Thumbs up to Bryan Harley and Roque Rodriguez, the Fresno guys behind the YouTube channel Dumb Drum and Swede Fest, for showing the hometown flag on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The two filmmakers were invited to show their low-budget, shot-for-shot remake, also known as a Swede, of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” movie trailer. More than 1 million hits so far on their film-editing project. Can the Oscars be far behind?
Thumbs down to Valeriano Sauceda, a Tulare County Superior Court judge for more than 14 years, for having an improper relationship with a court clerk and lying under oath about it. He was ordered removed from office by the Commission on Judicial Performance this week. He’s not the first fool to try to cover up his hormonal indiscretions, but it’s too bad he had to bring down his career and the integrity of the judiciary with cowardice. “The deceitful, calculated and unseemly nature of the judge’s misconduct, compounded by his lack of candor in response to the commission’s investigation and untruthful testimony under oath,” compelled his removal from office, the commission said in the decision.
Thumbs up to Dan Gable, the most successful wrestling coach in NCAA history, for helping out Fresno State’s efforts to bring back wrestling. He promised a portion of the proceeds from a speaking engagement this week at a meeting of the Northern California chapter of Wrestlers in Business Network in San Francisco. The WIBN chapter has taken an interest in the return of Fresno State wrestling, following its mission to promote wrestling and its growth while establishing a community of wrestlers who assist one another in business and life. We are one step closer to the goal.
Thumbs up to Katrina Randle for getting an early stocking stuffer in the amount of $750,000 on a scratcher lottery ticket she bought at the Johnny Quik at 6840 N. Golden State Blvd. in Fresno.
Thumbs up to the Ward family and other generous Valley residents for donating to the Wilson Odom family of Tulare. Two days after Thanksgiving, their family car was stolen. Odom, a cancer patient, drives to Fresno for frequent medical appointments and there are seven children in the family to ferry. The car also contained textbooks, backpacks and a car seat. Liz Gonzales of KMPH Channel 26 reports that their viewers along with KMJ radio listeners have responded mightily, with word of donations coming just a couple of hours after the California Highway Patrol found the stripped car parked along a Fresno highway. The Wards heard the Odom family story on KMJ and responded by giving up their 2003 Toyota Matrix. Folks also provided new jackets and backpacks. Someone paid the family’s gas and electric bills because the Odoms had received a shut-off notice. A church is donating presents, and a Christmas tree is coming. A fundraising account has been established to pay for the rest at www.gofundme.com/xjcqqdrs. Generosity is a beautiful thing.
Thumbs down to Tyrell Leon Harris, 32, the first defendant prosecuted by the new Animal Cruelty Unit of the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. He injured his dog Princess so brutally that there is a $13,000 vet bill. She is recovering. Animal abuse is a red flag for violence. U.S. Humane Society research shows that between 71 percent and 85 percent of women in domestic violence shelters report their partners have abused or killed the family pet. In families under supervision for child abuse, 88 percent had also committed acts of animal abuse. Harris remains in jail until his sentencing. Donations toward the vet bills are being accepted by the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals at 559-233-7722 or ccspca.com.
Thumbs up to Fresno County residents who are getting their flu shots. The Fresno County Department of Public Health is doing its part by offering two influenza shot clinics. Injections will be available 9 a.m. to noon Saturday and 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday at the health department, 221 Fulton Mall. The flu vaccination is $6, and the county accepts Medi-Cal for children and Medicare Part B. No one will be refused for inability to pay. Details, 888-993-3003. Additionally, the department is offering free rapid HIV testing at different locations and hours. Details: Jena Adams at 559-600-3434.
Thumbs up to the city of San Joaquin for staging its first Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony this week on Main Street. Residents of San Joaquin have had a tough year of unemployment and a failing economy due to complications from the drought. But they did not let the drought dry up their holiday cheer. In deference to the ongoing water crisis, the tree is a unique shade of green – made exclusively of metal and lights. “It’s my first event here in the city of San Joaquin,” says Jerry Bermudez, parks and rec coordinator for the city. “What I think is awesome is how everyone banded together to make this event happen.”