Thumbs up to Woodward Park’s Shinzen Friendship Garden and the Fresno Buddhist Temple for the 31st Toro Nagashi, the Floating Lantern Ceremony, to mark the end of Obon celebrations. The Japanese tradition holds that during Obon, the souls of ancestors return home to reunite with their families, and the candle-lit lantern released into the water during Toro Nagashi guides ancestors’ souls back to the afterlife.
Grieving families of all faiths, in typical Valley fashion, come together annually for this ritual. It’s for people like Kiliaen Van Rensselaer, 21, who tearfully placed her own light onto the Woodward Park lake Aug. 6. She told The Bee’s Carmen George that the lantern was for her father, Ian Van Rensselaer, who was struck and killed by a train in Fresno on June 26.
In place of a memorial service, his family decided to remember him by partaking in Toro Nagashi. “It’s nice to know you’re not alone,” she says.
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Thumbs up to the Madera’s National Night Out organizers for their burgeoning growth in participation. In this, its fourth year, they had 45 neighborhoods participating, a big growth spurt over last year’s 35. They were competitive nationally last year, placing 35th in the nation for their category and this year, they are hoping to place in the top 10.
Their secret to success, organizers say, is their widespread collaboration, involving neighborhood watch, law enforcement, city code enforcement, City Council, school board, school superintendent, housing authority, neighborhood outreach, city parks, community development and more. Watch for #maderaproud hashtag on social media drawing attention to more community-building events.
Thumbs up to Caglia Environmental Companies for accepting The Bee editorial board’s challenge for trash haulers to make an extra effort not to trash Fresno freeways with flyaway garbage.
Richard M. Caglia says the company will conduct extra awareness training for its drivers. He suggests that consumers can help out by bagging trash when possible. When garbage is loose in the containers, there is a greater chance of something flying out.
That’s excellent. Now can pickup truck drivers get a cargo net or a tarp for a few bucks next time you are out and pledge to use it when hauling? That’s not just trash. We saw sofa cushions fly out of a pickup on Freeway 180 this week because there was no net across the truck bed. That’s dangerous, expensive and ugly.
Thumbs down to student loan scammers preying on millennials. With school starting, Central California’s Better Business Bureau is warning of companies hitting students with promises to get rid of student loans. Blair Looney, Better Business Bureau president and CEO, warns: “If you have been solicited by a company offering to get your student loans forgiven for a fee, don’t do it. Upfront fees for the promise of any type of debt relief is never a good idea. You may pay a fee and end up getting nothing in return.”
Loans can be forgiven, he says, but there is a very specific way to go about it. To get you to act fast, scammers tell you that you could miss qualifying for repayment plans, loan consolidations or loan forgiveness programs if you don't sign up right away. Don't be rushed. If you have questions, send them to Looney at email@example.com.
Thumbs up to Fresno City College for its “Pokémon Go” fitness class. It is a challenge to be creative with physical education. This class will enable a simple cardio walk to engage a new generation of college students. Cheers to soccer coach Oliver Germond for taking it on.