Thumbs up to former Clovis East High School star and Southern Methodist senior Bryson DeChambeau for winning the U.S. Amateur golf tournament Sunday to become the fifth player to win the tournament and NCAA individual title in the same year. Jack Nicklaus (1961), Phil Mickelson (1990), Tiger Woods (1996) and Ryan Moore (2004) are the only other players to sweep the NCAA and Amateur titles in a season. “I can’t believe what I just did,” DeChambeau said. “I’m in golf history. I don’t understand it yet. It’s an honor to be in that field.” Keep practicing with those buckets of balls, Valley golfers. You can get there from here!
Thumbs down to Caltrans, for paying a full salary to an engineer who spent 55 paid workdays playing golf. Melody Gutierrez of sfgate.com is reporting that State Auditor Elaine Howle’s annual report found 10 substantiated allegations from whistle-blowers with more than $4.2 million in wasted money, improper payments and misuse of work time by public employees. The golfer was a standout. “The employee said he played golf as much as possible – for an estimated 4 1/2 hours a day – during hours the auditor found he was supposed to be working. The audit also found that in the month of May 2014, no one could account for how much work the engineer had done, if any, because there was a miscommunication about who was supposed to oversee the employee. The employee will have plenty of time to hit the links now after Caltrans said he retired in July. The agency said it planned to place a letter in the worker’s personnel file indicating he retired during an active investigation. A similar letter would be placed in the supervisor’s file after that employee retired this month, the agency said.
Thumbs up to Manuel Mancebo of Tulare and his late wife, Kathyrn, for pledging a $1 million donation to Valley Children’s Hospital. The hospital will show its gratitude by renaming the emergency department waiting room. The $1 million committed by the Mancebos, owners of the former Kings County Truck Lines based in Tulare, will go to The Children’s Fund, which supports areas with the greatest need, along with programs such as child life and spiritual support. Over the years, the Mancebos have donated more than $360,000 to Children’s.
Thumbs up to the Arc Fresno Aktion Club, Vons and generous Valley folks for contributing to the success of a recent food drive. More than 100 bags of groceries were donated, along with more than $500. The Aktion Club is 50 developmentally disabled adults, who formed this leadership group under the sponsorship of Kiwanis. The food will be distributed by the club’s food pantry, in coordination with the Central Valley Regional Center.
Thumbs up to Fresno County for making the most of a bad situation, setting a record last year with crop values reaching $7 billion for the first time. That is despite a record drought leaving 250,000 acres fallow. Interestingly, that doesn’t make the farmers happy. They are not satisfied. “That number should be $8, $9, $10 billion,” said Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau chief executive officer. “It is frustrating.”
Thumbs up to professional chef Roy Harland, 73, for volunteering to command the kitchen at this month’s Papa Mike’s Cafe at Poverello House. Once a month the soup kitchen is transformed into a restaurant-style dining experience where the homeless order off a menu and get table service instead of cafeteria trays. Harland has been in charge of the kitchens of some of the city’s top restaurants including Slates, Harland’s and the Elbow Room. What a treat for the folks going through hard times. Rosalinda Garcia and others from the family behind Guadalajara restaurants will do a dinner in September. Other top chefs are being recruited for the future.