Thumbs up to Fresno attorney and community activist Patience Milrod and Greg Terzakis, executive director of the California Apartment Association of Greater Fresno, for their outstanding work in helping Mayor Lee Brand secure passage on a 4-3 vote of Fresno’s landmark rental housing inspection program.
Brand cited the efforts of Milrod and Terzakis in his remarks from the dais at City Hall and following the vote Thursday night said that they helped landlords and tenants work through concerns and improve the proposal.
A thumbs up, too, to the Fresno Chamber of Commerce for supporting the Rental Housing Improvement Act. We know this was not an easy stand for the chamber to take, and the political courage it demonstrated is commendable.
Thumbs up to Erna’s Elderberry House and the Chateau Du Sureau in Oakhurst, the pride of the region, for again receiving a five-diamond rating from AAA of Northern California. They are the superstars of the Valley, the only restaurant and hotel to get the rating. The hotel has earned the rating since 2013 and the restaurant since 1996. The ratings put the business in the company of such famous restaurants as The French Laundry in Yountville, Benu in San Francisco and The Kitchen Restaurant in Sacramento.
Thumbs up to the AARP Foundation Tax Aide for providing free tax services for elderly, handicapped, low-income and Spanish-speaking taxpayers through April 18. Make an appointment with Dave Monroe at 559-246-3314.
Thumbs down to Panoche Water District, a small water agency in western Fresno and Merced counties, for what state Controller Betty Yee found to be an “egregious” lack of oversight over spending from 2013 into 2015. In addition to what Yee said were “prevalent and severe” deficiencies in financial controls, The Bee’s Tim Sheehan reported that auditors raised concerns about money spent in apparently illegal ways.
Oh, and about those expenditures of tax money: interest-free loans to employees, free housing to six employees without counting it as compensation, free transportation via 50 company vehicles, employees using district credit cards for personal use like Oakland A’s and Raiders games, Katy Perry concert tickets and retail purchases – all without a reimbursement collection method.
The good news is, Yee said the district has made corrections since the audit started.
Thumbs down to visitors to Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s Sea Lion Cove who injure the entertaining creatures by throwing their spare change and small rocks into the habitat. A sea lion and harbor seal both required endoscopic surgery to remove the debris, which was found in their tummies. If allowed to remain in their systems, rocks and coins could cause blockages, stomach and intestinal damage, and could be fatal.
Thumbs up to Wendee Winter, a school nurse at Buchanan High School, for being the driving force for bringing Therapy Dogs International to visit stressed students during finals. Ever wonder why Clovis Unified scores are so good? In part, they use the latest performance science to set students up for success. Nearly 80 students attended a session with the dogs during the three days of finals.
Winter told North Fresno Neighbors reporter Janessa Tyler that the dogs lower blood pressure and raise cortisol levels in students, enabling them to do their best during testing. Winter hopes to invite the animals back during June finals. When the going gets “ruff!” Clovis Unified gets going.
Thumbs down to the bad drivers who contributed to a 40-car pileup in dense fog on Highway 198 near Hanford. This weather comes every year and it is caused by one thing, according to the California Highway Patrol: driving too fast for the conditions. Slow down. The life you save may be your own.