Thumbs up to Kaylynn Jones and Kalia Lee of Temperance-Kutner Elementary in Fresno for winning national awards from the Read 180 program. They are two of 15 in the country to get $1,000 to put toward their education because they have significantly turned around their academics despite adversity.
In addition, they won $2,000 in supplies for their school.
Kaylynn uses an insulin pump to control her diabetes and gives herself shots before each meal in the nurse’s office. Kalia, a fifth-grade English learner whose first language is Hmong, is the oldest of six children. She tries to help out as much as she can at home with her younger siblings, who range in age from infancy to third grade.
Congratulations to both girls and their teacher, Donna Pappas, who plays a crucial role in their success.
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Thumbs down to the University of California Board of Regents for cheating thousands of California students. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports new findings in an audit that the UC responded to the state’s revenue crisis not by cutting the fat and spending on administration, but by increasing the number of out-of-state students. They pay far higher tuition than state students.
State Auditor Elaine Howle’s report marked the human cost: Those students got in ahead of 4,300 California students “whose academic scores met or exceeded all of the median scores of nonresidents whom the university admitted to the campus of their choice.”
Several clueless regents, faced with embarrassing numbers, just got huffy over the report during a meeting in Sacramento, saying it was an attack on out-of-state students. Wrong. This was an attack on UC leadership. We concur with the Union-Tribune’s analysis: “On a cluelessness scale of 1 to 10, this is a Spinal Tap-worthy 11.”
Thumbs up to the the National Association of Letter Carriers and the United Food and Commercial Workers 8-Golden State for joining forces locally to support the annual Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive, which is today. Donors are asked to fill a grocery bag with food and leave it near the mailbox.
Since 1992, Stamp Out Hunger has been the largest one day-food drive in America, collecting more than 1.2 billion pounds of food since its inception. The United Food and Commercial Workers 8-Golden State represent workers at Save Mart, Vons, Food Maxx, Raley’s, Rite Aid and other union stores, as well as meat processing plants, medical facilities, wineries and business offices.
Thumbs up to Larry Arce, 67, for his three decades of service to the community and Fresno Rescue Mission. As CEO of the mission, he has helped feed and shelter hundreds of thousands of homeless men, women and children with hopes of giving them new lives through Christianity.
The Rescue Mission on G Street, south of the downtown stadium, is a faith-based organization that was founded in 1949. The mission provides temporary shelter to 80 to 150 homeless people per night and also runs Rescue the Children, a shelter for women and children at Clinton Avenue and Highway 99. Well done, faithful public servant, and we look forward to your next chapter.
Thumbs up to the 100 strangers who took the time on Mother’s Day weekend to honor 15 Fresno County babies who were unidentified and abandoned by their families. Each child was named and laid to rest by volunteers who tend to Fresno’s Garden of Innocence.
“We have to mourn for them because otherwise no one will,” said Pastor Josh Hawley of The Well Community Church. That may or may not be true. We don’t know what is in the hearts of those families whose children were lost or what circumstances led to their actions. The ashes of each child in an urn were passed around the “Circle of Love” to signify recognition of and love for each child.
It speaks volumes for our region when those who are strong enough to honor the voiceless, step up and do so in such a tender, respectful way: scattering rose petals and releasing doves.