Thumbs up to Dora Westerlund, CEO of the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, for receiving the 2017 Leadership Award from the James Irvine Foundation during a ceremony at the Sheraton Hotel in Sacramento this month. The award honors those who are advancing innovative solutions to the state’s challenges. The Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation will receive a $200,000 grant to further its work.
Westerlund was selected from a pool of 400 nominees. The foundation started the first bilingual business incubator in the western United States in 2011. Since the incubator opened, it has created or retained nearly 12,000 jobs with an estimated economic impact of $200 million.
Thumbs down to state Sen. Ricardo Lara, D-Bell Gardens, who ordered the removal of Sen. Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, from the Senate floor Thursday after she attempted to criticize the late Democratic lawmaker Tom Hayden for his stance against the Vietnam War.
Nguyen, a Vietnamese refugee who represents a large Vietnamese community in Orange County, said she was shaken up and “quite upset” at being removed. Two days after the Senate memorialized Hayden, who traveled to North Vietnam with then-wife Jane Fonda in 1974, Nguyen said she wanted to offer “another historical perspective.”
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“I’m enraged at the violation to free speech, our Constitution and the precedent this sets,” said Senate Republican Leader Jean Fuller of Bakersfield.
We share Fuller’s outrage.
Thumbs down to the gutless wonders who burglarized homes Feb. 12 when 188,000 residents of Sutter, Yuba and Butte counties evacuated their homes. The evacuations were ordered when officials feared Oroville Dam’s emergency spillway might fail, sending a wall of water crashing over the Highway 70 corridor.
Phillip Reese of The Sacramento Bee reported that looters apparently swept in after the communities were evacuated, giving them easy access to homes. In one case, Vietnam veteran Mike Pomeroy thought his Purple Heart was gone forever after the burglary, but Yuba City police found and returned it. They also arrested two women and a man in connection with the burglary.
“It felt like a Christmas present,” Pomeroy said from his home Monday. “A very special Christmas present. My wife and I were just really elated.”
Thumbs up to Melissa Ferdinandsen, an ebullient English teacher at Clovis North High School, for winning a new Chevy Equinox on “The Ellen Show.” Here’s how it went down: She wrote a fan letter to Ellen DeGeneres and shared her Friday get-up-and-dance tradition and her lessons in kindness. Both those activities are close to Ellen’s heart so she invited Ferdinandsen to the show, which was prize enough for a teacher whose career has spanned 28 years. She is married to another teacher and a mother of two children. Now that is something to boogie about!
Thumbs up to the winners of the Fresno Compact’s outstanding business awards. They will be honored Wednesday at a luncheon.
Bill Stewart, former chancellor of State Center Community College District, will receive the Dr. Harold Haak Award, which honors educators who demonstrate exemplary leadership in promoting business and education partnerships.
Ten businesses will be honored for collaborating with schools on projects that “prepare students for the real word.” They are ADCO Manufacturing, The Wonderful Company, Google Developers Group Fresno, K-G Construction, Gazebo Gardens, Sebastian, Community Regional Medical Center, attorney Michael Wilhelm, Educational Employees Credit Union, and Off The Front.
Thumbs up to Tyler Henry, the Valley’s famous clairvoyant from Hanford, for getting a new book published. The star of “Hollywood Medium With Tyler Henry,” will do a book signing at Barnes & Noble in Fresno on Saturday. His new book is “Between Two Worlds: Lessons from the Other Side,” published by Gallery Books, $25. No, he didn’t use a ghost writer.