Thumbs up to Fresno Oral Maxillofacial Surgery & Dental Implant Center in Clovis for providing wisdom tooth surgery for Brianna Pranger of Madera, 19, a student at Clovis Community College.
Pranger, who graduated from Liberty High School in Madera, holds down two jobs, and was just promoted to a management position at the Justice girls’ clothing store in River Park. The procedure, which is performed under anesthesia, would have cost her more than $3,000 as a private pay patient.
The surgery is an opportunity to pay it forward for Dr. Shannon Barnhart, whose own wisdom teeth were removed as a gift by a generous oral surgeon at Baylor Dental School when she was a student at Texas A and M.
An exercise and kinesthiology student, Pranger hopes to transfer to Fresno State and become a physical therapist after graduation. Four teeth were removed in the process. So far she has been able to work her way through college without scholarships or financial aid. Paying for the dentistry would have been very difficult.
Never miss a local story.
Thumbs down to the lowlifes stealing from firefighters risking their lives battling the Detwiler Fire. Thaddeus Miller of the Merced Sun Star reports that, as firefighters rested in their Merced hotel rooms after 24-hour shifts, someone was stealing their equipment.
Police took five reports Monday of equipment stolen from fire trucks used in the fight against the blaze that broke out in Mariposa County, Capt. Bimley West said. And, another engine was burglarized near Santa Nella. Since the thieves like to hang out around flames, we would like to give them a one-way ticket to a really hot place.
Nearly 5,000 firefighters from 114 crews from around the state were headquartered in Merced for the fire that reached 80,000 acres, according to the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.
“It’s extremely disappointing that our fellow firefighters come to this area to assist us, and they had to experience this in our community,” CalFire Battalion Chief Jeremy Rahn told Miller.
Thumbs up to Madera Unified School District for its unanimous vote naming its new high school after Matilda “Tini” Torres. This marks the first high school named after a Latina in the Valley. The school district of almost 21,000 students is 89.5 percent Latino. Matilda Torres High is at Road 26 and Avenue 17.
Torres, who died April 3, was a school counselor known for being a counselor to all students, whether or not they were assigned to her, and staying late at school to help students. Juan Esparza Loera of Vida en el Valle reports that often her husband called the custodian to make sure she was OK. There are many success stories attributed to her and one is the way she alerted a bright-but-procrastinating student in 1990 to apply for a special program being offered by Stanford University for low-income students.
Then she sat him down and helped him fill out the application a couple of days before the deadline. Today, he is Dr. Jesús Rodríguez.
Just for the record, politicians were not so popular this year. Donald J. Trump and John F. Kennedy were the last-place choices for the school name.
Thumbs up to Project Survival’s Cat Haven in the eastern Fresno County foothills community of Dunlap for giving a home to Jet, a 14-week-old panther – actually melanistic leopard. Jet is learning manners from Roscoe, a border collie, and is adjusting to his new home very well. He was moved here from a shelter in South Carolina.
The facility’s other black leopard, She-Beth, is nearing the advanced age of 23, and Cat Haven wanted to continue to exhibit a black leopard after she passes. Jet will be featured for viewing at the Cat Haven’s Cool Cats Ice Cream Fundraiser Saturday from 5:30 to 8 p.m., 38257 E. Kings Canyon Road, Dunlap. Admission is $25; children under 2 are free.
Thumbs up to Katey’s Kids, a Sebastian Foundation, for donating $5,000 to Break the Barriers. The money will be used for a literacy program for under-served children and youth with disabilities, or as they say, various abilities. The children will be taught to improve their reading skills and train in a variety of sports.