Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs up to the Fresno Police Department for partnering with Nextdoor to help neighborhoods fight crime by sharing information. Not only will Nextdoor enable residents to create virtual neighborhood watches, but it allows police to communicate directly with people in specific areas. Sarah Leary, co-founder of San Francisco-based Nextdoor, says that 125 Fresno neighborhoods already are using the online social networking service.

Thumbs up to Kendia Herrington. The Alta Sierra Intermediate School science teacher is one of 30 instructors in the United States trained as an Educator Ambassador for NASA's Mars Atmospheric and Volatile EvolutioN mission. Herrington participated in a five-day workshop in Berkeley and incorporated MAVEN lessons throughout the semester. On Monday, she and Buchanan High School student Callie Carbajal watched the lift-off of MAVEN from a VIP section at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Herrington chose Callie as her guest because of the student's keen interest in NASA.

Thumbs up to the Selma Healthcare District for awarding a $50,000 grant to the Doctors Academy at Selma High School. This is the second $50,000 grant given to the school by the district. The award supports tutoring in math, science and English. The academy provides students with rigorous academic programs preparing them for university success and careers in medicine. The Doctors Academy was established by the UCSF-Fresno Latino Center for Medical Education and Research.