Thumbs up to Abel Vera of Fresno, who gave away a $10,000 wheelchair to a disabled man while in Russia for the World Cup soccer competition. Vera is paralyzed from the waist down, the result of a car accident in 2000. Vera started an organization he calls What Pushes You? to raise money to benefit disabled people. It was during a festival in Red Square that Vera and friend Marco Lopez spied a man in a “beat-up” chair, so they gave the man the new one. A Russian news site heard about the gift and wrote “Kindness has no nationality.”
Thumbs up to the Fig Garden community for raising $8,000 in reward money to offer to anyone for tips that can lead the authorities to arrest whoever shot and killed Nick Kauls. The 17-year-old San Joaquin Memorial student was shot in the head June 24 near Van Ness and Rialto avenues in Fig Garden, an upscale neighborhood where such violence is rare. Another $5,000 came from an anonymous business owner, so thumbs up to that individual, too. Added to the $5,000 from Valley Crime Stoppers and the total reward is $18,000. Here is hoping it proves successful.
Thumbs down to the people who started a fire at a vacant home in southeast Fresno on the Fourth of July. The residence was located at East Balch and South Adler avenues, and neighbors reported homeless people living at the back of the house, where the fire seems to have begun. Fresno firefighters responded and were searching the residence for anyone inside when the roof began collapsing, so they had to make a hasty escape. It is a miracle they were not hurt, nor anyone else. Twenty-nine firefighters responded to the 12:30 p.m. blaze.
Thumbs up to Will Drosche, who created a Facebook page called HI 41 Road awareness as a way to honor his friend Victoria Gomez, a 30-year-old Fresno woman who was killed a week ago in a crash near Coarsegold. A man trying to pass another vehicle on Highway 41 drove head-on into Gomez. “My friend is not going to die in vain,” Drosche wrote of his Facebook page. He intends it to be a place for other motorists to report unsafe drivers on the stretch of highway from Fresno to Yosemite National Park.
Thumbs down to those darn mosquitoes carrying St. Louis Encephalitis. County health workers said infected Culex mosquitoes were found in the areas of East Floradora Avenue and Highway 41, plus Shields and Van Ness avenues. While most people do not react to the virus, it can affect a person’s nervous system and, in rare cases, prove fatal.