Lewis Griswold

Griswold: Porterville girl hits 12-12-12 milestone

The once-in-a-century 12-12-12 date rolled by last week, but Cieanna Correa takes the cake for her Dec. 12 story. Birthday cake, that is.

Not only is Dec. 12 her birthday, but she turned 12 this year.

The unusual numerology doesn't end there -- it turns out that Cieanna came into the world at 12:12 a.m.

That's six twelves.

When word got around at Westfield Elementary in Porterville, where Cieanna is a sixth- grader, "everyone was shocked at how this is a coincidence," she said.

Her father, Jerry Correa, said his boss gave him the day off, and a B-95 DJ joked that Cieanna's parents "ought to buy lottery tickets." A classmate's family gave Cieanna a balloon bouquet -- with 12 balloons, of course.

Cieanna, who likes marine biology, said she wasn't expecting anything special for her birthday.

On Wednesday, the celebration was low-key -- Martha Correa took her daughter to a movie. On Saturday, the family invited Cieanna's friends and relatives over for a party.

"We're all excited for her," Martha said. "It's special. It's not going to happen again."

SANTA'S ELVES: Santa's elves assembled new bicycles Saturday in Visalia.

Elf Bill Bland, president of Visalia Breakfast Rotary, said about 100 volunteers showed up at a warehouse in the Visalia Industrial Park to assemble 250 bicycles, about 50 more than last year. On Christmas Eve, they'll be given to young people at Visalia Emergency Aid.

Rotary International clubs in Visalia have sponsored the bicycle event for six years.

LIBRARY HONOR: Retired school librarian George Pilling of Visalia has been named an honorary member of the California School Library Association.

That's the librarians' equivalent of being inducted into a Hall of Fame.

He started his career as a children's librarian at Tulare County Public Library in Visalia, got a teaching credential and moved into the school library world, most recently as Visalia Unified district librarian.

Pilling has been active in Read for Life, a literacy group in Tulare County; has recorded CDs of his storytelling; and has served as vice president of professional development for the California School Library Association.

"George Pilling is an excellent example of the difference a skilled and dedicated teacher-librarian can make in his community and his profession," said Diane Alexander, past president of the association.

NEW WARDEN: Elvin Valenzuela, 51, of Visalia, has been appointed warden at the California Men's Colony near San Luis Obispo, where he has served as acting warden since last year.

He started in 1987 as a correctional officer at Avenal and Corcoran prisons and worked his way up.