Clovis News

Local news briefs: 5 arrested in Dinuba marijuana sales

Five people were arrested on suspicion of selling and cultivating marijuana in the Dinuba area Thursday, the Tulare County Sheriff's Department said.

After a six-month investigation into a marijuana trafficking operation in the Dinuba area, a search warrant was served at a home in the 41600 block of Road 68.

Deputies found around 100 pounds of processed marijuana, 1,500 live marijuana plants, a stolen handgun, another handgun and a shotgun. The marijuana plants were being cultivated under the guise of medical marijuana, the sheriff's office said.

The suspects were booked into the Tulare County Jail.

Anyone with information can call the Tulare County Sheriff's Department Narcotics Division at (559) 713-2950.

VFW donates $2k to Madera Co. program

The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8743 has donated $2,000 to the Madera County sheriff's program Operation Lost & Found.

The group's donation followed Sheriff John Anderson's presentation to members of the VFW and Marine Corps League -- Griswold Mountain Detachment in Oakhurst.

Operation Lost & Found was launched in the spring of 2004 following a seven-month search for a woman with Alzheimer's disease who vanished from her home in 2003.

For more information, contact Madera County Sheriff's spokeswoman Erica Stuart at (559) 675-7976.

Clovis Exchange Club names officer of year

The Clovis Exchange Club named Dustin Dodd as Clovis Police Officer of the Year at a luncheon Wednesday.

Officers select the award winner based on leadership and accomplishments. In his 10 years with the department, Dodd has served in six units, including the bomb squad and crime scene investigation. He received a Medal of Distinction for his role in saving a suicidal man armed with a knife.

Visalia gang member guilty in drive-by

A Tulare County jury found gang member Gabriel Salas, 23, of Visalia guilty of first-degree murder in the drive-by shooting of a teen boy, the Tulare County District Attorney's Office said Thursday.

Salas faces life in prison without parole when he's sentenced next month, prosecutors said.

Salas and two friends were driving a pickup on Dec. 8, 2009, when Salas opened fire on Marcus Corral, 16, as he was walking home from a friend's house. The shooting took place only steps from his home. (Note: The original version of this report gave an incorrect first name for Corral. Also, it incorrectly reported that Salas said he believed that Corral was in a rival gang. Other witnesses said that; Corral's family said the teen wasn't in a gang, and a Tulare County DA's Office official said it doesn't have information suggesting that he was.)

The driver, Francisco Plasencia, 21, pleaded guilty last year to voluntary manslaughter and faces 25 years in prison when he's sentenced next month. A female passenger, 17, pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter and is expected to get six years in prison. The three were arrested after a tipster called a police hotline.

University High named a top charter

University High School, a charter school in the Fresno Unified School District, was named one of the state's top 10 charter schools by the University of Southern California.

The report from USC's Center on Educational Governance draws on data from 2003 to 2011 to rate charter schools across multiple measures of financial health and academic performance, including state test scores and classroom spending.

University High, located on the Fresno State campus, has consistently been one of the district's top-scoring schools. It was the only Fresno County school to make the list.

Highway 41 lane closures planned

Lanes of Highway 41 will be closed in both directions beginning Sunday through September.

The pavement rehabilitation project will occur in two locations: south of Avenue 12 to the Friant-Kern and Madera Canal bridge just south of Highway 145 and south of Road 406 to about one mile north of Yosemite Springs Parkway. Closures will last Sunday through Friday, 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., but will not be in effect on weekends.

Mendota council names new manager

Bryce Atkins was appointed Mendota's new city manager by the City Council last week, city officials said.

Atkins has served Mendota for more than five years, most recently as the director of support operations.

He begins his new job July 1.

Yosemite tour-bus check finds problems

Three buses and five drivers were taken out of service and about 50 violations were found during a recent two-day tour bus inspection in Yosemite National Park.

The California Highway Patrol along with other agencies conducted the unannounced inspection Thursday and Friday. The drivers were found to have licensing and log book violations.

Sixty-three buses were inspected.

Hospice to host Kids Camp in Coarsegold

The Optimal Hospice Foundation will host the eighth annual Kids Camp July 8-10 for young people who have suffered the loss of an immediate family member.

Kids Camp is for children and teenagers ages 8-18 and will be held at Camp Oakhurst on Mudge Ranch Road in Coarsegold.

The goal of the Optimal Hospice Foundation is to ensure all families have access to hospice care, regardless of their ability to pay.

For information regarding the Kids Camp, call Ann Smart at (559) 320-8000.

Free CPR, AED courses offered

Free CPR and Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) certification courses will be offered to the public this summer in three South Valley towns.

The Tulare County Fire Department and the Emergency Care & Safety Institute will schedule courses in Pixley, Strathmore and Farmersville. Anyone 15 years of age or older may attend. Those interested must register prior to attending. Dates will be set based on attendance numbers. To register, contact Christina Gottchall at (559) 747-8233, ext. 208 or by e-mail at