Thumbs up to Marilyn Fansler and the Fansler Foundation for selecting Break the Barriers to receive $58,910. The money will be to support three programs that serve young people from inner-city Fresno. The programs will include intense work with kids on the autism spectrum, a literacy program and mentoring. BTB is a pioneer in inclusion, bringing children of all abilities together to learn.
Thumbs up to Jenny Toste and Katie Williamson for creating their new TV show, “Realty Rescue,” that focuses on renovating Valley homes. The pilot for the show debuts at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 on KMPH, (Channel 26.1) Jane Tambieri of Fresno will get a kitchen renovation, working with contractors Daniel Dimauro and Jason Surdevant of Sierra Contractors. They hope to do for Fresno what “Fixer Upper” did for Waco, Texas.
They plan to start filming again in January, with Floodgate Productions in Fresno, to produce at least eight episodes that may include the renovation of a Visalia historic home and a Fresno business. The show will tackle real estate topics like loans, buying and selling a home and staging.
Thumbs down to Congress for playing games with the health of women and children by leaving them in limbo. The Children’s Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP, helps 370,000 pregnant women and nearly 9 million children – including 1.3 million in California. Its funding should have been extended Sept. 30, but Congress is playing a fiendish game. They should mess with their Wall Street buddies’ beach house money, not a successful bipartisan program that is leaving 9 million children and their families hanging. It’s sickening. Congress, get your act together.
Thumbs up to Coalinga High School students for winning awards at the Northern California Scholastic State Chess Championships at the Santa Clara Convention Center. Nine total chess players from Fresno County competed, with five from Coalinga High.
Brett Wong and David Carmona from Coalinga won the 12th-grade team division, and Bryce Wong and Jonathan Albrecht from Coalinga won the 10th-grade team division. As an individual, Brett was also named the 12th-grade champion.
Thumbs up to Carlos Martinez of Visalia and Michael Correia of Porterville for receiving STAR Awards from Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux. The award, which stands for Sheriff of Tulare Action Recognition, is intended to illuminate the good deeds of folks who do extraordinary deeds of bravery.
Separately, the men were driving in Tulare County when each of them pulled over when they saw someone in need. Martinez helped save a man’s life who was trying to commit suicide and Correia extinguished a vehicle fire. We are fortunate to have such brave men as our friends and neighbors.
Thumbs up to the donors to the University of California Merced during the annual Give Tue UC Merced campaign, which was conducted on Tuesday, Nov. 28. More than 1,000 donors, the most ever to contribute on a single day, gave more than $280,000 to the university. In four years of the annual day of giving event, UC Merced has collected more than $1.3 million. If you missed out, don’t panic, you can still donate at bit.ly/2BKgtQa.
Thumbs up to the City of Fresno and Children’s Musical Theaterworks for hammering out an agreement to use the Veterans Memorial Auditorium throughout the 2018 season. The community had a nervous few days when it seemed an agreement was beyond reaching, but the safety concerns have been addressed. Still, major repairs on the theater are necessary.
We predict some fierce fund-raising campaign in the future so stay tuned. But for now, get your thumbs on the smart phone if you want tickets to “Annie” by calling 866-973-9610 or go to cmtworks.org, Performances are at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 10. Box office opens an hour before the performances.