EDITORIAL: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Thumbs down to the copper wire thieves and vandals who are hanging up construction on a park for people with disabilities. KSEE 24 is reporting that the park, just west of Highway 99 in northwest Fresno, has been hit nine times since the city broke ground a year ago, four times this week. It takes a special kind of twisted brain to hit projects for children and the disabled. It’s playing havoc with the schedule and taking its toll on the park. It’s a shame park costs have to have a line item in the budget for dealing with thieves.

Thumbs up to the hosts of today’s Spring Fest for Prosperity. It’s free from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Mosqueda Center, 4670 E. Butler. You cannot beat this for the price, performances by Fresno State, Roosevelt and Sunnyside High Schools students, Mexican folklore and Hmong dances, mariachis, soccer demonstrations and games and prizes for families.

Best of all is that about 20 organizations including health agencies and training and education institutions will be there to give hot tips about resources available for better health access and for career development opportunities to qualify for higher-paying jobs.

This is no small thing. Fresno continues to battle poverty. We must fight back in every way possible, and the clearest path is through good health and education.

Among the organizers working with Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development, Inc., are Fresno Unified School District, Fresno County Office of Education, Fresno City College, Fresno Adult School, Parent University, and Fresno State. Other sponsors include The California Endowment, UNIVISION Radio and TV, Wells Fargo Bank, POM Wonderful and Kraft.

Now that’s something to sing and dance about! Details: sefceda.org.

Thumbs up to Clovis High School graduate Nelson Greaves for the success of his newly released horror film “Unfriended,” which is being called the first of its kind in a familiar genre. It’s now playing in Fresno. Greaves left the Valley to study law or medicine at Harvard, but he instead chose his high school hobby of film-making as a career. He’s off to a chilling start: Here is what Bee critic Rick Bentley says in his favorable review: “Not since ‘The Blair Witch Project’ in 1999 has a horror film taken such a creative approach to conjure scares. It’s a cautionary tale of a group of friends who become the target of an unseen cyberentity starving for revenge. What makes this film so different is that it’s shot looking at a computer screen. The actors interact through Skype with back story elements handled through online searches. Even the soundtrack is created using the tunes stored on one of the computers.” Imagine a sleepover with everyone watching on a monitor. How exciting!

Thumbs up to the Fab Five team of Riverview Elementary School sixth graders, who came up with an idea for boosting water conservation by giving every Fresno water customer a way to digitally track daily consumption. They pitched the idea for the app March 26 to the Fresno City Council and City Manager Bruce Rudd quickly recognized this was no ordinary project; it showed real promise. The students, Evan Murai, Corbin Beay, Noah Astito, Daniel Shin, Jeffrey Forbes and their coach Kevin Murai, will travel to St. Louis next week to compete with other bright minds with engineering and research skills. They also meet with city officials Monday. Good luck, team!

Thumbs up to the Papa Grizzly Bear of the Week. On Wednesday, about 6 a.m., police say Jose Hernandez, 42, was crawling into our hero’s daughter’s room in southeast Fresno. Papa Grizzly discovered the subject, whose upper torso was through a bedroom window, and chased him from the room. Sgt. Mark Hudson said the suspect grabbed a large stick and threatened to kill the dad. Fearless Dad chased the man from the property. Police caught the dude at First Street and Platt Avenue. Hudson said Hernandez confessed, saying he needed to support a drug habit. He was booked on suspicion of burglary and making criminal threats. We hope the perp gets the drug treatment he obviously needs before a less rational dad one day ends his life for such stupidity. This daddy deserves a big hug.

Thumbs up to the central San Joaquin Valley volunteers recognized for their outstanding community service at an awards ceremony Tuesday evening at Fresno City Hall. Mayor Ashley Swearengin also issued a new call for 2 million volunteer hours over the next year in Fresno, doubling her challenge for Serve Fresno, which has handily surpassed her original goal of 1 million. Hands On Central California hosted the event. Bravo for our friends and neighbors who step up. The honorees this year were:


Roberto Couto,

College Student Volunteer of the Year


Sandy Brown,

School Volunteer of the Year


Pelco by Schneider Electric

, Community Partnership Program Corporate/Business Volunteer of the Year


Patricia Nolen

, Senior Volunteer of the Year


From Quanta to Quasars

, Service Club/Organization Volunteer of the Year


Sab and Marion Masada

, Lifetime Achievement Award


Zachary Shaath

, Youth Volunteer of the Year


Tiffany Cooper,

AmeriCorps Volunteer of the Year


Michael Adam

, Love of Children Volunteer;


Juanita Jackson

, Parent Volunteer of the Year


Lindsay Callahan

, Adult Volunteer of the Year

Thumbs up to Dr. Jeff Stanley, an orthodontist, for helping to straighten up a lot more than teeth. He has given more than $23,000 since 2013 to his patients’ elementary, middle and high schools through his Giving Back to Education Program. It works this way: The day their orthodontic bands are placed, patients are given $100 checks to hand deliver to their school principals, donated in their names, to benefit the school program of their choice. Sports, music, art, after-school programs have all benefited. This makes us smile.