Thumbs up to Ship’s Serviceman 3rd Class Jeremy Masiello of Clovis for delivering the traditional first kiss as the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) returned to San Diego from a deployment Dec. 15. Essex is the flagship of the Essex Amphibious Ready Group and is returning from a seven-month deployment to the 7th and 5th Fleet areas of responsibility in support of Operation Inherent Resolve and global maritime security. Welcome home, Jeremy! (Recruiters: Man your telephone lines!)
Thumbs up to the anonymous Applebee’s server at Cedar and Herndon avenues for returning $32,000 he found at the restaurant. Mr. Server, you rock. Wouldn’t you hate to have experienced that moment when Erika Gonzalez and her mother, Berta Gonzalez, discovered the money was missing? The cash was given to them by Erika’s father to pay for a family vacation in Puerto Vallarta. They called the police in a panic. Applebee’s also had called the police, so the match was made. And the server, well, he didn’t want anything made of it, just wanted to do the right thing. Still, we are thinking there might be some big tips coming his way.
Thumbs up to the Meat Market for donating 1,500 pounds of dog food to the Central California Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Anyone who adopts a dog will receive a free coupon for 10 pounds of dog food patties, valued at $28.80, while supplies last. The Home for the Holidays promotion runs through December. All dogs and cats are $49 to adopt, including spay and neuter, flea/tick treatment, complimentary exam at the CCSPCA Small Animal Hospital or vet, and a gift/offer of up to $750 in pet insurance. The board hopes to find 800 families. View adoptable dogs and cats online at www.ccspca.com or at the Adoption Center, 103 S. Hughes Ave., Fresno, CA 93706. The adoption center is open every day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. on Wednesdays.
Thumbs up to the Coalinga High School chess club for winning the state championship at the University of Pacific. The school won two sections of the State Grade Level Championships. Winners of the 10th-grade section were Brett Wong and David Carmona, while their older brothers, Blake Wong and Paul Carmona, won the 11th-grade section. Brett Wong won his second individual state title for the second year in a row. Blake Wong finished in second place for 11th-graders. The city of Coalinga has won a combined 18 State Chess Championships ranging from primary, elementary, junior high and high school levels. Checkmate, challengers!
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Thumbs up to Reading and Beyond for winning a $32,000 donation from AT&T for its Fresno college-prep program. The program provides students from the 93701 zip code, California’s poorest, with an academic guidance plan, financial plan and tutoring. Reading and Beyond is a nonprofit organization that began in 1999 with a mission to empower children and families to achieve productive, self-reliant lives.
Thumbs up to Clovis High School graduate Jenna Prandini for winning the Bowerman Trophy, the track and field Heisman. She went on to star at the University of Oregon, and was named the Outstanding Female Student-Athlete in the sport Thursday. In 2015, she was the most prolific point scorer at the NCAA Championships, amassing 49 points in the indoor and outdoor finals.
Thumbs up to Kaiser Permanente Fresno employees for donating more than 200 toys and books to Valley children in need, as well as items for the domestic violence survivors at the Marjaree Mason Center. Hundreds of items, including baby supplies and toiletries and even cellphones, were donated.
Thumbs up to the Sheriff’s Foundation for Public Safety, Latino Peace Officers Association and Fresno Insurance Claims Association for providing toys to children at Valley Children’s Hospital who are battling serious illnesses. Sheriff Margaret Mims and her staff members from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department handled the distribution. Hands up, kiddos; take your toys and get well soon!