Clovis News

Local briefs: Visalia Marine's funeral set for Friday

Funeral services for Lance Cpl. Jared Verbeek will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Visalia Nazarene Church, 3333 W. Caldwell Ave. Verbeek, 22, of Visalia, was killed last week in Afghanistan while on combat patrol.

Burial will follow at Visalia District Cemetery.

A viewing open to the public will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel, 127 E. Caldwell Ave., Visalia.

Police

Fresno boy hit by car dies of his injuries

A 14-year-old boy who was left brain dead in a traffic accident died Monday, a Community Regional Medical Center spokeswoman said.

The boy had been identified as Brandon Barnes of Fresno, the Fresno County Coroner's Office said.

Brandon was riding a motor scooter and crossing Clovis Avenue near Gettysburg Avenue when he was struck by a car Friday, according to police.

He was kept on life support over the weekend so his organs could be donated, according to the Coroner's Office. Police said he was wearing a helmet.

Motorcyclist in fatal Tulare Co. crash ID'd

The 52-year-old Bakersfield man who was killed last week in Tulare County while riding a motorcycle has been identified as John Lane, the Tulare County Sheriff's Department said.

Lane was heading northbound on Highway 99 south of Avenue 384 at 65 mph when, for an undetermined reason, his 2009 Harley-Davidson drifted into the median, where it struck a guardrail, the California Highway Patrol said. He died at the scene.

The cause remains under investigation.

Fisherman rescued from San Joaquin

Three fishermen lost their boat on the San Joaquin River about 10:15 p.m. Sunday when it flipped in the strong current near Old Friant Road, according to the Fresno County Sheriff's Office.

Two of the three swam to shore, but the third was swept downstream until he caught the branches of a tree and pulled himself out. Sheriff's officials helped him out of the tree.

No one was hurt, but the boat sank, sheriff's officials said.

Dead man found in driveway near Orosi

Tulare County sheriff's detectives are investigating the death of a man whose body was found near Orosi on Monday morning.

The body of Andrew Dugquem, 43, was spotted lying on a dirt driveway on the 41700 block of Road 136 about 11:40 a.m by a passer-by. Dugquem's body had signs of trauma, sheriff's deputies said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Tulare County Sheriff's Department at (800) 808-0488.

Corcoran man held in girlfriend's death

A man arrested for stabbing his girlfriend to death was angry because she told him she was getting back together with her ex-boyfriend, Corcoran police said Monday.

Manuel Aguilar, 52, of Corcoran walked into the lobby of the Police Department on Saturday morning and told officers he had killed his girlfriend in their home.

Police found Herminia Gamez, 68, dead from several stab wounds.

Aguilar confessed, police said.

He said an argument began when Gamez told him she wanted him to move out of the house and that she was getting back together with her ex-boyfriend.

She hit Aguilar with a loaf of bread and said she was going to call police. Aguilar became angry, grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed Gamez several times, police said.

The knife was recovered after police got a search warrant. Aguilar is being held without bail in the Kings County Jail.

Four teens held in market shooting

Porterville police arrested four teenage suspects Saturday in connection with an attempted murder at a market earlier this month.

Authorities said one shot was fired from a group of gang members at two rival gang members. The shot missed, and everyone involved ran.

Detectives identified all four rival gang members suspected to be responsible for the shooting.

All suspects were booked on charges of attempted murder, shooting into an inhabited building, conspiracy and participating in a criminal street gang.

Fire

$3m damage as fire burns Merced home

A fire that took about three hours for Merced city and county firefighters to contain Monday afternoon caused about $3 million in damage to a home on the 6000 block of Country Club Place northeast of Merced, Cal Fire reported.

The fire was reported about 4 p.m. The house, which had more than 5,000 square feet of space, had a wood shingle roof that allowed the fire to spread rapidly throughout the structure, said Kevin Smith, acting division chief of Cal Fire.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, Smith said.

Because of the lack of fire hydrants in the area, firefighters had to draw water from the home's pool to help extinguish the fire.

No one was at the home when the fire started and there were no injuries.

2,000 acres burn south of Porterville

A grass fire that burned 2,000 acres south of Porterville on Monday is only about 25% contained, a Cal Fire spokesman said.

The blaze began around 1:45 p.m. about 20 miles south of Porterville and is not threatening homes or businesses. Cal Fire, Kern County Fire, the National Park Service and the Porterville Fire Department are fighting the fire.

The cause of the blaze is under investigation.

Politics

Sharp fills opening on Visalia council

Don Sharp was appointed Monday to fill a vacancy on the Visalia City Council.

Sharp, 72, is a former Visalia council member who served from 1987-91.

The vacancy was created when former Council Member Mike Lane resigned last month to take a job in the Bay Area.

Sharp, who owns an insurance agency in Visalia, was appointed on a 3-1 vote. Council Member Steve Nelsen voted no.

Sharp will serve until the November election, when the seat will be on the ballot for a two-year term. Sharp said he would not run for election in November.

Forty-two people submitted letters of interest in the vacancy. The council whittled the list to five finalists, who were interviewed Monday.

Fresno County settles tab for in-home care

Fresno County supervisors last week agreed to settle their tab for in-home elderly support services, after threatening to withhold a $1.8 million payment to the state as a show of protest.

Supervisors did not like that a lawsuit against the state was forcing the county to pay more for in-home caregivers than the state had initially approved.

With the state in a position to cut off other funding, however, the Board of Supervisors voted last Tuesday to pay the bill.

On Monday, supervisors sent a letter to the state expressing disappointment that the lawsuit was not resolved and that Fresno County could not proceed with wage reductions for caregivers.

About 10,000 caregivers work in the county serving homebound residents, most of whom are elderly. Supervisors sought to cut the wages during last year's budget cuts.

Education

Fresno dentist wins $5,000 scholarship

A Fresno native and dentist was awarded a $5,000 scholarship last week.

Dr. Pawandeep Gill, a student at the University of Connecticut, was awarded the scholarship by the University of Connecticut health center, said a university spokesman.

Gill is working toward a master of dental science.

Fresno State student wins key scholarship

Fresno State student Max Gardner received the 2011 Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship from the Department of Defense.

He is the university's first student to receive the award, which will cover his tuition and fees and comes with an annual stipend of $25,000, paid summer internship, professional mentoring and job placement after graduation.

As part of the scholarship, Gardner will serve at least two years at Edwards Air Force Base after graduation and is required to spend one semester working in the electronics warfare department.

Gardner, a computer engineering major from Tehachapi, competed with 4,000 students nationwide for the scholarship, part of a Defense Department program for students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math.

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