Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to Ignacio Gutierrez, owner of Gutierrez Recycling. He has been providing backpacks and school supplies for students in Mendota and neighboring communities since 2000. The first year, his company gave away about 100 backpacks. At this year's event, Gutierrez, family members and volunteers handed out 1,000 backpacks -- each containing a notebook, pack of pencils, coloring book, crayons and markers.

Thumbs up to Erik Debaude and Bryan Kramer of Fresno State for winning the first Garlic Bowl competition at the Gilroy Garlic Festival. Debaude is the executive chef of University Dining Services, and Kramer, his sous chef, is a Fresno State graduate. They won a $5,000 scholarship for Fresno State by beating teams from UC Berkeley and San Jose State.

Thumbs up to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield. He is co-chair of an effort that hopes to increase awareness about Valley fever by sharing information about the disease with the medical community and public. The Congressional Valley Fever Task Force is comprised of 14 lawmakers from California, Arizona and Texas.

Thumbs up to Mike Osegueda of Fresno for again organizing the Taco Truck Throwdown at Chukchansi Park. Osegueda, a former Bee reporter and columnist, is now a baseball blogger for Yahoo! Sports. This year's event enticed 13,394 fans to watch the Fresno Grizzlies and chow down tacos.