Friday, February 29, 2008

University High Needs to Hold Lottery

A couple of weeks ago I read an article in the Fresno Bee about University High being named the 36th best public high school in the nation. Within the article the head of the school, Dr. James Bushman, was puzzled by the lack of interest. Now I have to say that I am a huge fan of University High (since I am a dyed in the wool homeschooler this is a huge statement) so my interest was piqued. I decided to keep an eye out for any developments. Well, that seems to have been rectified. This week they had to hold a lottery and place 30 students on a waiting list.

This left me with some questions so I emailed Dr. Bushman for some more information. Currently the school has space for 400 students and there are no plans to change that regardless of demand. Fresno State has set aside enough space for this many students and the program is set up to work best at this size.

I was also curious about the entrance process. Since the demand had grown I was curious as to why a lottery was employed and not merit system. Dr. Bushman said that as a charter school they aren't allowed to pick and choose. Instead they must conduct a lottery of all applicants that meet the entrance requirements. In order to put more stringent entrance requirements in place the school would have to change their charter (something not in the works).

If find all of this quite interesting and I am sure that I am not the only one (I hear things). This school continues to develop into a wonderful program. I think what is great is that the requirements leave plenty of room for lots of students to apply. They aren't just looking for the Virtuosos but those who will work hard and challenge themselves. I am going to watch this school to see what mark its students make on the world!

Relief Kits

The Mennonite Central Committee is collecting items for relief kits that they will be distributing to victims of natural disasters, war or conflict, and economic and political injustices. You can either contribute items for the kits, completed kits or money to help cover kits themselves or shipping costs. You can go to the website for a list of kits and what they need in them. You can then deliver your kits or monetary donations to the Central Committee at 1010 G Street in Reedley. You can also call 559-638-6911 for more information. I think this is a great way to show others how much you care!

(HT: Around the Valley in the Fresno Bee)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

CSUFresno to Appeal Johnson-Klein Ruling

So CSUFresno has decided to try to appeal the ruling for Stacy Johnson-Klein and for Vivas for a new trial. Stacy Johnson-Klein's attorney, Warren Paboojian was on Ray Appleton's show today talking about it. There is also talk that this opens Stacy Johnson-Klein up to appeal the reduction that she agree to. What is shocking is that CSUFresno made this big show about how happy they are to move on from all this. Apparently, while the school said they wanted to pay her off and move on, the school hasn't paid anything nor made an effort to. Paboojian said that he thinks this is coming from higher up than the school, possibly the Chancellor's office in Long Beach. In addition to all lawyer costs but CSU system will have to pay interest on the settlement and opposing counsels fees if the CSU loses the appeal. It takes 18 months to 2 years to decide if the appeal will be granted. Interest on the settlement will accumulate about $80,000 a month. I think that the school doesn't think about that monetary risk because they don't have to pay anything until the appeal is ruled on. That financial risk is on top of the risk of the appeal being granted and CSUF looses big again but this time with out the reduction. Now there is always the chance that CSUF will be exonerated and have to pay nothing but I think the chances of that are very slim. Given their past track record in this area they would have needed to uncover something big on the coaches. Ray Appleton has wondered if this is just ego driven or if they have something new to blow away the opposition.

So how do you think this will effect this new Capitol campaign for CSUFresno? Are you willing to donate to the school now? This will all develop into some interesting blog material.

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National Attention for Fresno Firefighters

For a while there has been a legal fight as to whether there are going to be mandatory sprinklers for new, large houses in the Fresno Area. I don't really think we should be mandating these things. But in the sprinkler note, the Fresno Fire department has put together a great and humorous piece. It has gotten over 30 thousand hits on YouTube.

