Thumbs down to University of California President Janet Napolitano for saying she didn’t “have to listen to this crap” when student protesters disrupted a meeting Wednesday. Napolitano apologized the next day for using a word she doesn’t “normally use.” Given that Napolitano wants to balance the UC budget on the backs of students with tuition increases over the next five years, she ought to expect to regularly hear from students who aren’t happy about her proposal. And for someone who was supposedly politically seasoned by her years as secretary of Homeland Security and governor of Arizona, Napolitano appears to have thin skin.
Thumbs up to Maria Herrera, 32, of Visalia, for being named to the California Water Commission. The group has substantial influence on the Valley’s share of the $7.5 billion water bond passed last November. Herrera will be on the committee with Dave Orth, general manager of the Kings River Conservaton District and Joe Del Bosque, a west-side farmer, who was reappointed. That gives us three of the nine members. Tell our story!
Thumbs up to Fresno State Women’s Basketball Coach Jaime White for her wise counsel to her starting point guard, Shauqunna Collins. Collins’ father, 65, suffered a stroke in the final weeks of the regular season, so the player faced a tough decision for a young woman. Should she stay with her team, which was laser focused on an eighth-straight trip to the NCAA postseason? Or should she go home to him? Collins asked her coach’s guidance. “The game will always be the game,” White told her young player, “and your parents, your family, your loved ones, they only live once. You only get parents once.” Soon after, Collins was on a plane to Saginaw, Mich. She’s back now, with her family’s blessing, and the team is rocking the National Invitation Tournament.
Thumbs up to Luca Fanucchi, 11, for his servant leadership skills. Luca read a Bee article last year about Charlie DeGrange, 8, a student at Our Lady Of Victory School who has an incurable brain tumor. Luca organized a fundraising event at the school to support Charlie and his family. They raised more than $3,000, receiving a state-level award from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program, sponsored by Prudential Financial and the National Association Of Secondary School Principals. Susannah Nelson, principal of Luca’s school, St. Anthony of Padua, nominated him. He also received a bronze award for the 2014 President’s Volunteer Service Award and a letter of commendation from President Obama.
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Thumbs up to John “Doc” Bart and the city of Sanger for an excellent team effort enticing the American Legion to move its state headquarters from San Francisco to a former bank building on Seventh Street. The organization’s 30 district commanders voted Saturday to bring pack up and bring nearly a dozen jobs to the Valley. “If you move to Sanger, you will become part of the community,” Bart said. “If you move to the other cities, you’re just another nonprofit.” Sanger’s award-winning school district, plentiful housing and improving economy all played a part. Company headquarters are always welcome here, and we hope other groups will see our strengths and follow suit.
Thumbs up to Erna Kubin-Clanin of Erna’s Elderberry House restaurant and Chateau du Sureau for receiving the lifetime achievement award in the California Restaurant Association’s Best of the Valley Restaurant awards. Kubin-Clanin’s work has been honored nationwide, and she has been a source of pride in Central California for decades. Vatche Moukhtarian, Cracked Pepper Bistro, was named restaurateur of the year, and JD Food received beverage purveyer/supplier of the year. Cheers!
Thumbs up to “Glee” actors Chris Colfer and Dot Marie Jones, who both have Valley ties, for their stellar performances on one of the best series in TV history. The shows were not only entertaining but they also taught valuable lessons to us all in valuing diversity, and handling the grittiest of life crises like bullying, suicide, gender identity, mental illness, teen pregnancy, campus violence and the many meanings of success. And they did it all with humor and singing and dancing that stayed with us for years. The show ended Friday night, but we concur with The Bee’s Rick Bentley who wrote, “The show’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of ‘Gleeks’ everywhere.”
Thumbs up to the California lawmakers for helping to relaunch a bid to put the House of Representatives on record as recognizing the Armenian genocide. The resolution was introduced this week with more than 40 co-sponsors. Noting the upcoming 100th anniversary, Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, said, “Our detractors will always say, ‘Now is not the right time.’ I say, The time is now.” A century is long enough to wait.