Thumbs up to animal lovers Louise Véronneau and Dominic Husson of Montreal, Canada, for choosing the Valley’s Cat House on the Kings for their unique wedding Tuesday. They said they chose the largest cage-free, no-kill cat sanctuary in North America because Véronneau had visited here three years ago and was so impressed, she vowed to return.
“We looked hard at our bucket-list-must-do-before-you-die stuff and devised a wild and fuzzy plan for our big day. We’re both frugal and quiet and feel our wedding should reflect our values. It should be a very small wedding ... somewhere dear to us, and in a way we’ll cherish forever. Now did I mention we are animal lovers – more like crazy about animal welfare?” The officiant was the founder, Lynea Lattanzio.
Thumbs down to Congress and the Transportation Security Administration for its shameful job of funding, staffing and managing the airport screening process. The sight of people sleeping on cots in the airports and standing for hours in lines reflects terrible management. The airlines aren’t helping, with their baggage policies mucking up the works. As the Chicago Tribune suggests, how about dropping the baggage charges for awhile so people will check bags rather than loading up with carry-ons? That alone would drastically speed things along. Passengers can help, too, by using Trusted Traveler Programs. TSA’s PreCheck members are vetted ahead of the crowds, then zipped through a special line. Sign up: at about $17 a year, it’s well worth it.
Thumbs up to Francine and Murray Farber for donating $100,000 to Fresno Unified School District to create a program called Fifth Grade on Broadway. That’s grand! The program sends fifth-graders from 15 elementary schools to local theater performances, in addition to developing a production of their own. The Farbers also have paid for hundreds of students to see shows in town, the most recent a Fresno State production of “Blue Willow.” A summer program in theater arts also is part of the plan, with help from the Fresno Arts Council. The community will greatly benefit from the Farbers’ vision, since research shows students benefit in a great many ways when taught to express themselves through the arts.
Thumbs up to Fresno Pacific University for sending a contingent of faculty members to help Finland assimilate close to 50,000 Iraqi and Syrian refugees. Leaders there believe Fresno Pacific has experience with diversity here that may help their with their challenge of changing demographics. Best of luck to them and we hope that they will bring information about Finland’s excellent education system back here as well.
Thumbs up to Eric Nino Jr. of Madera for earning nominations to the U.S. Military Academy, Naval Academy and Air Force Academy. Nino, captain of his water polo team, has chosen to take his Eagle Scout badge and 4.5 GPA to West Point. Our nation’s defense is so critical right now that it is heartwarming to know that among those serving will be a young man like Nino. We wish him well.
Thumbs up to the Central California Baseball Academy (CenCal) for partnering with the city of Fresno to renovate the baseball fields at Radka Park in southeast Fresno. The baseball fields will serve Sunnyside Little League, which will enable the league to add as many as 100 children to the league next year. CenCal Baseball will also hold clinics, practices and provide baseball instruction and life assistance to hundreds of children from the Sunnyside area and throughout the region. The park, refurbished as part of the Adopt-A-Park program, is at 5897 E. Belmont Ave. Batter up!
Thumbs up to U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, who will receive an honorary doctorate degree at Fresno State’s 105th commencement Saturday. The honor is being given in recognition of Herrera’s “poetic influence in shaping cultural ideals and the human spirit.” A native of Fowler and a former professor at Fresno State, he is the first Hispanic poet laureate in the nation’s history. He was educated at UCLA and Stanford University and received his master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop. He is the author of 28 books of poetry, novels for young adults and collections for children.