancing duo AJ and Alyda Raguindin of Orange Cove, who danced for Ellen DeGeneres’ national TV show last week. The host was so captivated by the family’s talent and commitment to dance that she gave their dad, Alrean, and pregnant mom, Alexandra, a Baby on Board sign – and a new Chevy Equinox to make their trips to Los Angeles for classes much more comfy.
Thumbs up to Doug and Nicole Tucker of Fresno, whose pet St. Bernard, Joel, was named Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club dog show in New York City. Michele Mulligan of Diamond Bar, also a co-owner of Joel, showed him at Westminster while the Tuckers watched.
Thumbs down to scammers masterminding the “Can You Hear Me?” fraud. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about this old scam with a new twist. For the last few days of January, more than half of the reports to bbb.org/scamtracker were about this scam.
Here’s how it works: You get a call from someone who almost immediately asks, “Can you hear me?” Their goal is to get you to answer “yes.” The person then may say something like “I’m having trouble with my headset.” But in fact, the “person” may be a robocall recording your conversation – and that “yes” you gave can later be edited to make it sound like you authorized a major purchase.
The BBB’s advice: Screen calls and refuse to answer unfamiliar numbers. If you get the call, and someone asks, “Can you hear me?” hang up. Make a note of the number and report it to bbb.org/scamtracker to help warn others.