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The Raging Nathans, a punk rock band from Dayton, Ohio, will play in Visalia Wednesday, Feb. 28. 

Hanford Police officers recognized at Council meeting

HANFORD — The Hanford City Council meeting on Tuesday started off on a positive note with awards for three Hanford Police Department officers and a welcoming for two new officers.


Hanford Police Chief Parker Sever presented Officers Chad Medeiros, Jonathan Farr and Chris Barker with medals and pins to go on their uniforms for meritorious or life-saving acts.

He said the police department has an awards committee comprised of people from different areas of the department that come together to discuss officers who are deemed worthy of recognition for their actions.

The first recognition came on behalf of the Hanford Fire Department in a letter which stated Barker and Medeiros exhibited “outstanding service” in the field after they responded to a medical aid call in July 2017.

According to the fire department, upon their arrival to the scene they found Medeiros and Barker performing CPR on someone who was not breathing. By the time the patient was in the ambulance on the way to the hospital, the patient was breathing and had a pulse.

Sever read from the letter, which said: “The quick actions of your officers made a difference in the outcome of this patient due to their training and willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty in order to assist a citizen in need.”

The second award was given to Jonathan Farr for an incident in July 2017 when he responded to a call and found a woman who was choking on food and could not breathe.

Sever said Farr performed the Heimlich maneuver on the woman and she was able to begin breathing again. This action warranted a medal for life-saving.

Medeiros received another award for meritorious conduct.

Sever said this award comes from June 2017, when Medeiros made a minor traffic stop on a vehicle. He said when Medeiros pulled the vehicle over, he made contact with a young couple who had a newborn baby.

The car had no air conditioning and the father was in the back seat trying to keep the baby cool by spraying the baby with water. The father told Medeiros that he was saving money to get the car fixed.

Sever said Medeiros told the couple that his father is a mechanic and gave them the number to call to get their car fixed and told them he would personally pay for the repair. The next day, the car was fixed at no cost to the couple.

“Officer Medeiros later told his wife about this and was worried he might get in trouble,” Sever said as the crowd chuckled. “Well, he didn’t get in trouble, he got an award instead.”

Sever said there are many acts from police officers that go unnoticed, and wanted to recognize everything the officers do on a daily basis as well.

“These officers did an outstanding job and we appreciate their fine service,” Sever said. “I think they’re good examples of what our Hanford Police officers are."

Oath of office

Sever also presented the department’s two newest officers: Ruben Cano and Saige Lopez.

Sever said Cano has lived in Hanford for 20 years and is a graduate of Hanford High School. He said Cano has worked as an officer in Delano for the last six years but wanted to work closer to home.

“We appreciate him coming in. We’re excited to have him on board,” Sever said of Cano.

Sever said Lopez was one of the department’s Explorers and contributed to that program’s success for about seven years before being hired as an officer.

“We’re excited for the contribution both of these young men will make to our agency,” Sever said.

After City Clerk Jennifer Gomez administered the oath of office to both officers, Cano’s badge was pinned-on by his wife, Monica, and Lopez’s badge was pinned-on by his mother, Jodi.

Julissa Zavala, The Sentinel 

Firefighter Derek Weisser speaks to Hanford City Council while firefighters Gabriel Martinez, Connor Kurtz and Matthew Baker wait to speak. About 20 firefighters attended the Hanford City Council meeting.

Rev. Billy Graham, known as 'America's Pastor,' dies at 99

MONTREAT, N.C. — The Rev. Billy Graham, the magnetic, movie-star-handsome preacher who became a singular force in postwar American religious life, a confidant of presidents and the most widely heard Christian evangelist in history, died Wednesday at 99.

"America's Pastor," as he was dubbed, had suffered from cancer, pneumonia and other ailments and died at his home in North Carolina.

More than anyone else, Graham built evangelicalism into a force that rivaled liberal Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in the U.S. His leadership summits and crusades in more than 185 countries and territories forged powerful global links among conservative Christians and threw a lifeline to believers in the communist bloc.

Tributes to Graham poured in from major leaders, with President Donald Trump tweeting: "The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man." Former President Barack Obama said Graham "gave hope and guidance to generations of Americans."

A tall, striking man with thick, swept-back hair, stark blue eyes and a firm jaw, Graham was a commanding presence in the pulpit, with a powerful baritone voice.

"The Bible says," was his catchphrase. His unquestioning belief in Scripture turned the Gospel into a "rapier" in his hands, he said.

Graham reached multitudes around the globe through public appearances and his pioneering use of prime-time telecasts, network radio, daily newspaper columns, evangelistic films and satellite TV hookups.

By his final crusade in 2005 in New York City, he had preached in person to more than 210 million people worldwide. No evangelist is expected to have his level of influence again.

"William Franklin Graham Jr. can safely be regarded as the best who ever lived at what he did," said William Martin, author of the Graham biography "A Prophet With Honor."

Graham's body will be taken to Charlotte on Saturday in a procession expected to take 3½ hours and ending at the Billy Graham Museum and Library, according to Mark DeMoss, a spokesman for the DeMoss Group public relations firm. The body will lie in repose Monday and Tuesday in the Charlotte house where Graham grew up, which was moved from its original location to the grounds of the Graham museum and library. A private funeral for Graham will be held on March 2, and he will be buried next to his wife.

