Thumbs up to Samantha Hicks and Eric Daugherty of Fresno for organizing a Thin Blue Line Rally at Woodward Park last weekend in support of Fresno County law enforcement. About 1,500 people showed up for the party. That included Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims. The organizers hoped to raise morale among officers during a time when law enforcement nationwise is facing a barrage of concern over police shootings. “I think the message is that people understand there’s real support for law enforcement,” Mims said.
Law enforcement turned the tables Tuesday, with National Night Out. It is a a community tradition hosted by the Fresno Police Department. Nine neighborhood gatherings with food and entertainment were held to give folks an opportunity to get to know the police officers assigned to their neighborhoods.
Thumbs down to Merced College President Susan Walsh and other administrators for their lack of transparency in paying a private investigator to collect latent fingerprints off letters criticizing them. Further, the board members initially denied a Merced County sheriff’s deputy’s statements that the board wanted him to do the fingerprinting job, and further, he says they pressured him to arrest one of the board members, Cindy Lashbrook, for allegedly recording a closed session. Lashbrook denies the accusation.
The truth about the fingerprint collection was only discovered after the Merced Sun-Star filed a public-records request. That should never have been necessary; this public document should have been turned over immediately. The acting president, Susan Walsh, has refused, in writing, to turn over text messages, even those concerning school business. The board appears to be taking a certificate course from the Richard Nixon school of Political Paranoia. This is not what education money should be used for.
Thumbs up to the Fresno County Library staff and local homeless people for their joint video project, “Our Lives: Surviving the Streets of Fresno,” winner of the state PRExcellence Award. The honor is given by the California Library Association to productions of the highest quality among state libraries in promoting and communicating their message to their customers. “Our Lives” is a 20-minute film with personal interviews with the homeless that show how they are treated, in hopes it will stir discussion and awareness of the homeless issue. See the film at http://bit.ly/2aYYMAR. The project was also assisted by the Community Media Access Collaborative.
Thumbs up to East Fresno Rotary for filling 230 backpacks with school supplies for Fresno Boys and Girls Club members and children living in the Marjaree Mason Center, a shelter for survivors of domestic violence. The backpack project is a tradition for the club, which has purchased nearly 2,800 backpacks and supplies over 14 years to benefit needy schoolchildren. It’s always a great start for any child to arrive completely prepared with a cool backpack on the first day of school.
Thumbs up to Fresno Chaffee Zoo for its effort to save Northern California’s only native turtles, which are dying off because non-native critters are taking their food and eating their eggs and young. Part of the project is to teach turtle owners how to give up their unwanted pets, especially those that pose threats to the western pond turtles.
Non-native animals not only eat the turtles’ food and hatchlings, but also crowd the turtles out for the best spots for sunbathing, which is important to turtle health. The most common problem is the red-eared slider. People love them when they are small, then dump them when they become dinner-plate sized, require a huge aquarium and folks realize they can live 50-60 years.
Thumbs up to Markus Hill, a Buchanan High school graduate, who is associate producer of the Hallmark Channel movie, “My Summer Prince.” It airs today at 9 p.m. The film is about a public relations executive who gets an opportunity to develop her skills in a small town where a scandalous member of the British monarchy has been arrested. Growing up in the Valley, he perfotmed in stage productions in high school and junior high and also as part in Roger Rocka’s dinner theater.