Thumbs up to Arien Pauls, 28, and her daughter, Zaria, 2, for getting a big surprise this week – a two-bedroom condo of their own. A sex-trafficking survivor who once was homeless, Pauls got the news at a fund-raising breakfast for Habitat for Humanity. The home was made possible through a partnership of Habitat and the Federal Housing Authority.
She tells her story to the Central Valley Justice Coalition’s Freedom Story on Vimeo. It is at https://vimeo.com/200906051
As part of the Habitat agreement, Pauls will be doing community service for her “sweat equity.” The breakfast, hosted by PG&E, raised $100,000 for Habitat’s future projects. Now that’s a housewarming!
Thumbs up to Fresno State student Matthew Stilwell, 20, for being a standout summer intern at Southern California Edison, by helping to save a city from power outages. The Bee’s Carmen George reports that it was a nerve-wracking but welcome surprise for the electrical engineering student, who expected to be fetching coffee for co-workers at the electric utility company that serves 15 million customers.
He had just completed his sophomore year but was instead challenged to find a way to get the lights back on faster in Visalia.
Stilwell knew it wouldn’t be easy or cheap, but with guidance from co-workers and hard work, he came up with a solution he considers reliable and cost-efficient. So did the company’s top managers, who approved his proposal this summer with a commitment to pay $450,000 to fund it.
Now there’s a kid who’s on a power trip – in a good way. Charge!
Thumbs down to what the cops are calling the family emergency imposter scammers who are phoning Fresnans and claiming to be a family member or friend stuck at Fresno Yosemite International Airport and in need of money. These knuckleheads will urge you to urgently wire money as soon as possible because they are being held by authorities. Jessica Johnson of The Bee reports that the scammer will often ask another person to join in on the call, claiming to be a lawyer or official.
Do nothing they ask until you verify the identity, if you tend to be a kind-hearted. The skeptical folks at the airport suggest you ask a question a stranger would never know. If it turns out to be a predator, report the possible fraud to local law enforcement and also at ftc.gov/complaint or call 877-382-4357.
Thumbs up to Poverello House in Fresno for getting a $1 million donation to its Raise the Roof campaign to renovate and rebuild a new warehouse facility at Poverello House. Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula successfully carried the budget item as part of the Budget Act of 2017. The Pov, for decades, has provided meals, services, companionship and compassion to the homeless. May that continue with great success in improving the lives of Valley folks going through hard times.
Thumbs up to Chronic Tacos at Willow and Herndon avenues in Clovis for hosting a fund-raising event today to help the family of cancer patient Lindsay Weimer, 14, a student at Fresno Christian High School. The event will be 5-9 p.m., when a percentage of all sales, plus donations, will be set aside for the family. A simple pain in her hip she thought was from soccer practice turned out to be much more serious. Tests revealed she is battling Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancer that typically affects the bones of children and young adults. Donate to Lindsay’s care and read more about her family’s story at caringbridge.org.
Thumbs up to Facebook for the thumb rockets that launch across the screen when you type in the word “rad.” We’re partial to all things thumbs in this department, and we are happy that Facebook is too. We are trying not to take personally the new iPhone, soon replacing the thumbprint with the facial recognition feature. They’ll miss faithful thumb when it’s gone. One word for you, Apple: Halloween.