Thumbs up to the Fresno Art Museum for taking a gamble on booking the wildly popular “Frida Kahlo: Through the Lens of Nickolas Muray” show, one of the biggest and most expensive in the museum’s history, with a price tag of $18,000. Happily, it was able to secure a grant from the Central Valley Foundation’s McClatchy Fresno Art Endowment to pay for it. (The McClatchy Co. owns The Bee.) About 1,000 people attended the opening. “This is the first time in years we’ve had a show like this,” museum director Michele Ellis Pracy says. There is a ton of online interest indicating that the Valley shares the pop culture infatuation with the artist’s iconic face and love story around muralist Diego Rivera. Kudos as well to Bebe Long, who’s got the spirit, even designing a line of pillows around the Frida Kahlo theme. The exhibit runs through May 1. Details: fresnoartmuseum.org.
Thumbs down to the coward who ran over 9-year-old Deshaun Mitchell on Jan. 22 in a southwest Fresno crosswalk and just kept on driving. Deshaun has become a local hero for pushing his younger brother out of the way of the oncoming white Chevy Tahoe traveling east on California Avenue. The SUV hit Deshaun around 6:30 p.m. on Pottle Avenue. The driver didn’t stop after the collision, and police are asking for help in identifying this hit-and-run suspect. Deshaun was released Jan. 26 from Valley Children’s Hospital, where he was treated for a broken leg, bruised lungs and swollen left temple. Anyone with information on this case is asked to call Sgt. Joe Martin at 559-621-6105 or Crime Stoppers at 559-498-STOP.
Thumbs up to Fulton 55 for reaching its fifth birthday this month. In five years at the corner of Fulton and Divisadero streets, it confronted neighborhood concerns about noise and traffic and has lived up to its original intent. It has 7,500 square feet and a capacity of 500, the ideal size to serve as a proving ground for local acts and a nice stopping point for midlevel touring bands traveling through California. Now, we don’t know how we would get along without it.
Thumbs up to the friends of Monica Brewer, affectionately known as “Miss Momo,” for setting up a gofundme account in her name to get money for a car. Described as a “beloved” Nelson Elementary School family member, she is heralded for her work as an instructional aide, coach, counselor, mentor and friend. Sadly, the vehicle she has been driving for 20 years has fatal smog-certification problems. Since she has used her own car to provide rides to many children over the years for their games, practices, tournaments, rehearsals and out-of-town events, her friends decided to return the favor. So they are hoping to raise $14,000 before her registration expires in February. Details: gofundme.com/momoscar.
Thumbs up to Jennifer Alcorn and her bootcamp fitness students, veterans service organization Team AMVETS, for leading 200-plus community members, veterans and families from Campus Pointe shopping center on a walk around Fresno State en mass. The march is intended to raise awareness about veteran suicides. Statistically, 22 veterans take their own lives daily and the group hopes to change that. The leadership plans to do a Road March walk on the 22nd day of every month to plant that number in people’s minds. To join the effort or get more information, contact Jerry Guevara, past department commander for AMVETS, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Exercise for a worthy cause, a double delight.
Thumbs up to Cristo J. Villaverde, 18, for being named Youth of the Year by the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fresno County. The award is given to someone who embodies the values of leadership and service, academic excellence and a healthy lifestyle. A member of the East Fresno club, he won a $500 Target gift card provided by Me-n-Ed’s Pizzeria, a $3,000 scholarship through the A. Thomas Ferdinandi Sr. and Jimmy DeMera Founders Scholarship Program, and a $300 scholarship from Valley Iron Inc. The second-place winner, Luis Vasquez Reyes, took home a $250 Target gift card courtesy of Me-n-Ed’s and a $300 scholarship from Valley Iron. The third-place winner, Catlyn Rose Bloomer, won a $300 scholarship from Valley Iron. Perhaps best of all, all three won free pizza for a year from Me-n-Ed’s. What would you like on those pizzas, kids?
Thumbs up to former Yosemite High School and Fresno State star Cole Popovich for being named an offensive line assistant for the New England Patriots. His Valley roots paid off when former Fresno State coach Pat Hill and former Bulldogs strength and conditioning coach Moses Cabrera, who has the same role with the Patriots, contacted Patriots head coach Bill Belichick about adding Popovich to the staff. Mission accomplished. Before the NFL regular season concluded, Popovich headed to Foxborough, Mass., where he joined the team. Keep that grapevine working!