Thumbs up to the Fresno City Council for approving a forward-thinking ordinance making tiny homes legal. Fresno may be among the first communities in the nation to adopt a zoning code allowing tiny houses. It is now possible to construct one of these ingenious little homes on wheels as a backyard cottage. Once considered recreational vehicles, tiny houses offer brilliant design features, including 12-foot ceilings. This will be a boon to families with young adults needing a place to start, a very nice parent who wants to be free to travel, an artist’s or writer’s retreat, guest cottage or a private place for live-in helpers. Details: www.californiatinyhouse.com/new-zoning-code.
Thumbs down to Delaware North for trying to exploit taxpayers for naming rights on our revered attractions in Yosemite National Park. It wants the taxpayers to fork over a fortune to use names of the Ahwahnee and Wawona hotels and Curry Village, just for starters. A social media backlash advocating a boycott of the company already is in the works. These are cherished landmarks worldwide, and we predict very expensive consequences for such a brazen, ugly money grab. The National Park Service is having none of it, and already has announced name changes. That will not stop the public from expressing its outrage in the place that they understand will hurt Delaware North where its heart is – the bank account.
Thumbs up to the Robert E. Smittcamp and the Smittcamp Family Foundation for making a $1 million gift to Community Medical Centers to expand the Valley’s neuroscience services. The gift is the single largest donation earmarked for Community’s neurosciences program. Community Regional Medical Center in downtown Fresno is the home of the Central California Neuroscience Institute, which is a training site for the University of California at San Francisco-Fresno Medical Education Program.
Thumbs up to Alice Keeler and Diana Herrington for teaching a Fresno State workshop revealing their techniques for using Google Apps, Google Classroom and Google Docs for teaching math. All the proceeds will go to the Lowell Scholarship Fund. The workshop focuses on grades 4-12. Sign-ups for the class, set for Feb. 11 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fresno State, are available at http://bit.ly/1RLprlS. Tuition is $300 a person. Education for teachers, using technology, benefiting the Lowell neighborhood students? Win! Win! Win!
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Thumbs up to Guarantee Real Estate along with its agents and employees for donating more than $76,500 to local nonprofits in 2015. The Guarantee Good Will Network charitable giving fund supports local organizations that provide shelter to the homeless and contribute to the quality of life in the Valley. Since it began in 2007, the fund has given over $384,000 to local nonprofits. Among the recipients this year are Community Food Bank, Evangel Home, The Rescue Mission, Hinds Hospice and Naomi’s House. Nice teamwork.
Thumbs up to the McGowan family, loyal Tree Fresno supporters, for establishing a long-term funding plan to cover quarterly rent at the group’s headquarters on the Fresno State campus. The family owns and operates Fresno-based Automated Office Systems. This donation will reduce the gap between operational expenses and income from donations and events, according to Tree Fresno’s CEO, Lee Ayres, who calls it “wonderful news.”
Thumbs up to the Latter-day Saints Employment Center in Fresno for its job-placement success. They get people new jobs in an average of 31 days, seven times faster than the national average, according to networking queen Beth Bridges. They are at 559-255-1515. If you like baseball, the annual Fresno Grizzlies job fair for game-day positions will be held 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Jan. 30. The Grizzlies and Spectra Food Services and Hospitality have an average of 500 positions each year. Applications are available online at www.FresnoGrizzlies.com under the “Contact Us” tab.