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Man arrested after hitting fire hydrant with car

HANFORD — A man was arrested early Sunday morning on suspicion of driving under the influence after hitting a fire hydrant with his car and fleeing the scene, police said.

Hanford Police officers said it was around 3:30 a.m. when they arrived at the area of 10th Avenue and Cameron Street to find water spraying 30 feet into the air. They said a fire hydrant had been hit and the water was shooting up from it.

The officers had been sent to the area for a report of a traffic collision, but said no cars were nearby.

Police said a witness told officers that a black vehicle had hit the fire hydrant and drove a short distance westbound on Cameron Street and parked in a driveway.

Officers said they checked the area and found a suspect vehicle parked in the driveway of 534 E. Cameron St. that had front end damage consistent with the collision.

Officers said they found the owner of the vehicle, who identified himself as Roy Randall, 23. Randall admitted to driving and being involved in the collision, police said.

Police said Randall was exhibiting signs of being under the influence of alcohol, so field sobriety tests were administered.

Officials said Randall was found to be under the influence and was arrested and booked into the Kings County Jail on suspicion of DUI and hit and run.

Intoxicated girlfriend commits hit and run in boyfriend's truck

HANFORD — After arguing with her boyfriend at a Halloween party, an intoxicated woman drove off with his truck, hit another car and returned to the party with the damaged truck, police said.

The woman, 24-year-old Vanessa Vargas, was found by police later after she walked away from the party again and began knocking on the doors of nearby homes, officers said.

The incident occurred Saturday just after 11 p.m., when Hanford Police officers said they went to the 800 block of Lakewood Drive after a report of a hit-and-run traffic collision.

Officers said they found a Honda that had been hit and pushed into the driveway of a home. They also found evidence at the scene that indicated the suspect vehicle was a black Chevrolet or GMC truck.

While checking the area, officers said they located a truck matching the description parked near Greenwood Avenue and Lemonwood Court and saw that the truck had front end damage consistent with the hit and run collision.

After witnesses were interviewed, police said Vargas was identified as a suspect in the hit and run. Police said witnesses reported Vargas had gotten into an argument with her boyfriend and left the Halloween party in his truck while allegedly intoxicated.

Police said Vargas returned and parked the truck with the damage, then left walking and started knocking on nearby doors before officers located her.

Officials said Vargas was found to be extremely intoxicated and was arrested on suspicion of DUI and hit and run.

Nothing but ‘thank you’s’ and smiling faces

LEMOORE — For many people, the holiday season brings memories of time spent sitting around the dinner table sharing a good meal with loved ones; but for some families, it’s difficult to make ends meet, let alone a holiday meal.

“There’s so much life and fellowship and just comradery built around the dinner table,” said Kim Dildine, chief administrative officer of the Community Food Bank.

Community Food Bank and Tachi Palace Hotel and Casino in Lemoore have been partners for several years, so this year the food bank asked if the casino would like to do something a little different this year: a meal distribution.

Holiday meals can get big and expensive, Dildine said, especially for those families that are struggling and have to decide whether to pay electric bill or buy food for the month.

Catherine Montoya, advertising manager at Tachi Palace Casino, said she asked General Manager Willie Barrios and Assistant General Manager Bill Davis what they thought of the idea, and the two agreed it would be great for the community.

“The need is great,” Dildine said. “One in four adults and one in three kids in the Central Valley struggle with hunger on a daily basis.”

Montoya said it was a special type of distribution because the casino staff wanted to do something right before the holidays that would help families have some food for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Families received green beans, corn, stuffing, mashed potatoes, a whole fryer chicken and about 25 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables, Dildine said.

“This is a little bit of light and a little bit of hope for them as we go into the holiday season,” Dildine said.

Montoya said most people who visited the distribution thanked the volunteers and told them it means a lot that the casino was doing something for local families.

Most of the volunteers were with Tachi Palace and some even went to volunteer on their day off, Montoya said. She said the volunteers were more than happy to help and knew they were doing a good thing for the community.

“We’re all from the community,” Montoya said of the Tachi Palace volunteers. “They’re just excited and they’re happy.”

The Tachi volunteers prepared the meal boxes and handed them out to families at the drive-through distribution. Cars were lined-up and many had waited for hours before the distribution began at 9 a.m. Monday morning.

Montoya said she heard and saw “nothing but ‘thank you’s’ and smiling faces.”

Tachi Palace is no stranger to helping the community. Montoya said the casino tries to do a community breakfast every month to assist different charities. She said information can be found on the casino's community calendar online.

When all was said and done, Tachi volunteers handed out 320 meal boxes to local families.

Montoya said Tachi Palace usually partners with Community Food Bank for an event each year and said the meal distribution is something she believes the casino staff would want to do again next year.

“Anything we can help them out with, we’re looking to do that,” Montoya said. “We want to make sure that nobody goes without food in the Central Valley.”