Thumbs up to Don Cheek, 86, for his relentless pursuit of speed. Not only is he the nation’s fastest 100-meter sprinter in his age group, but he is among the fastest in the world. His secret: disciplined training and keeping “a distance from anything that might affect your performance. You have to distance yourself from distraction.”
Last month at the Pasadena Senior Games, Cheek ran the 100 in 17.63 as part of a triple gold-medal performance in the 85-89 age group that included the 50 (9.37) and 200 (41.33). The 2016 World Masters Athletics Championship is this October in Perth, Australia. Cheek wants to go, but the financing is iffy. “I’m trying to get to Australia,” he told The Bee’s Marek Warszawski: “I want the Worlds! In the U.S., I can wipe out anybody.”
Thumbs down to Attorney General Kamala Harris for her sloppy homework on Gov. Jerry Brown’s criminal sentencing measure on the November ballot regarding violent felonies. The measure offers easier parole to anyone convicted of crimes not specifically listed as a violent felony in Penal Code Section 667.5(c). That section includes rape, but limits its definition to sexual intercourse by force, violence, extortion or threat. However, in a glaring omission, points out Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters, it excludes dozens of other forms of rape, including rape by a foreign object and other assaults that are considered rape in Harris’ annual crime report. That affects 12,793 people – virtually all women –who were rape victims last year. And Harris’ office did not catch that problem as it should have.
Thumbs up to Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro for receiving the Distinguished Servant Leadership Award for his contributions to the Executive Leadership Academy. The academy, which teaches higher education leaders to guide their institutions in a multicultural and global environment, is sponsored by the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley. In addition to being a founding fellow, board member and event sponsor, Castro has advanced 13 fellows to the program.
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Thumbs up to customers who shop at farmers markets. In a study released this week, UC Davis agricultural economics professor Shermain Hardesty showed that a dollar of sales for a direct-market fruit or vegetable grower has about twice the local economic impact as a dollar of sales at larger wholesale farms. Her study focused on the Sacramento region, but the principles seem common to other ag areas and should be considered when policymakers set rules that affect land use. One important consideration is that direct-market farmers spend a greater share of their revenue buying supplies from local companies and hiring local labor than their counterparts in the wholesale market.
Thumbs up to California’s top political watchdog, Jodi Remke, for championing a bid to crack down on lobbyists who fail to disclose efforts to influence government officials. The Fair Political Practices Commission, according to The Associated Press, is considering a proposal supported by commission chairwoman Remke that would allow state regulators to require suspected lobbyists to provide evidence showing whether they’re being paid to influence government officials.
Remke and agency attorneys told the AP that investigators are stymied in most probes of suspected unregistered lobbyists because people can simply say that they do not qualify as lobbyists. Stricter enforcement is needed because that system for identifying lobbyists is largely self-regulated.
Thumbs up to long-time Valley children’s singer Oklin Bloodworth, who is continuing his performances around town for children despite battling cancer, which has affected his voice.
Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes, has weakened his voice to the point that he no longer can sing all the time, so he does some lip-syncing to recordings of his songs. He sings 10-11:30 a.m. on the second Tuesday of each month outside the Fresno Fashion Fair Mall entrance across from the Cheesecake Factory and at a number of Fresno County libraries.