(HT: Fresno Bee)

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Hacienda: Halfway House or Abandoned Building

The Fresno City Council had plans to turn a former hotel at Clinton and 99 into a halfway house but it has been delayed due to neighbors complaining. According to the article in today's Fresno Bee, the decision has been delayed another 30 days. I understand that the neighborhood maybe concerned about this secure facility to house ex-cons, parolees and their kids but is the alternative better? It has been sitting empty for 2 years. In the harshest sense this is a choice between a crack den with criminals or a supervised facility with criminals that are trying to be reformed. That isn't a real choice to me. It isn't a situation where it is a profitable business or a halfway house, I could totally understand the neighbors getting involved the. I think that 30 days to placate the neighbors isn't going to placate the neighbors. Either do it or get a business in there because it just sitting is the worse thing for the area. Looking at the harsh reality of Fresno, buildings can sit empty for decades, so what the neighbors think would be a temporary problem may not be. I urge the neighborhood to not try to live in the glory of the old days (this had been one of the nicest hotels in the area) but deal with today's harsh realities.

Monday, February 25, 2008

City Councilman Called to Iraq

Fresno City Councilman, Larry Westerlund has been called to active duty by the Navy. This isn't the first time he has been called back into active duty, in 1998 he was called to Bosnia to serve. While I am very proud of him for serving it does raise some interesting issues. He will be missing the 8 months that will be remaining in his current term but he is also running for reelection. It appears that if he is reelected he will miss the first 6 months. Now how does this effect his elect ability? Should he still be able to take office, even if he isn't here to take office?

Separately, what do you think about the federal government calling a local official into service. NerdDad and I were talking and he raised a great point that this is usurping the voters' rights. We (or those in his district) chose for him to represent them and now that is being taken from them. The Armed Services doesn't call back members in Congress because they are serving in a different branch of government. Why doesn't that extend to state and local governments?

We have the right to elect whomever we want to without federal interference. So why can they interfere in this situation? Now I am not trying to get anyone to shirk their duty and I am pro-military. I am just curious about how this plays in the context of voter rights. What do you all think?

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Locals in the Local Paper

So here are the articles out The Bee by the Bee (not including Sports;).

The Front Page Section:
I thank you, I thank you, I thank you by Ron Orozco
Not in your front yard? by Eddie Jimenez

Local and State Section:
Traveling water: and a lack of basements by Paula Lloyd
Rain, rain GOING AWAY by Don Mayhew
Churches offer a joint black history lesson by Vanessa Colon
Restoring Valley fish run seen as unlikely by Mark Grossi
Term-limit turnover will make upcoming races interesting by Dan Walters

Word on the Street by Sanford Nax and Bethany Clough

Life Section:
Oscars have an international flavor by Rick Bentley
British actor steps up to play an iconic hero by Rick Bentley
'Beowulf' looks bad by Rick Bentley and Donald Munro

Uncredited Life Features (which I loved):
Fundraising Calendar
Library Events
Someone You Should Know

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Locals in the Local Paper

So here is a list of articles in the Bee by actual local writers and mostly all local issues. Go read, support and then come back here and comment. I will be posting my own thoughts on a couple of the articles at a later time;). Why am I doing this? Read about it here!

Front Page Section:
Southwest Fresno grapples with big void: no middle school by Pablo Lopez
70 Valley agencies got beef in recall by E.J. Schultz and Pablo Lopez

Local & State Section:
Plan would trace pollution to source by Mark Grossi
Clovis to build cultural arts plaza by Marc Benjamin
Motive in shooting unclear by Charles McCarthy
Merced UC med school touted by Paula Lloyd
Cameras combat crime at Fresno Co. libraries by Kerri Ginis
Around the Valley and News Briefs by Bee staff
Storms may dump inch of rain in Valley by Paula Lloyd
2 new doctors to test suspect by Tim Bragg
Upholding reforms on development fights abuse by Dan Walters
Mehas wins confirmation to CSU post by The Fresno Bee

Business Section:
Fig board manager leaving for pistachio association by Dennis Pollock

Life Section:
Bistro Rustico expands by Joan Obra
Square Deal by Joan Obra
Lowrider livin' by Rick Bentley
C-SPAN bus comes to Fresno by The Fresno Bee

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

More Fresno in the Fresno Bee

In starting this blog, I have started reading the Fresno Bee again and I have to say that I am disappointed. When reading the Front Page and Local Page I notice a drastic lack of Fresno authors. I understand that there are issues all over the world but still I want to see local authors on everything, not just the most local issues. If I am just reading syndicated columns why don't I just get a national paper? So in an effort to promote the local writers and weed through all the AP junk, I am going to start a couple times a week posting links to the articles by locals in the paper (but probably not the sports section;).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Devin Nunes: Porker of the Month?

