Thumbs up to the city of Fresno and developers Terance Frazier and TJ Cox for their teamwork on refurbishing Granite Park, now temporarily renamed the Cedar Sports Complex. Three renovated ball fields are phase one of the revitalization project. Soon, softball leagues will start to play in the evenings and in weekend tournaments. Friday nights will be kept open for community events. The calendar is almost full for about nine weeks.
The park is on Cedar about a mile south of Fresno State. Frazier represents a nonprofit group, the Central Valley Community Sports Foundation. The second phase includes a two-story restaurant, a basketball and volleyball facility, and a fourth full-size professional field for older players with press box and covered stadium seats. The city agreed to a 25-year lease and service agreement with the foundation. It will pay the foundation $150,000 a year for 10 years to help with programming, staffing and maintenance.
Thumbs down to the state employees busted last week by the state auditor for wasting taxpayer money. Among them was a Fresno State library employee who spent so much time playing games and watching videos online while on the clock that it may have cost taxpayers more than $20,000, according to a state audit released Thursday.
The unidentified employee, whose job is mostly to supervise student assistants and shelve library materials, visited more than 48,000 web pages largely related to videos and games from May 2015 to May 2016, according to the California state auditor. The audit determined that the employee misused as many as 85 hours of university time over a one-month period and that the “misused time” over the 13 months reviewed could have cost Fresno State up to $22,208.
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The employee routinely visited websites like YouTube, Game Box, Reddit and Drudge Report while at work at the Henry Madden Library. State law forbids state employees from using state time and equipment for “private gain or advantage or for any purpose other than to perform official university business.” Kudos, by the way, to the whistleblower who exposed his racket.
Thumbs up to Community Food Bank of Fresno and its CEO, Andy Souza, for getting a national award for their anti-hunger efforts at a conference of food banks in Washington, D.C. Souza’s honor was the Feeding America Dick Goebel Award, which recognizes outstanding public service and commitment to ending hunger in a local community.
Feeding America CEO Diana Aviv surprised Souza during a session of the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference. The award is named for a Lutheran pastor who founded Second Harvest Heartland in St. Paul, Minn., in the 1990s. Souza has been CEO of Community Food Bank since 2010. Souza told The Bee’s Tim Sheehan his “great staff” has doubled its food distribution over the past six years.
Thumbs up to the Kids Day donors and volunteers throughout the Valley who stepped up for ill children. OK, Sacramento and Washington, D.C., this is how you do it! Put on a big smile and say, “Kids Day $1!” People from all walks of life have come together for 30 years now to sell special Kids Day editions of The Bee to raise money for Valley Children’s Hospital. This year’s goal of $625,000 was eclipsed on Friday afternoon, and the all-time count stands at $8.5 million raised for the hospital. If you haven’t read the stories in the special edition, do so. You will be inspired by the courage of youngsters battling illness, disease, injuries and birth defects, and the ingenuity of the doctors and nurses who treat them.