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NOE GARCIA, The Sentinel 

Hanford guard Kate McClard (21) drives to the basket in the second quarter of a West Yosemite League game against Mt. Whitney on Feb. 8. McClard was named the 2017-18 WYL MVP.


Crime
Little change in Hanford crime

HANFORD — No city is without crime, but the Hanford Police Department is committed to keeping Hanford as safe as possible while bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community.

Capt. Karl Anderson sat down with the Sentinel to go over last year’s crime rates and talk about how the department aims to maintain a presence within the city. 

According to police records, Anderson said there were three homicides in 2017. For the most part, he said Hanford tends to stay in the two or three range for homicides per year; sometimes even just having only one homicide.

Anderson said the highest number of homicides in one year was probably four, and that happened many years ago.

In 2016, there were 44 total robberies, while 2017 saw 54 robberies, Anderson said.

He said the number of robberies fluctuates a little bit from month to month, interestingly enough due to the weather.

“When more people are out walking around and doing stuff, we have more robberies,” Anderson said. “When more people are inside because it’s cold and wet or foggy, we don’t have nearly as many.”

Anderson said the department saw fewer burglaries in 2017 than 2016, though he can’t say for sure why burglaries have decreased. He said the state recently changed the classifications for what burglaries consist of, so the department doesn’t know how it affected the statistics.

He also said larceny/thefts — which the department spends most of its time dealing with — were down last year from the previous year, but fluctuations tend to occur from year to year.

“A lot of this stuff usually ebbs and flows,” Anderson said, adding there haven’t been any alarming spikes in any certain type of crime. “All the numbers are staying pretty consistent.”

That’s not to say the police department is complacent, however. Anderson said the department will continue to hire officers as the city grows and are always looking toward the future, especially with the uncertainty of how the legalization of marijuana will affect the state’s crime activity.

Although Hanford has cases of theft, car theft, domestic violence, burglaries, DUIs, gangs and any other crime you’d find in larger cities, Anderson said Hanford has them on a much smaller level and is generally a very safe city.

On top of responding to about 60,000 calls for service every year, Anderson said the department spends a lot if its time on prevention and outreach.

One of the on-the-rise issues continues to be homelessness, Anderson said. He said the department’s Problem Oriented Policing (POP) team has been spending a lot of time trying to find resources within the community to address the homeless issue.

“We’re working right now with the city and some other partners in trying to create a homeless resource center,” Anderson said.

The biggest future investment the department spends time on is youth programs, including Explorers, Junior Explorers, the Police Activities League, school resource officers and various summer programs. He said these types of programs get kids to make the right decisions early on and hopefully carry those traits into adulthood.

The Hanford Area Reconciliation Project (H.A.R.P.) is also a program the department started a few years ago. H.A.R.P. is a restorative justice program that uses trained mediators to resolve disputes between victims and first-time juvenile offenders.

“It tries to get them to understand — either through counseling or community service — that the road they’re going down is not a good one,” Anderson said. “Also what it does is keep them out of the criminal justice system so they don’t go to jail and have a record and have other issues going on.”

Anderson said the department consists of 57 sworn officers, 37 of which are patrol officers. He said it’s a part of the culture within the police department to be involved with the community and have an open-door policy.

Whether it be students having access to a student resource officer on their school campus or just walking around Thursday Night Market Place, Anderson said officers want to make sure both kids and adults know that the police are there to help.

“They’re moving all the time. They’re always working, there’s always something going on,” Anderson said.


Local
top story
Fox Theatre becomes '70s living room for Saturday Morning Experience

HANFORD — It was the most important few hours of the week for an entire generation and it’s coming to the Hanford Fox Theatre.

On Saturday, April 7, the Fox will transport kids and kids-at-heart to a simpler time when Acme products could do anything, the monsters were always old guys wearing costumes and the rock puns could be taken for granite.

The Saturday Morning Experience is scheduled to be a two-hour block of classic cartoons shown on the big screen from 10 a.m. to noon.

“I’m still trying to recover from them not showing Saturday morning cartoons any longer. I flip through the channels like, ‘are there any on? Maybe,’ " Zach Rodriguez said.

Rodriguez programs the Fox’s Throwback Films series and wanted to share something he loved as a child with those who also loved it and newbies that never got to experience the joy of waking up, grabbing a bowl of Fruity Pebbles and watching hours of “Space Ghost,” “The Smurfs,” “Jabberjaw” and other cartoons.

“Back then, there were only a few channels, you couldn’t record it and there was no YouTube, so if you weren’t there on Saturday morning in front of the TV, you missed it,” Rodriguez said.

The Saturday morning cartoon tradition, which waned in the ‘90s, began in the ‘60s when networks — the three that existed — began broadcasting things like “Underdog,” “Birdman and the Galaxy Trip,” and other cultural institutions like the works of Hanna-Barbera and Sid and Marty Krofft. Before that, theaters would show cartoons along with newsreels before a feature.

