Thumbs up to Stephanie Walker of Squaw Valley and her family for adopting Baby, a small white dog. She is the new addition to a clan that includes horses, a donkey and a lamb. The adoption fulfills the Christmas wish of Baby’s former owner, Cliff Herbert: Find a loving home for his beloved dog, Baby, before he dies.
The Fresno homeless man said last month that a cancer in his body spread to his brain and that doctors don’t expect he will be able to care for himself past the end of January. Animal rescue volunteer Jenine-Lacette DShazer spotted Herbert and Baby on the streets in November and went to work finding the pair temporary shelter and Baby a forever home.
After an article by The Bee’s Carmen George was published, DShazer was flooded with emails and phone calls from people internationally interested in adopting the dog, who was thought to be an Australian shepherd and pit bull mix around 10 months old. A GoFundMe account created and managed by DShazer to pay for lodging and food for Herbert, “Help Cliff + Baby Live Through Holidays,” had raised more than $24,000 as of Monday.
Thumbs up to the James Irvine Foundation for providing an $850,000 grant that will expand and replicate a Fresno job-training program across several counties. Reading and Beyond – an education program for children and families – will use it to grow the Fresno Bridge Academy, which provides free job training while also considering needs of the recipients’ family members.
The Bridge Academy offers comprehensive workforce development and other services to families that are CalFresh beneficiaries and want to “transition to self-reliance.” The 18-month program has served 2,400 Fresno-area families since it was created in 2011. More than 80 percent of those enrolled in Fresno Bridge Academy programs have obtained new employment or significantly increased their wages. That is a program that works.
Thumbs down to the thieves who swiped donated Christmas presents intended for foster kids at Kids Kasa, operated by Brad Castillo. Like it’s not tough enough to be a foster child from a violent or abusive family. This is truly heartless. A GoFundMe account called Support Brad and the kids has been established to collect $3,000 in donations and by Thursday about $2,575 was raised. It is also a cautionary tale, as police advise businesses to keep valuables out of sight of the front store window and install video surveillance systems.
Thumbs up to the Porterville Police Department for receiving two anonymous donations totaling over $43,000, which will be used for animal control operations and for purchasing K-9s. The first donation was more than $38,000, of which $25,000 will go to the city’s animal shelter for improvements and to help animals get adopted. The remainder of that donation, plus a second anonymous donation of $5,000, will be used to purchase, train and equip two police dogs, said the department.
The first donor also made a $25,000 donation to Rescue from the Hart, an animal rescue operation that works with the city shelter to relocate dogs and cats to no-kill shelters.
Thumbs up to Valley prisons selected to receive part of a $14.5 million grant from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to boost innovative programs and increase volunteerism in prisons. Each prison will get $3 million a year for three years for its programs. More will be awarded for programs proven successful in serving long-term or life-term inmates.
Avenal State Prison; California State Prison in Corcoran; Central California Women’s Facility and Valley State Prison in Chowchilla; Pleasant Valley State Prison in Corcoran; and Wasco State Prison will be able to implement or keep a variety of programs, ranging from in-cell anger management and literacy programs to conflict-resolution programs such as Prison of Peace and the Buddhist Pathways Prison Project. Trauma healing, gardening, entrepreneurship education and alternatives to violence programs will also be available. Clovis lawyer Doug Noll is one of the founders of the Prison of Peace project.