Thumbs up to the winners of the Spanish-language lip sync contest sponsored by the Fresno Latino Rotary Club. The first-place principals who received scholarship prizes for their students were Robert Perez of Central High School, $2,500, large-school division; and Lisa Whitworth, Farmersville High School, $2,000, small-school division.
The club challenged area principals to mimic Spanish-language songs, and dance and prance with fellow educators and their students in front of a roaring audience. The total prize money was $18,000 in scholarship money, and each of the 11 participant schools received at least $1,000.
Thumbs down to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, and Rep. Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, for playing petty politics with Californians’ legitimate needs. In a snit over Republicans losing the gas tax vote in the Legislature, the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Morain reports that Denham and McCarthy got the other 12 Republicans in California’s congressional delegation to sign a letter urging that President Donald Trump’s transportation secretary, Elaine Chao, withhold $650 million in federal funding for improving CalTrain, the commuter line that runs from San Jose to San Francisco.
Morain correctly calls it a “stunningly petty move, part of their effort to kill high-speed rail, which they despise.”
Despite Trump’s promise to load up a cash cannon and spend $1 trillion on infrastructure, Chao and Trump acceded to McCarthy and Denham’s wish. The lesson: California cannot depend on Washington for much beyond the necessities. And if it does, unacceptable strings will be attached.
But there just might be a lesson for Denham and it comes with the $500 million expansion of the popular Altamont Corridor Express underwritten by California’s gas tax increase. Denham’s constituents will watch it go to Ceres and zoom straight to Merced. At this point, no stop in Turlock.
Thumbs up to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Redbank Ward Relief Society for delivering 90 toy boxes to Community Regional Medical Center’s pediatric intensive care unit.
The cheerful gifts, called “Jared Project boxes,” are named in honor of a 6-year-old Pennsylvania boy who brought toys to share with others in the hospital while he was receiving cancer treatments. The items in the boxes are designed to distract patients from their fears and help children get through painful treatments and lonely days. Hannah Knott, a child life specialist in Community Regional’s PICU, said the toys will provide a welcome relief.
“We have a lot of kids who end up being alone for a significant portion of their hospital stay – either because they were in an accident with their parents and the parents are hospitalized, too, in another part of the hospital, or they’re being raised by a single mom who has to work and take care of other children,” said Knott. “Often we have patients where there is CPS (Child Protective Services) involvement and those patients are going to be alone for the entirety of their hospitalization until they are placed in foster care.”
Thumbs up to the Central California Animal Disaster Team for reminding folks that pets love to get into Easter baskets, which are pretty and sweet but can be fatal.
▪ Chocolate can kill your your dog or cat so this sweet must be kept from prying paws. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic it is.
▪ Lilies and other plants and flowers are poisonous to pets. Be smart and check the ASPCA list of toxic and non-toxic plants/flowers.
▪ Pets like to get into new things. The colorful plastic grass, the Easter tinsel and Styrofoam eggs can lead to an obstructed digestive tract, vomiting and dehydration.
▪ And remember that all pets need permanent homes. They are not disposable, should not be re-gifted and may not be returnable. Rabbits and baby chicks should not be given as Easter gifts as they require specialized care.
Thumbs up to the “Be a Hero” campaign at Fresno State, which encourages faculty members to select and use accessible, high-quality course materials at little or no cost to students. Fresno State Provost Lynnette Zelezny is calling for Fresno State to lead the CSU in the reduction of educational costs, which she believes is an issue of social justice. Smart instructors can help to offset a little of the pain of a tuition increase.