 “It’s cool because this is what they used to do way back when, before our time, and it’s like what [people my age] did watching on TV,” he said. “It used to be special back then and we’re taking a trip down memory lane and hopefully making new memories in the process with the new generation, with the little kids. We just want to have fun. Cartoons are fun.”

The cartoon characters people can expect to see include Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Sylvester and Tweety, the Flintstones, the Smurfs, Tom & Jerry and more.

“If it’s a success, and we hope it is, we’ll be showing some different stuff,” he said. “I’d like to show ‘Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends’ or ‘Thundarr the Barbarian.’ My son wants me to show ‘Popeye the Sailor Man.’”

Rodriguez has an 11-year-old daughter and a 6-year-old son, who helped him pick some of the cartoons.

“I think I’m more excited about it than they are almost,” he said.

If future incarnations materialize, Rodriguez said each one could be themed — perhaps superhero cartoons next time and another themed block after that.

As any former child knows, the two aspects that may be an even bigger part of the Saturday morning cartoon experience than the cartoons themselves are the pajamas and, of course, the cereal.

Ticketholders, who are encouraged to wear their pajamas and bring blankets, will be treated to cereal. Rosa Bros. is sponsoring the event and supplying the milk for the cereal. Cost Less Food Company will supply breakfast snacks.

“We’re hoping for a diverse crowd, but we want it to be family-oriented. Get the families together, get the community together,” Rodriguez said.


Lemoore
Council approves wastewater lease, study for well

LEMOORE — Lemoore's effort to improve the drinking and wastewater situation continues.

The City Council approved on Tuesday two items related to drinking water and wastewater.

Regarding wastewater, Councilwoman Holly Blair pulled an item from the consent calendar to further discuss the equipment lease for a new treatment system for wastewater.

City Manager Nathan Olson said the treatment system would be the first of its kind in Lemoore using innovative technology to clean the wastewater so it can be used within the city safely.

Wastewater is described as any water that has been used once by residents. Currently, that water goes through a pipe to a farm several miles away. If successful in treating the water, the city can use it to water parks and the golf course without restriction.

The treatment system’s estimated cost is $18 million with a down payment of $360,000.

The lease agreement was between the city of Lemoore and Goliath Project LLC. Olson said the agreement included a clause that the city would get a full refund if the wastewater after using Goliath’s system did not meet the state’s standards.

Lemoore City Attorney Jenell Van Bindsbergen said that the current language of the lease agreement did not reflect the refund information.

The council approved in a 3-2 vote to allow Olson to sign the lease pending Bindsbergen making the changes to the agreement regarding the refund information. Blair and Councilman David Brown voted no.

Olson said in an email Thursday that the agreement was still being discussed with the attorney.

Brown and Blair both said they would like to see the agreement before allowing Olson to sign it. Blair clarified with Van Bindsbergen that the council would be held responsible if the lease agreement was signed and did not reflect the refund information.

Council also held a public hearing about allowing the Public Works Department to do initial studies on making a new well, Well 15, and building a new storage tank west of the Kings County Fire Station in Lemoore and south of the golf course.

Well 15 would be the most southern well and allow for better water pressure for the residents of south Lemoore. The nearest wells would be Well 8 and 9, both are currently inactive for public use. The next closest well is north of Cedar Avenue and east of 19 1/2 Avenue.

The council approved the study unanimously. This would just be an initial environmental study on whether Well 15 could be built there.


Local
Kings Art Center offers spring break for young creators

HANFORD — Spring break doesn’t have to be all Easter eggs and sports in the sun. The Kings Art Center is inviting youngsters to spend their break creating their own works of art.

At the Creative Creatures Art Camp, children ages 5-12 will participate in making and learning about art from 8:30 to noon March 26 through March 30. The camp costs $90 per child.

The games that will be played and the projects scheduled to be worked on are “designed to get the children’s brains out of the normal box,” according to Kings Art Center Executive Director Bruce Kane.

Each day will begin with a free activity period, Kane said. This will include time when the children can use recycled items to construct gizmos, pieces of art or whatever they see in their mind’s eye. Kane says this activity promotes problem-solving skills and a better understanding of mathematics.

The free period will also consist of paper craft projects, games, snacks and more.

Later in the morning, the children will participate in classroom sessions where work will be done on larger projects like paintings and three dimensional works like sculptures. Most students will create two or three of these larger projects during the week.

Students can socialize while creating and collaborate on their projects.

“We recognize the need for kids who are creative to make friends with those that are like themselves and to create a community,” Kane said.

At the end of the week, each student will be given space in the gallery to show off their collected works during an opening of sorts, wherein the parents and guardians will be invited.

“The kids will be their own docents, showing the parents around and describing the art,” Kane said.

This is the second year the Kings Art Center has hosted the spring break camp, though they also do similar camps throughout the summer.

And while many of the children enrolled already veer toward the creative, Kane estimated that about half are there to nurture that side of themselves or are enrolled by parents who want them to try something new.

“Some parents like the idea of their kids being immersed in projects and activities,” he said.

To sign up call 584-1065 or visit www.kingsartcenter.org.