HANFORD — Four local students are making a bee-line straight toward the state championships after winning the Kings County Spelling Bee in their respective grades.
Around 168 students total in first through eighth grades participated in the Kings County Spelling Bee, which ran from Feb. 27 to March 2 inside the Hanford Civic Auditorium.
Leana Cantrell, coordinator of the spelling bee for the third year, said each day was made up of two competitions, with one grade competing during each session.
Students qualified for the county competition by winning a series of class, school and district spelling competitions.
Cantrell said smaller school districts sent one winning student and one alternate student per grade level to the competition, while larger school districts like Hanford, Lemoore and Corcoran districts sent two winning students and two alternate students. Private and home-schooled students were also eligible to participate in the competition.
“Our spellers work so incredibly hard to get to the county level,” Cantrell said.
Jeff Frasieur once again returned as the Spell Master this year. Cantrell said he has been doing it for over 20 years.
Cantrell said each grade had phenomenal spellers, but the third graders had the longest session, spelling for over 68 rounds in a session that lasted around 3 ½ hours.
Cantrell said every speller in each grade level was given a certificate of participation, a medal and a treat bag for making it to the county competition.
In addition to those items, Cantrell said the first, second and third place winners from each grade were awarded trophies.
The winners from the fifth-, sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade sessions will move on and represent Kings County at the state level.
Cantrell said this year was “extra special” because the Nguyen sisters, Hannah and Grace from Pioneer Middle School, both won their respective grade level competitions and will be competing with each other in the state’s junior high spelling bee.
The California State Elementary Spelling Bee Championship will take place May 12 in Stockton, while the California State Junior High Spelling Bee will take place May 5 in San Rafael.
As always, Cantrell said her favorite part was getting to see the sportsmanship among the spellers.
“To see them clapping and high-fiving each other as they would get their words right, or seeing spellers who had gotten out stay to congratulate the winners – it is always heartwarming,” Cantrell said.
Cantrell said she is happy to see that the Kings County Spelling Bee is inspiring students to become better spellers, readers and writers, while also helping build their character as competitors.
“The Kings County Spelling Bee is such a tradition in our community and it is an honor to get to continue to put on this special event,” Cantrell said.
SACRAMENTO — Helping communities get clean and affordable water is their mission.
The James Irvine Foundation recognized Susana De Anda and Laurel Firestone Feb. 28 for their work with the Community Water Center.
De Anda and Firestone received the Irvine Leadership Award which came with $200,000 to go toward the work the CWC does.
De Anda and Firestone founded the CWC in 2006, and its home base is in Visalia. The CWC works with communities in Fresno, Tulare, Kern and Kings counties.
“We are honored to receive the James Irvine Leadership Award, and we know we have so much more work to empower more Californians to be at the forefront of change to secure safe water in all our communities,” De Anda said. “We're hard at work on a campaign to finally invest in solutions to the drinking water crisis in California by establishing a statewide safe and affordable drinking water fund, and we're honored to receive the James Irvine Leadership Award in recognition of the importance of the movement for safe water.”
De Anda said CWC has worked with over 5,000 residents in 69 communities in the San Joaquin Valley to help community-driven drinking water solutions.
CWC does indirect service through helping communities organize, educating and engaging community members and advocating for communities in the state government. The CWC serves as a resource for many community leaders trying to solve their water issues, Jenny Rempel, a spokesperson for the CWC, said.
Recently, the CWC helped the Armona Community Services District to get safe drinking water. Rempel said they are still working on the affordability aspect of the Armona Community Services District's water.
The CWC has also helped at the state level.
“Together, we passed the nation's first Human Right to Water law in 2012 and directed more than $700 million in state funding to emergency and long-term drinking water solutions of low-income communities,” De Anda said.
The CWC’s current large programs include Sustainable Groundwater, Resilient Drinking Water Institutions, Funding Access and Community Power and Engaged Leadership.
The Sustainable Groundwater Program works toward protecting the quality and quantity of groundwater. The CWC is also working to form transparent Groundwater Sustainability Agencies to ensure groundwater is used responsibly and equitably.
The CWC works to ensure communities have tools to operate and maintain water institutions that can adapt to water shortages.
The Funding Access Program’s goal is to secure a fund for statewide safe and affordable drinking water and to ensure existing water funds reach impacted residents of California.
The CWC is constantly trying to empower community members to become leaders and advocate for their own communities.
The best way for communities to reach the Community Water Center is their main phone number (559) 733-0219.
TULARE — A woman on a Greyhound Bus was arrested on suspicion of stabbing passengers and bringing harm to other passengers Monday afternoon on Highway 99 just north of Tulare, the Tulare County Sheriff's office said.
Sheriff's officers arrested Teresa Ann Andrade Madrigal on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and child endangerment.
Sheriff's officials said Madrigal grabbed a 3-year-old girl by the neck and held a knife to her. The child’s mother confronted Madrigal and police said Madrigal stabbed the mother in the abdomen. The mother was taken for surgery at Kaweah Delta Medical Center.
Two male passengers and the bus driver then attempted to restrain the suspect. Before doing so Madrigal stabbed herself in the neck and chest sheriff's officials said.
The sheriff's office said five passengers were hurt including the child, but the injuries sustained were not life-threatening.
Officials said the bus was traveling from Las Vegas to San Francisco. There were a total of 13 passengers and the driver.
The sheriff's office said Tuesday morning the mother of the 3-year-old victim is out of surgery and stable. The 3-year-old is out of the hospital and with her aunt in Sacramento, per the mother’s request. Another victim was taken back to Santa Cruz by Tulare County Sheriff’s Deputies. Greyhound arranged to have another bus pick up the remaining passengers and take them to their destination.
The suspect continues to receive medical treatment and is currently in custody of the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office.
The case is currently under investigation by the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Violent Crimes Investigations Unit. Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Tulare County Sheriff’s Office Investigations Unit at (559) 802-9563 or (800)808-0488. Anonymous information about this crime can be reported via the Tipnow app, email email@example.com or by texting or calling (559)725-4194.