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Rescue dog and future TV star is all smiles

HANFORD — Television viewers around the country will soon be charmed by one of the brightest smiles in Kings County — the underbite of a rescue dog named Mabel.

Maureen Tompkins, of Lemoore, and Mabel, her nearly-2-year-old Boston Terrier/pitbull mix will appear on the Hallmark Channel’s “American Rescue Dog Show” at 8 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17.

“I about cried [when I found out]. It was really exciting. I was actually here volunteering at the Haven when they called and we all started jumping around screaming,” Tompkins said.

Tompkins, a board member of the nonprofit Valley Animal Haven Shelter in Lemoore, and Mabel took the trip to participate in the filming of the all-rescue dog show in Pomona in January.

“I can’t say anything about the results. Everyone will just have to watch it,” she said.

Mabel competed in the Best in Underbite category at the second annual Hallmark Channel event. Other categories include Best in Snoring, Best in Special Needs, Best in Wiggle Butt and Best in Couch Potato, among others.

“It was so much fun,” Tompkins said. ”It’s Hallmark’s way of promoting shelters and saying that you can get awesome dogs from a shelter.”

Mabel first came to the Valley Animal Haven and Adoption Center, located at 990 East D St., Lemoore, in May of 2017, along with five brothers and sisters, after having been found under a house scheduled to be demolished by construction workers, Animal Haven Executive Director Pam Brasil said.

The week-old pups, abandoned by their mother, were in bad shape. Three of the puppies had contracted parvo, including runt of the litter Mabel.

The two others with parvo, a stomach virus, died and the vet wasn’t optimistic about Mabel’s chances, Tompkins said.  Expecting to make Mabel’s last few months on Earth comfortable and happy ones, Tompkins took her in.

“I said, ‘well, I’ll just take her home with me and she’ll just live as long as she’s going to live’ – and that was a year and a half ago,” Tompkins said.

Mabel is now healthy and happy, living on Tompkin’s ranch with five other dogs.

“She’s a little fighter. We’ve been together her whole life,” Tompkins said.

Tompkins, with the help of Mabel, leads a weekly obedience class through Lemoore Parks and Recreation called K9 Confidence. Group and private lessons are offered.

“She’s come full circle from a little pathetic puppy on death’s door to now thriving and being a good partner in this training class,” Brasil said. “It’s an amazing situation.”

The Animal Haven, sponsored by the Hallmark Channel, will host a Paw-Parazzi adoption special to coincide with the airing of the dog show.

From Feb. 17-28, the shelter will adopt out dogs at discounted prices. The dogs will still receive vaccinations, spay or neutering, microchipping and other services before being adopted out. From 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 17, those in attendance will meet the newest Lemoore TV star, Mabel, and have the chance to take photos with her memorable mug.

The Valley Animal Haven began based out of Brasil’s home in March 2014 before moving to its current location in January of 2017. A fifth anniversary party and donation drive is scheduled for March.

The no-kill shelter conducts about 700 adoptions per year, Brasil said, and houses around 200 animals at any time. Receiving no state, local or federal funding, the shelter relies on donations from the community to stay in operation.

While Tompkins said that Mabel had fun in front of the cameras during the American Rescue Dog Show, she’s more comfortable at home relaxing than she is in front of the adoring fans in Tinseltown.

 “She was happy to come back home and be a ranch dog,” Tomkins said.


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Lucky number seven

HANFORD — Tom Brady may have snagged his sixth championship ring in Sunday’s Super Bowl, but the New England Patriots wasn’t the only team that won big this past weekend.

For an impressive seventh year in a row, the team from Lemoore Middle College High School has won the Kings County Academic Decathlon.

The competition, which culminated with the Super Quiz event on Saturday, was held at Sierra Pacific High School.

Dozens of students from Avenal High School, Corcoran High School, Hanford High School, Hanford West High School, Lemoore High School, Lemoore Middle College High School and Sierra Pacific High School competed in a rigorous set of academic examinations demonstrating their versatility in a variety of academic categories.

This year’s theme was “The 1960s.”

Each team is comprised of “A”, “B” and “C” students. Team members participated in ten grueling events in the Academic Decathlon, including Art, Economics, Mathematics, Music, Language & Literature, Social Science and Science — most of which relate to the theme in some way.

In addition, the contestants performed prepared and impromptu speeches, wrote essays on a given topic and participated in interview competitions. The last event, the Super Quiz, is where students take a quiz in a relay format while the audience cheers them on.

Lemoore Middle College High School, coached by Allen Tong, was announced the winning Decathlon team with 51,639.4 points. The team also won the Super Quiz with 4,830 points.

Reached Tuesday, Tong said winning the county competition for the seventh time in a row is a reflection of the culture the school tries to promote.

“We encourage high achievement and hard work,” Tong said. “Our team has a desire to do well and is willing to work hard to achieve that goal.”

Part of that hard work included not only time studying in class and on breaks throughout the year, but after school study sessions and Saturday study sessions, Tong said.

He said the team has a very dedicated group of students who encouraged each other and helped each other learn the curriculum, which they received in July.

“Studying the material can be a grind at times, but the students work together and try to keep each other positive and focused,” Tong said.

The team will now advance to the California State Academic Decathlon competition in Sacramento March 22-23. He said if they are fortunate, the team could also receive an invitation to the National Academic Decathlon Championship held in Bloomington, Minnesota in April.