CAGW is an anti-government waste watchdog group that runs the blog Swine Line. They have declared Nunes one of the Porkers of the Month due to his attempts to stymie the Medicare Audits, and thus the collection of overpayed moneys, this month.

Though he does seemed to be somewhat redeemed in their eyes with his refusal to approve earmarks for our own district in order to not participate in a broken system.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Stuff Going on at the Library

As a homeschooler I am at the Library often. Well, I saw that the Library is having a whole lot going on. So here are a few of the announcements I saw.

To celebrate the 35th Anniversary of Good Company Players Dan Pessano(Managing Director) will be at the Woodward Park Regional Library on Saturday March 1, 2008 at 2pm. He will be doing an overview of the last 35 years and will be discussing what will be happening in the future. He will be joined by past and present members of the company.

Friday March 7, 2008 from 4pm-10pm there will be a DDR Teen Tournament at the Sunnyside Regional branch. Apparently the kids can win cash!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Johnson-Klein Takes 1/3 Settlement

So Stacy Johnson-Klein took the $6.6 million settlement. But why? One reason of course is the unknown. This jury ruled for her but who knows what another would think. But I don't think that is the real reason, I think she wants to move on. The key is what that means. There was a mention of 2 key things. First, she is going to be an "advocate" for gender equity. But I think the real key is the book she is planning on writing. Yes, it is going to be about her childhood and all that but what will sell books is the lawsuit and her time at CSUFresno. That will be gone if she lost. Also she needs to strike while the iron is hot. Another trial could drag on forever and drown her into anonymity. The other thing is that parties are not usually not allowed to comment on pending cases (and like CSUFresno wouldn't file a gag order if there was a way around it). So maybe she settle for less in hopes of making more. What do you think?

Kids Day is Coming

The Kids Day edition of the Fresno Bee is coming soon on March 11, 2008. All proceeds of this edition goes to help support Children's Hospital Central California. Right now they are looking for volunteers. If you are interested call 1-800-73-CHILD or 559-353-7100.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Good Man Passes On

I just saw in today's paper that Brigadier General Edward E. Munger (ret) passed away on Monday from liver cancer. Reading his resume gave further insight to a man I already respected. I have heard him on Ray Appleton's radio show for years and had always enjoyed his insight. My prayers and best wishes are with his family and all who loved him.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Have Extra Fabric?

Have you heard of the Holy Cross Center? Neither had I. It is a center that allows the homeless and poor to come and sew. Sounds odd? Well it enables them to come in and patch clothing, alter clothes to fit, sew blankets, pillows and other types of clothing. It also has facilities to wash their clothes and themselves and also receive some medical care. This center is across from the Poverello House and you can help. Just bring in any type of fabric, yarn, knitting needles, etc or volunteer to help teach sewing and other skills. I know many a person (including me) who thought they would pick up a hobby like sewing or knotting and didn't so all the materials are just in a box. Wouldn't they be better served helping someone in need than gathering dust? The center is at 421 F St and is open 8am-4pm Monday thru Fridays. You can also call them at 559-237-3379!

(HT: Fresno Bee)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

New Savemart!

I am excited that the new SaveMart has opened down in my neck of the woods at Clovis and Kings Canyon. I believe that this is the first in the promised development down here in the Fancher Creek area! I am interested to see what effect it has on both the area and the Vons across the street.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Congrats Edison!

I saw in the Fresno Bee that Edison won its 12th straight Academic Decathlon title. Congrats to their coach, Gary Mrkaich, and all the kids that studied so hard. Academic Decathlon is a great activity because all you have to do is love to learn. They have teams that are organized by gpa groupings (ie a students, b students and c students) so you don't have to be the best in your class.

Yet Another Blog?

As you come across this blog you may wonder what it is all about. Well, I have looked about in the blogosphere and haven't found a well rounded blog that addresses what is going on in Fresno. Nothing that discusses local politics and activities that are family friendly. So here is Blog Fresno to help meet that need. I will attempt to blog on local issues, activities, and even restaurants. I am hoping to even get some great contributors. So tune in, comment and participate!