Clovis News

News briefs: Porterville man gets 18 years in DUI crash

A 32-year-old Porterville man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison in the death of a woman who died when he crashed his truck while driving while intoxicated.

Tulare County Superior Court Judge James Hollman sentenced Jason Brad Branch for vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated.

The solo-vehicle crash on Aug. 17 near Main Street and Yates Avenue in Porterville killed Aradia Adina Carrigan, 34, a passenger in a 2001 Chevy Silverado driven by Branch. She was the mother of children ages 5, 7 and 15.

The truck crashed into a chain-link fence and a utility pole. Branch's blood-alcohol content was 0.10%. He was on parole and had three felony convictions, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office said.

Woman sentenced in felony welfare fraud

A 26-year-old Earlimart woman was sentenced Wednesday to 180 days in the jail and five years probation for felony welfare fraud.

Between July 2007 and January 2009, Mayra Salcido received $8,440 in cash and food stamps for herself and her family, but didn't report that she was employed and had income from Sunview Vineyards. She was ordered to pay back the money.

Panel will redraw supervisorial districts

Fresno County supervisors have named their appointees to a five-person panel charged with redrawing the supervisorial districts.

The Redistricting Task Force, which includes one appointee per supervisor, will hold its first meeting Wednesday.

The members include: Ken Abrahamian in Supervisor Phil Larson's district; Harry Armstrong in Supervisor Susan Anderson's district; Aaron Aguirre in Supervisor Henry Perea's district; Ernest Mendes in Supervisor Judy Case's district; and Regina Peters in Supervisor Debbie Poochigian's district.

The districts are being redrawn to balance their populations in light of changes revealed in the 2010 Census. The task force is expected to propose a handful of new districts by August. The Board of Supervisors has final say over how the districts are redrawn.

The task force meeting is 3 to 5 p.m. in Room 301 of the Hall of Records at 2281 Tulare St., Fresno.

Fresno moves toward septic tank loans

The Fresno City Council on Thursday took the first step toward creating a loan program that would help homeowners with septic tanks connect to the city's sewer system.

The council approved the introduction of an ordinance that would enable people to apply for a loan of up to $5,000. A maximum of $3,000 would go toward properly abandoning the septic tank and a maximum of $2,000 would go toward the cost of connecting the house to the sewer lines. Homeowners would repay the loan with interest over a maximum of 15 years.

The city plans to set aside $100,000 a year for the program. Fresno has an estimated 3,000 to 5,000 septic tanks.

The proposed ordinance will return to the council for adoption perhaps as soon as next Thursday.

Districts honored for service to minorities

Clovis and Sanger Unified school districts were recognized in a study for their efforts in serving Hispanic, African-American and low-income students.

The study, by Oakland-based Ed Trust-West, ranked 146 California districts for their overall performance, improvement over time, size of achievement gaps and college-readiness rates.

The study used information from California's Academic Performance Index, then graded and ranked districts based on the performance and improvement of their low-income, Hispanic and African-American students, as well as the size of achievement gaps between their white students and African-American and Latino students.

Clovis Unified was among the top three in overall rankings, and Sanger Unified was in the top three among high-poverty districts, the report said.

Associate professor wins teaching award

Fresno State's Anne Petrovich, associate professor of social work education, has been awarded the 2011 Excellence in Teaching Award. She was recognized for incorporating creative teaching methods into her classes and challenging students to think critically. Petrovich joined Fresno State in 2000 after 34 years as a professional social worker.

The following teachers were also honored: David Schecter, political science department; Susan Tracz, educational research and administration department; Mamta Rawat, biology department; and Brent Auernheimer, computer science department.

In addition, honorees among the nontenured faculty with exemplary achievements include: Melissa Golden, chemistry; J. Daniel Herring, theatre arts; Thomas Loewenheim, music; Ulrike Müller, biology; and Melanie Ram, political science.

Asian Fest comes to Fresno City College

Fresno City College will celebrate Asian-American culture with Asian Fest from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

The community festival will showcase martial arts performances, traditional dance, samples of Asian cuisine and a Mandarin speech contest. Events are free and will be held at the campus mall, free speech area, fountain and gym.

Walk will support those living with MS

The National Multiple Sclerosis Society Southern California & Nevada Chapter will host Walk MS Saturday in northeast Fresno to support people living with multiple sclerosis.

Participants will walk a one or three-mile course through Woodward Park. The event begins at 9 a.m. and will feature music, a raffle and food from Chick-fil-A and Chipotle.

All proceeds will support programs and services for people living with MS in the Southern California & Nevada Chapter. For more information or to register, visit or call (559) 439-2154.