He was a counselor to U.S. presidents of both parties from Dwight Eisenhower to George W. Bush. In 1983, President Ronald Reagan gave him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor.

Born Nov. 7, 1918, on his family's dairy farm near Charlotte, Graham came from a fundamentalist background that expected true Bible-believers to stay clear of Christians with even the most minor differences over Scripture. But he came to reject that view for a more ecumenical approach.

Graham studied at Wheaton College, a prominent Christian liberal arts school in Illinois, where he met fellow student Ruth Bell. The two married in 1943.

Graham took a job organizing meetings in the U.S. and Europe with Youth for Christ, a group he helped found. He stood out for his loud ties and suits, and his rapid delivery and swinging arms won him the nickname "the Preaching Windmill."

A 1949 Los Angeles revival turned Graham into evangelism's rising star. Held in a tent dubbed the "Canvas Cathedral," the gathering had been drawing adequate but not spectacular crowds until one night when reporters and photographers descended.

When Graham asked them why, a reporter said that publisher William Randolph Hearst had ordered his papers to hype Graham. Graham said he never found out why.

Over the next decade, his huge crusades in England and New York catapulted him to international celebrity. His 12-week London campaign in 1954 defied expectations, drawing more than 2 million people and the respect of the British.

As America's most famous religious leader, he golfed with statesmen and entertainers and dined with royalty. Graham's relationships with U.S. presidents became a source of pride for conservative Christians who were often caricatured as backward.

Graham's White House ties proved problematic when his close friend Richard Nixon resigned in the Watergate scandal, leaving Graham devastated and baffled. He resolved to take a lower profile in the political world, going as far as discouraging the Rev. Jerry Falwell, a founder of the Moral Majority, from mixing religion and politics.

"Evangelicals can't be closely identified with any particular party or person. We have to stand in the middle, to preach to all the people, right and left," Graham said in 1981, according to Time magazine. "I haven't been faithful to my own advice in the past. I will in the future."

Yet, during the 2012 White House campaign, with Graham mostly confined to his North Carolina home, he all but endorsed Republican Mitt Romney. And the evangelist's ministry took out full-page ads in support of a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage.

His son the Rev. Franklin Graham, who runs the ministry, said his father viewed gay marriage as a moral, not a political, issue.

He was on the road for months at a time, leaving Ruth at their mountainside home in Montreat to raise their five children: Franklin, Virginia ("Gigi"), Anne, Ruth and Nelson ("Ned").

Anne Graham Lotz said her mother was effectively "a single parent." Ruth sometimes grew so lonely when Billy was traveling that she slept with his tweed jacket for comfort. But she said, "I'd rather have a little of Bill than a lot of any other man."

She died in 2007 at age 87.

"I will miss her terribly," Billy Graham said, "and look forward even more to the day I can join her in heaven."

Comedian Felipe Esparza performs sold-out show at Tachi Palace

Comedian Felipe Esparza will be performing at the Tachi Palace tonight, which is a far cry from of the places he performed before winning “Last Comic Standing.”

“I used to perform in a little dive bar in Porterville,” Esparza said. “One half was a hip hop club and the other was country, so you’d see guys with gold chains next to guys with cowboy hats and ostrich boots. They didn’t cross over except to go to the restroom or outside to smoke.”

Since those days, the Mexican-born comedian won the seventh season of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” reality competition show in 2010. That season’s comedians included Kurt Metzger and Chip Pope of the underrated MTV comedy, “Austin Stories.”

“That show produced a lot of stars who didn’t go far on the show like Tiffany Haddish and Lil Rel Howery, who was just in ‘Get Out,’ ” Esparza said. “So I think that show would have still helped me even if I didn’t win.”

The comedian’s newest comedy special, “Translate This,” debuted on HBO in September and is currently on the network’s mobile apps, HBO Go and HBO Now.  His first special, “They’re Not Gonna Laugh At You,” is currently on Netflix.

And while this means two hours of Esparza’s comedy is available in almost everyone’s homes at the touch of a few buttons, he’s quick to point out that it doesn’t just end there.

“It’s not just in everyone’s homes, it’s on everybody’s phones,” he said. “You can watch it right now.”

Another way the comedian has been reaching his fans at the speed of light, or at least the speed of Wi-Fi is through his podcast, “What’s Up Fool?”

The podcast started about two years ago when comedians Bill Burr and Al Madrigal suggested that Esparza start one up to join their “All Things Comedy” podcast network. Think of it like an online talk radio station with shows hosted by comedians like Doug Stanhope, Tom Rhodes, Ari Shaffir and Jen Kirkman, along with, of course, Burr.

Esparza’s podcast features interviews with folks from all walks, including one of the police officers responsible for the arrest of the “Nightstalker” Richard Ramirez and Esparza’s own Little League coach, a Vietnam vet who suffered serious injuries in the war.

He also, of course, has comedians on the podcast.

Esparza's sold out show tonight at the Tachi Palace features nearly an hour of new material never before heard in Lemoore, he said, adding that he enjoys the energy that surges through casino shows, as opposed to smaller club shows or even theater shows.

“Casino crowds make it a whole event. They get dressed up, they rent a car, they rent a room, they gamble,” he said. “Unlike at a club, casino crowds aren’t questioning a two-drink minimum. They’re more wild. They drink a lot more, they start drinking in the parking lot.”