Thumbs up, down: FresYes Fest fun; Fresno heroes tall and small; Steve the dog goes home

The crowd doubled this year at downtown’s FresYes Fest, going from 6,000 to 12,000 people eating, playing, drinking, dancing and shopping.
The crowd doubled this year at downtown’s FresYes Fest, going from 6,000 to 12,000 people eating, playing, drinking, dancing and shopping. bjanteola@fresnobee.com

Thumbs up to the FresYes organizers and attendees for expanding yet another big all-ages downtown event into a huge success at Tioga Sequoia Brewery. Mike Osegueda, one of the brains behind the bash, estimates that attendance bounced from 6,000 last year to 12,000 this year.

Reports were universally raving, even with some hassling of the food truck owners in the beginning by the city of Fresno. Good-faith meetings were held afterward, policies tweaked, a lot of money refunded and the final solution seemed to work for everyone. We hope there were lessons learned and those hiccups won’t be repeated.

Thumbs up to Hector Villarreal for his impressive effort at apprehending a man suspected of being the highway shooter who fired randomly at cars in western Fresno County and terrorized the region late last year.

The Bee’s Lewis Griswold reports that the heroics occurred after a stranger in a pickup pointed his gun at Villarreal and his family and then followed his truck to a gas station about 11 p.m. Jan. 8. At the Fastrip gas station, Villarreal grabbed his own gun and held Jorge Gracia, 42, at gunpoint until Kerman police showed up minutes later and arrested him, with Villarreal assisting.

Gracia, of Kerman, is charged with six counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm and faces life in prison if convicted.

Thumbs up to Andrew Ramirez for getting a fancy hero’s reward Monday from Fresno Assemblyman Jim Patterson. The third-grade boy performed the Heimlich maneuver on his Saint Anthony’s School classmate, Makayla, when she started to choke on a gummy bear at a party last month.

ABC30 also is reporting that Andrew received top honors from the Cub Scouts, bringing home the rare lifesaving and meritorious action award. Way to go, Andrew!

Thumbs up to Fresno County Deputy Jose Lomeli, honored Monday for the rescue of a missing 81-year-old man he pulled from a canal in December.

Lomeli was one of four public safety officers recognized during the Fresno Rotary Club’s Public Safety Heroes Award Luncheon for 2018. The others were Fresno Fire Captain Brad Driscoll, Fresno Police Officer Dennis Zeuner and California Highway Patrolman Greg Makel.

Thumbs up to Habitat for Humanity and the city of Fresno for joining forces to build three new homes in western Fresno at 4594 N. Barcus Ave. The partnership, which will build new houses in the area, marks the first of its kind in the area. Additional funding for the project came from Wells Fargo, PG&E and Central Community Church, donor of the land.

Fresno’s $445,000 contribution came from the city’s HOME Investment Partnerships Program, a federal block grant.

“This is, to me, the essence of community – folks coming together to share one thing in community,” said Habitat for Humanity Fresno County CEO Matthew Grundy. “All these folks just believe that everyone deserves a decent place to call home.”

Thumbs up to the nice Facebook friends and also neighbors who returned a lost and much-beloved pit bull named Steve, nearly a week after the dog disappeared from his central Fresno home. An emotional plea by Steve’s owner, Nicholas Dodson, for his dog’s safe return was answered after his message was shared on Facebook nearly 12,000 times since Tuesday evening.

“It’s an amazing story not just of a dog who came home – it’s about a bunch of strangers who came together and cared about something that was good,” Dodson said. “I’ve always believed that love is the strongest thing and love won today, and everyone won.”

Steve was taken in by a Fresno couple, Justy and Chris Garcia, who live near the Dodsons. A neighbor picked up Steve on Sunday night, a day after he went missing, after he was almost hit by a car around Fruit and Fedora avenues.

Thumbs up to the Bullard High School Beautification Club students who spent part of their spring break planting 40 trees on Browning Avenue along campus. The changing seasons should be a treat with the mixture of trees, including Chinese pistache, crape myrtle and bay trees among the mix. This is just part of a $36 million renovation of the campus, well deserved.