Thumbs up to Tyler Turk, creator of Date in a Crate subscription service, and the other Valley Business Awards winners recently honored by the Fresno Chamber of Commerce. Turk was named College Entrepreneur of the Year. His big idea emerged out of a class assignment from the Lyles Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. The crate has supplies and ideas to keep the romance alive for couples. Among the customers is a church from Phoenix, which put in an order for 700 boxes for the entire congregation.
Other winners are Stan Oken, president of Wonder Valley Ranch, Leon S. Peters award; Agnes Saghatelian of Valley Lahvosh, Harold Zinkin Entrepreneur of the Year Award; and Chanelle Ojieh, Clovis High School graduate, High School Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her African textile clothing company, Zola Apparel. Ojieh expressed the spirit of the business owner very well to The Bee’s Megan Ginise: “I figured if I succeed, I succeed, and if I fail, I’ll just try again.” Can “Shark Tank” be far behind?
Thumbs up to Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León for appointing former Shafter lawmaker Dean Florez to the state Air Resources Board. During his career in the state Senate and Assembly, Florez fearlessly led efforts to improve the San Joaquin Valley’s unhealthy air. However, as a political moderate, he is positioned to bring together opposing sides and help craft rules and programs that will clean the air without bankrupting the private sector. It was an inspired choice by de León, who is keeping his promise to ensure that the Valley isn’t overlooked when it comes to funding programs that will help the residents of our region.
Thumbs up to the collaborative effort of Cultiva La Salud, Fresno Unified School District, University of California Cooperative Extension –Fresno County and the National Hmong American Farmers. They are opening two new school farm stands in southeast Fresno to make it easier for low-income residents to get local fruits and vegetables. In addition, the customers will have an opportunity to learn about nutrition and how to prevent obesity and chronic disease. It’s brilliant to put them on the school grounds, which are the community centers of every neighborhood. The Lane Elementary School location will be open to everyone from 1:30-3:30 p.m. Wednesdays. Vang Pao Elementary School will be open 2:30-4:30 p.m. Thursdays. Both will follow the school year calendar. Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) will be accepted at both sites.
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Thumbs down to the Internal Revenue Service for its sloppy rehiring practices that would be unthinkable in the private sector. The Orange County Register is reporting findings from the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, revealing that of the 7,168 employees rehired by the Internal Revenue Service from Jan. 1, 2010, to Sept. 30, 2013, 824 (11.5 percent) had prior employment issues. Some were serious issues, including several cases of fraud. There were “141 former employees with prior substantiated tax issues, including five who the IRS had found had willfully failed to file their federal tax returns,” the inspector’s report said. “Other substantiated issues from previous IRS employment included unauthorized access to taxpayer information, leave abuse, falsification of official forms, unacceptable performance, misuse of IRS property and off-duty misconduct.”
This warning: “Do Not Rehire” was written into one file because the guy was absent without leave for 312 hours. That represented about two months of collecting a paycheck for zero work.
We are thankful that Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., has introduced S.2439, the Ensuring Integrity in the IRS Workforce Act of 2016, which would prohibit the agency from rehiring previously fired employees. It’s bad enough that hiring preferences are given to applicants who have previously worked in government rather than the best candidates. Now it is clear that basic remediation is needed because rewarding bad actors is not in anyone’s “best practices” handbook. The job market is competitive right now and taxpayers deserve the best for their money.
Thumbs up to the staff of the Fresno State Collegian student newspaper for winning 13 awards for their work this year from the California College Media Association. This marks the most awards won by the staff in a decade. The students compete in writing, advertising and multimedia against the state’s largest private and public state universities, including University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Southern California. Nine current and former Collegian staffers placed this year, including Megan Bronson, Ricardo Cano, Jesse Franz, Tim McAtee, Laura Maciel, Troy Pope, Jonathan Roque, Paul Schlesinger and Darlene Wendels. The awards will be presented this month at the CCMA banquet. Way to go!