Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Larry Green, who is recovering from a stroke, exercises with, from left, HOPE program instructor Rachael McCall, director Rachel James and Marilyn Hamilton, president of StimDesigns.
Larry Green, who is recovering from a stroke, exercises with, from left, HOPE program instructor Rachael McCall, director Rachel James and Marilyn Hamilton, president of StimDesigns. Break the Barriers

Thumbs up to Break the Barriers HOPE program for being given three neuromuscular Galileo Training products valued at about $42,400, thanks to seven Fresno-Clovis Rotary Clubs, private donors and Marilyn Hamilton, president of StimDesigns.

The donation was presented last week, along with training from a German expert, Harald Schubert of Novotec Medical. The equipment, whole-body vibration training tools, will strengthen the Helping Open Possibilities With Exercise program, which provides intense, repetitive exercise and stimulation for people with neurological conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury and strokes, and also trains people with multiple sclerosis.

Thumbs down to the Fresno City Council for its incompetence in stinking up a recycling deal that will now cost the city taxpayers around $2.7 million in lost recycling profits. Fresno City Manager Bruce Rudd had, over two years, negotiated a very good deal with Mid-Valley Disposal last October that had Mid-Valley paying the city for its recyclables instead of the city paying the company.

Mid-Valley also agreed to waive a $900,000 payment owed by the city as part of a prior settlement. Additionally, the company offered a significantly better rate on green waste pickup. Three for three, right?

Wrong. In another land, perhaps the council would have said “thank you” or “good job” to Rudd for his negotiating skills. Instead, the council pouted because Rudd was able to handle the deal himself (as if they had any proven expertise in these matters).

Well, they showed him who’s boss. They blew up the deal and have unnecessarily cost City Hall a ton of money now that recycling prices have tanked. Way to go, folks.

Thumbs up to the Fresno Compact’s Business-School Partnership award winners, who will be presented March 2 at the 20th annual Shareholders’ Luncheon. Each year, the compact recognizes 10 local businesses that have built exceptional partnerships with schools, contributing time and resources to help students reach their full potential.

The winners are: Gonzales Architects, Hardin-Davidson Engineering, Kiwanis Club of Old Town Clovis, KSEE 24, Maricopa Orchards, Resource Lenders, Sanger Rotary, The Wonderful Co., Valley Unique Electric Inc. and Zumwalt Construction.

In addition to these 10 business partners, Don Ulrich, assistant superintendent for facilities services, Clovis Unified School District, will be recognized as this year’s Harold Haak award winner for his efforts to promote and develop business-school partnerships.

Thumbs up to West Fresno Middle School for taking the challenge to get healthy this year with a new program called No Walls Gym. The middle school has teamed up with Kids Moving Inc., a nonprofit committed to empowering kids through physical activity, to provide a free community fitness program in the school’s gym. Located at 2888 S. Ivy Ave., classes are held Monday through Friday mornings and evenings, and are open to all ages.

Thumbs up to the Valley Children’s Hospital Guilds for raising $45,000 at the World Ag Expo in Tulare. The guilds gave away a Toyota Tundra, which was won by Eddie Castillo of Fresno.

Thumbs up to Fresno First Bank for being named by Forbes magazine as one of America’s top 25 small businesses. Forbes cites Fresno First for its good job at controlling costs and its ability to quickly respond to customers’ needs. The list is a first for the business magazine. To be included, a company had to be recognized by peers as outstanding; have a goal of being great, not just big; make regular contributions to its community; show strong economic performance for at least 10 years and have a strong financial footing; be privately owned; and have intangibles of charisma and business “mojo” – the desire of customers to want to be connected to the firm. The bank is at 7690 N. Palm Ave. Steve Miller is the chief executive officer and president.

Thumbs up to Fresno State’s Bulldog Marching Band leader, Jason Cruz, who will be the first recipient of the Fresno State Alumni Association’s Bulldog Pride Fund drum major award. Cruz will be honored in the fall at the Top Dog Alumni Awards Gala, receiving a $2,000 award from the $50,000 fund raised by the Alumni Association. Cruz, an Edison High School graduate, is majoring in music education.

Thumbs up to the University of California, Merced, for being named for the first time to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education and achieving the second-highest classification after just 10 years. It is, by far, the youngest university to get the R2 designation, according to university records. UC Merced has awarded more than 40 doctoral degrees, made nearly $138 million in research-related expenditures and received more than $185 million in research grants during its short life.

Thumbs up to Saint Agnes Women’s Club for donating $90,000 to the Saint Agnes Holy Cross Center for Women. Part of the money will go to help out with the 2,900 loads of laundry done annually at the center by providing three industrial-size washers. The donation also will help fund a six-week summer program for children and young people and personal services for women and children, including weekly distribution of clothing and diapers. The center offers educational programs and respite for homeless and low-income women and their children.

Thumbs up to the supporters of the Charlie Keyan Armenian Community School's Annual Crab Feed for raising $48,000 for the school.

Thumbs up to visionary Serena Lujan and the graffiti artists who decorated the quarter-mile concrete wall at Calwa Park recently. Lujan organized the annual Bizare Art Festival, which invites graffiti artists to participate in a day of live painting, music and dancing. “These guys have some great, explosive talents,” says Lujan, “I want to bring it from the back alley to a place it can be recognized.” She started the festival three years ago as a way to honor her brother, a well-known graffiti artist known as Bizare (or Bizr68). Calwa Park may have the only legal wall in Valley and artists can pay a nominal fee to paint the park’s wall and structures.