Thumbs up to Javier and Alexis Saucedo of San Diego, who were married last Saturday in Yosemite, despite some complications caused by a visit from President Barack Obama and his family. Ninety minutes before the 1 p.m. ceremony, the groom found his way to Yosemite Valley Chapel blocked because of security issues.
Poor guy had to run/walk about two miles to make it to the wedding on time. When he arrived, however, the chapel was empty. Fortunately, about 75 guests and his bride Alexis Garza Montejano eventually maneuvered their way to the site. The couple was not annoyed by the inconvenience.
“We love Obama! We hold no grudge. But, if he wants, he can send us a card,” Saucedo told The Bee’s Carmen George.
Thumbs down to Gov. Jerry Brown for agreeing to a state labor agreement that uses an accounting trick to add money to some state employees’ retirement accounts. It’s a “fitness” loophole so blatant a third-grader would catch it. Jon Ortiz of The Sacramento Bee describes it very well this way – the tentative contract with the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association:
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1. Eliminates the requirement that covered employees pass fitness tests to receive a $65 monthly physical-fitness incentive payment.
2. Rolls the $65 a month into base pay.
3. Makes the $780 per year pensionable income – and subject to future bargained pay raises. Under Brown’s 2013 pension law, fitness pay doesn’t count toward retirement benefits.
4. Voilà! Loophole created.
The California Correctional Peace Officers Association negotiated a similar provision into its new contract in April.
Thumbs up to the team of five Buchanan High School students who took second place in the nation at the National History Day contest at the University of Maryland this month. Matthew Clark, Austin Cozzi, Kelsey Ewing, Sydney Fox and Allison Hodge were among the 500,000 worldwide competitors. The group was in the Senior Group Performance category.
Thumbs up to the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District for challenging the federal government with a petition calling for a national standard requiring truck and train manufacturers to produce new engines that are 90 percent cleaner. It also seeks 50 percent to 80 percent emission controls on recently remanufactured and existing trains.
The petition is a response to new Environmental Protection Agency air quality standards that give the Valley virtually no chance to be in compliance. Trains and trucks contribute 85 percent of our emissions. If the EPA does not respond, the district is considering taking legal remedies to force air quality partners to join us at the table.
Thumbs up to Valley Children’s Hospital in Madera for being named one of the nation’s top 50 children’s hospitals in neonatology in rankings by U.S. News & World Report. The hospital ranked 49th out 50 top centers in the magazine’s 2016-2017 Best Children’s Hospitals Report.
On hand to celebrate this week was Tyson Perez, 4, who weighed 360 grams, about as much as a medium can of Coke, at birth. At the time of his birth, only 50 babies who were born under 400 grams survived. But Tyson is here and happy to celebrate, even being described by a teary-eyed Dr. Jeffrey Pietz, chief of newborn medicine, as a “very dangerous preemie – he practices martial arts with his dad.”
It is those children who make the numbers significant, and we join President Todd Suntrapak in hoping this is the first of many good rankings from the magazine. Our families deserve it.
Thumbs up to Ruiz 4 Kids for awarding $220,000 in scholarships to 220 Valley high school and college students. Each student got $1,000 to pursue his or her education. Congratulations! Ruiz 4 Kids is sponsored by Ruiz Food Products.
Thumbs up to Chief Nursing Officer Heather Rodriguez at Fresno Heart Hospital for understanding that little things mean a lot. From Karen Stearns-Kelly of Clovis came this post on Facebook: “Today was very special. All heart patients at Fresno Heart Hospital get a moose while in (the cardiovascular unit). Papa promised Ava she could have the moose when he got out. Well that didn’t happen. Heather Rodriguez the Chief Nursing Officer just dropped the moose off at the house.
“Very honored to work at such a wonderful hospital. And extremely proud of all the staff that took care of Pat before he passed away. He couldn’t have been at a better place.” Patrick Joseph Kelly of Clovis, Karen’s husband, died June 3 at age 66.