Thumbs up to Yvonne Gomez of Clovis for searching out the family of a California desert tortoise, Elmo, after years missing from his owners. We now know that Elmo escaped from his back yard when a gate was inadvertently left open. He was discovered last year between Reedley and Dinuba by some folks who cared for him. Last August, however, they took him to Gomez’s Turtle and Tortoise Rescue in Clovis when they moved out of the area.
Gomez thought she wouldn’t be able to track down his original family. Then she decided to write a letter to the editor in The Bee. It worked! Her first phone call the day it appeared in the newspaper was from the Marshall family. Jason and Sandy described Elmo perfectly, right down to the fiberglass patch on his shell. (The story goes that the patch was created to heal an injury when a previous owner accidentally ran over him with a lawnmower.) All is well now, and the family is happily reunited.
Zenovich, an award-winning filmmaker, was approached by Jigsaw Productions to put together a documentary on California’s complicated water story, an issue well known to Californians. Though not an expert, she got a good deal of her knowledge from working with her father, the late George Zenovich, when he served in the Assembly and the state Senate. Now the story is better understood by many more people, which can only contribute to future solutions.
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Thumbs down to the state Board of Equalization and board member Jerome Horton, in particular, for squandering taxpayer dollars and eroding public trust.
As reported Friday by The Sacramento Bee’s Adam Ashton, a soon-to-be released audit of the board will reveal that the agency has failed to explain how it misallocated tens of millions of dollars worth of tax revenue. In addition, the publicly elected Horton, who represents a swath of coastal Southern California and is a former Assemblymember, effectively swelled his political staff by “redirecting” civil servants to his own projects.
The five-member board is the nation’s only publicly elected state tax commission, and it collects nearly $53 billion annually in taxes and fees supporting state and local government services. But too many board members have wasted funds by designating them for “outreach” work that is nothing more than public relations intended to help them get re-elected or raise their profiles for future offices.
Thumbs up to Fresno Christian High School’s student-run daily digital newspaper, The Feather, which took home a Gold Digital News Crown award for the fifth straight year from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association. Staff members collected the award at Columbia University in New York. Only six newspapers out of thousands nationwide won Gold Digital News Crowns. There are no enrollment divisions; Fresno Christian High has an enrollment of about 200.
Thumbs up to the seven Women of the Year honorees selected by Fresno City Council members. They are:
▪ Attorney Patience Milrod, recognized by District 1 Councilwoman Esmeralda Soria.
▪ Pinedale Neighborhood Resource Center director Linda Amparano, recognized by District 2 Councilman Steve Brandau.
▪ Neighborhood Watch Program leader Roselyn “Roz” Clark, recognized by District 4 Councilman Paul Caprioglio.
▪ Businesswoman and community advocate Penny Raven, recognized by District 5 Councilman Luis Chavez.
▪ Educator Gail Pifferini, recognized by District 6 Councilman Garry Bredefeld.
▪ Fresno World Impact community ministry leader Kim Contreras, recognized by District 7 Councilman and Council President Clint Olivier.
Thumbs up to a Central Valley couple for helping a Vietnam veteran who had his three-wheel bike stolen a second time. ABC30 reports that “Big Fred,” a nickname for Federico Rendon, 69, says his bike was stolen from his front yard. The bike was his only mode of transportation. When the story aired, a couple wanted to help, so they surprised him at his house. “It’s a gift from God that we’re giving you,” the couple told him. “Thank you for fighting for our country.” He promises to keep this one locked up inside.