Local news briefs: Fresno Co. to swear in 55 law officers
The Fresno County Probation Department will swear in 55 deputy probation officers and juvenile correctional officers today at a ceremony downtown, said Chief Probation Officer Linda Penner.
The officers have met requirements and completed training in arrest techniques and firearms to work as peace officers, Penner said.
Fresno County seeks relatives of victims
The Fresno County Coroner’s Office is looking for family members of two men who died separately in recent weeks.
Rogelio Cruz, 46, who was identified by fingerprints, was killed Sept. 25 when he was struck by a train at Q and Tulare streets near Fresno City Hall. He has no record of family members. Investigators ruled his death a suicide.
Jose Laguna, 49, was identified at Community Regional Medical Center, where he died Oct. 1 of natural causes, officials said.
Anyone with information about how to reach relatives of either man is asked to call the Fresno County Coroner’s Office at (559) 600-3400.
Mendota police get $32,000 traffic grant
The Mendota Police Department received a $32,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety on Wednesday, spokesman Johnny Lemus said.
The grant will be used for a year-long program to prevent deaths and injuries on roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.
Funds from the grant will be used for specialized DUI and drugged driving training, DUI saturation patrols, and enforcement in distracted driving, seat belt and child safety seats, speeding, red lights and stop signs.
Madera Co. launches elder watch program
The Madera County Sheriff’s Office launched an electronic messaging service on Wednesday for senior citizens who live alone, Sheriff John Anderson said.
The Elder Orphans program performs welfare checks via telephone to seniors that subscribe to the free service, which uses an automated computer system that stores seniors’ information and schedules phone checkups.
Seniors that sign up will receive pre-recorded messages that require a touch-tone response.
The program was created to assist the county’s large senior population.
Fresno Co. hosts anti-smoking films
The Fresno County Department of Public Health Tobacco Prevention Program and Regal Entertainment Group will host anti-smoking short films created by Clovis North High School students at 8 p.m. Saturday at Edwards Fresno Stadium 22 at River Park.
Tickets, which are $12 and include a screening of the movie “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 2,” must be bought in advance. To purchase tickets, call the health department at (559) 600-6449.
Ticket sales will fund airtime for the short films to be shown at local Regal theaters prior to feature movies.
Two Valley women win essay contest
Two Valley women won prizes Wednesday for their submissions in Adventist Health’s “Letter to a Smoker I Love” essay contest.
Lynn Grable of Lemoore won an Xbox Kinect and Lori Gutierrez of Clovis won two bicycles for their essays, spokeswoman Malissa Rose said.
Grable wrote a letter to her late grandfather; Gutierrez’s letter was to her mother, asking her to quit for her granddaughters.
On Wednesday, Adventist Health/Central Valley Network also extended its tobacco ban from its buildings to include outdoors, Rose said.
Fresno LAFCo chief stepping down
The executive director of the Fresno Local Agency Formation Commission says he will step down early next year.
Jeff Witte, who runs the agency in charge of regulating city and special district boundaries, announced at last week’s commission meeting that he intends to start winding down his work, citing health reasons.
The commission’s board is expected to begin recruitment for the post next month.
Witte, 63, has been head of the agency for three years. Before that, he was assistant manager for the city of Clovis.
The head of LAFCo is responsible for overseeing a small staff and working with the governing board on boundary issues that have major ramifications on development.
Oakhurst postmaster sworn in today
The new Oakhurst postmaster will be sworn in today at noon, the United States Postal Service said.
Holly Baker will take the oath of office at the Oakhurst Post Office. Baker is the former postmaster of Coarsegold and previously worked as a mail carrier in Sacramento before stops in Fresno and Dos Palos.
She is in charge of 15 employees who handle more than 23,000 pieces of mail to more than 7,000 addresses and post office boxes.
Concert fundraiser to benefit local media
A concert fundraiser to support local alternative and progressive media in the Central Valley will be held today in Clovis.
Musicians Agustin Lira, Patricia Wells Solórzano and Jemmy Bluestein will headline Newzapalooza in support of the monthly newspaper Community Alliance and radio station KFCF (FM 88.1) as alternative media resources.
Tickets are available at newszapalooza.brownpapertickets.com, Patrick’s Music, Café Corazón and KFCF Radio’s offices. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door or $10 for students and low-income people.
Local Girl Scouts awarded USDA grant
The Girl Scouts of Central California South will expand projects to the rural communities of Orosi and Orange Cove as part of a new grant, spokeswoman Tori Sampson said.
The local Girl Scouts earned the Rural Youth Development grant for the Challenge and Change project on Thursday. The rural youth will work with community leaders in Orosi and Orange Cove to identify community needs and create a long-term, sustainable project for years to come, Sampson said.
The Central California chapter is one of nine Girl Scouts councils nationwide to be awarded the Girl Scouts in Rural Communities grant funding.
The grant was funded by the United States Department of Agriculture and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.