Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down

Fresno schoolgirl Danay Ferguson, 9, has a lot of friends supporting her literacy drive, including Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. The Fresno Police Department is among the beneficiaries of her book collections.
Fresno schoolgirl Danay Ferguson, 9, has a lot of friends supporting her literacy drive, including Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. The Fresno Police Department is among the beneficiaries of her book collections. sflores@fresnobee.com

Thumbs up to Danay Ferguson, 9, for organizing the Reading Heart 24-hour books drive to fight illiteracy in Fresno County. The event is set for March 18-19 at Chukchansi Park. She plans to break the world record for books collected by bringing in 500,000 donated books.

The Fresno County Office of Education will distribute the books to school districts in the fall. The public can donate two ways: by dropping off new or used books at the stadium or by purchasing books online at www.readingheart.org in advance. For each $5 raised, Scholastic will provide four new books to the cause. Danay created Reading Heart with her family in 2014 because she wanted to share her passion for reading and the joy of escaping in a good book with other children.

Thumbs down to the robocallers, interrupters of children’s bedtime stories, private kisses and family dinner hours. These calls are sure to get more annoying as the election season intensifies. The New York Post reports that regulators received 3.6 million complaints regarding violations of the National Do Not Call Registry last year alone. This is more than an irritation; many times, it’s fraud. Illegal actors give uneducated, desperate or elderly people a friendly voice, but their evil intention is identity theft by tricking us into revealing credit card, banking or Social Security numbers. Consumers Union says Americans lose $350 million a year to these scams.

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said this week that he wants to end the “Game of Phones” by urging landline and mobile service providers to offer customers new technology to block these nuisance calls. He is pushing providers to use technology to block these calls and make it available to customers. If the providers don’t step up, he warns that legislation forcing their hand will follow.

Thumbs up to John D. Welty, president emeritus of Fresno State, whose name will be carried on a campus leadership center. The Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute at Fresno State will be changed to the John D. Welty Center for Educational Policy and Leadership. The naming recognizes the contributions of several donors in the amount of $1.1 million to Fresno State’s Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute in honor of Welty. These funds will be used to establish a permanent endowment to build the center into a national model for policy, leadership training and professional development.

Thumbs up to John Harris of Harris Ranch for receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2015 Best of the Valley Restaurant Awards this week. The ceremony was hosted by the California Restaurant Association’s Fresno chapter. Harris is the corporate chairman and owner of Harris Ranch, which produces beef, almonds, pistachios and citrus, among other foods. The company, which has been under continuous management from the Harris family since the 1930s, also includes Harris Ranch Inn and Restaurant, a Coalinga steakhouse on Interstate 5. In addition to farming, Harris has bred and raced thoroughbred horses for nearly 50 years.

Thumbs up to Jamie Rose, a former Fresnan, for landing a guest-starring role in “Grey’s Anatomy,” airing Thursday at 8 p.m. on ABC. The episode is called “Odd Man Out.” The series stars Ellen Pompeo as Meredith Grey.

Thumbs up to Lupe Maria Guadalupe Jaime for being appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to be the newest California First 5 commissioner from Fresno County.

Thumbs up to the Rotary Club of Fresno on reaching its “Century of Service” to good causes worldwide. Members will celebrate the 100th anniversary Saturday at a dinner in Tornino’s.

Thumbs up to Bob Bennett, Fresno State’s winningest coach, who will have his name added to the baseball stadium. The facility will become known as Pete Beiden Field at Bob Bennett Stadium. Bennett helped spearhead the campaign to raise $2.2 million to refurbish Beiden Field in 1983. New signage at the stadium will be revealed during the official ceremony celebrating the new name May 7.