Thumbs down to Oscar Bustillos of Apple Valley. According to Cal Fire investigators, he set fire to a deer carcass and started the Courtney Fire that destroyed 30 homes near Bass Lake in September. At the time of his arrest, according to the Madera County Sheriff’s Office, Bustillos apologized and said that he burned the rotting carcass to get rid of the stench. Apology accepted, but Bustillos acted recklessly and has been charged with one felony and two misdemeanors.
Thumbs up to the China Peak ski patrol and resort staff for their rescue of more than 40 skiers stranded when strong winds blew a cable off of the lift Wednesday afternoon. Thumbs up, too, to the skiers who remained calm and in good spirits during the two-hour rescue effort.
Thumbs up to the Cat House on the Kings. Through Dec. 31, the no-kill, no-cage animal shelter had found homes for 1,012 cats and kittens, as well as 48 dogs. “Sometimes our adoption center feels like the air traffic control tower at (Chicago’s) O’Hare airport!” says donor relations manager Beth Caffrey. The shelter has about 100 cats and kittens and a half-dozen dogs available for adoption. You can view them online at www.cathouseonthekings.com or visit the adoption center inside the Petco at Blackstone and Ashlan avenues in Fresno.
Thumbs up to the Hmong community for organizing the nation’s largest Hmong New Year celebrations. These festivals allow the whole region to celebrate and learn about Hmong culture, as well as giving a big boost to the economy by drawing visitors nationwide.
Thumbs up to Ruiz for Kids for raising more than $378,000 for nonprofits at the annual Ruiz 4 Kids Fiesta. The celebration raised $378,690, which is an 8% increase over last year. Among the nonprofits receiving checks recently were Wish Upon a Star, $80,338; CASA of Tulare County $96,475; Dinuba High School’s Engineering and Construction Linked Learning Academy, $92,425; and Miracle League of Visalia $109,450. Ruiz 4 Kids was started by Ruiz Foods Inc., based in Dinuba, to assist families with children in need.