At the event awards ceremony, individual medals and scholarships were also won by students from each participating high school. More than $5,700 in scholarships was awarded to top placing Kings County students.

Any contributions to help the winning Academic Decathlon team to travel to the state finals would be appreciated. Donations can be sent directly to Tong at Lemoore Middle College High School, 555 College Ave., Lemoore.


Local
Winter Gardening Festival at Children's Storybook Garden & Museum

Wind and rain didn’t stop the Master Gardener’s Winter Gardening Festival at the Children’s Storybook Garden on Saturday, February 2nd. Bill Hofmans of Hofmans' Nursery began the festival by taking participants into the orchard in the Kings County Farm Garden to discuss the reasons to prune - why, what, and when.

According to Hofmans, pruning allows for you to customize the tree to your needs. The aesthetics, type of shade, size, shape, and height of the tree can all be assisted with the right type of pruning. By pruning all year round, and following easy suggestions, you can keep your trees healthy and balance the energy used by the limb. You can also prevent them from becoming lopsided or sunburned. Pruning controls the spread of bugs, dead wood, and diseases - just make sure you regularly clean your tools. Keeping your tree healthy ultimately helps you by keeping future maintenance down.

After attendees were able to practice hands-on pruning under the guidance of Hofmans and the Master Gardeners, everyone moved inside the Museum for a presentation by Master Gardener Cathy Iseman. Proper planting, pruning, and caring for fruit trees helps optimize your needs, whether it be saving space or increasing fruit production. Following simple procedures to correctly feed and water your trees give them the best possible foundation - which benefits the trees for years to come.

Iseman then demonstrated proper tool care to prolong the life of your tools. A small file at a 45 degree angle should be used on one side of one blade to keep them sharp. Cleaning your tools either with a bleach solution or rubbing alcohol regularly (and especially after pruning a diseased limb) will prevent the spread of diseases and bacteria. Bleach can dry the mechanisms, so keep your tools oiled. Store them in a dry place to prevent rust.

Both the Master Gardeners and Hofmans encouraged continued learning. There will be a pruning demo at Hofmans' Nursery on February 16th at 10:00 a.m.; contact the Nursery for more details. Iseman suggested the book The Home Orchard by Chuck A. Ingels which is available at San Joaquin Valley Libraries. The Master Gardeners publish an article in the Hanford Sentinel every two weeks. A copy of all of the materials the Master Gardeners offered at the Festival is available at Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum. There will be a Beginner’s Gardening Workshop at Children’s Storybook Garden & Museum on February 16 at 11:00 a.m.: learn how to design your spring garden and receive free seeds. Contact the Garden for more details.


NOE GARCIA, The Sentinel 

Hanford guard Cesar Mota shoots a 3-pointer during the second quarter of a non-league game against Hanford West at Hanford West High School on Monday.


Washington
AP
Trump calls for end of resistance politics in State of Union

WASHINGTON — Face to face with emboldened Democrats, President Donald Trump on Tuesday called on Washington to cast aside "revenge, resistance and retribution" and end "ridiculous partisan investigations" in a State of the Union address delivered at a vulnerable moment for his presidency.

Trump appealed for bipartisanship but refused to yield on the hard-line immigration policies that have infuriated Democrats and forced the recent government shutdown. He renewed his call for a border wall and cast illegal immigration as a threat to Americans' safety and economic security.

Trump accepted no blame for his role in cultivating the rancorous atmosphere in the nation's capital, and he didn't outline a clear path for collaborating with Democrats who are eager to block his agenda. Their opposition was on vivid display as Democratic congresswomen in the audience formed a sea of white in a nod to early 20th-century suffragettes.

Trump is staring down a two-year stretch that will determine whether he is re-elected or leaves office in defeat. His speech sought to shore up Republican support that had eroded slightly during the recent government shutdown and previewed a fresh defense against Democrats as they ready a round of investigations into every aspect of his administration.

"If there is going to be peace and legislation, there cannot be war and investigation," he declared. Lawmakers in the cavernous House chamber sat largely silent.

Looming over the president's address was a fast-approaching Feb. 15 deadline to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. Democrats have refused to acquiesce to his demands for a border wall, and Republicans are increasingly unwilling to shut down the government to help him fulfill his signature campaign pledge. Nor does the GOP support the president's plan to declare a national emergency if Congress won't fund the wall.

Wary of publicly highlighting those intraparty divisions, Trump made no mention of an emergency declaration in his remarks. He did offer a lengthy defense of his call for a border wall, declaring: "I will build it." But he delivered no ultimatums about what it would take for him to sign legislation to keep the government open.

"I am asking you to defend our very dangerous southern border out of love and devotion to our fellow citizens and to our country," he said, painting a dark and foreboding picture of the risks posed to Americans by illegal immigration.

The 72-year-old Trump harkened back to moments of American greatness, celebrating the moon landing as astronaut Buzz Aldrin looked on from the audience and heralding the liberation of Europe from the Nazis. 

"Together, we represent the most extraordinary nation in all of history. What will we do with this moment? How will we be remembered?" Trump said.

The president ticked through a litany of issues with crossover appeal, including boosting infrastructure, lowering prescription drug costs and combating childhood cancer. But he also appealed to his political base, both with his harsh rhetoric on immigration and a call for Congress to pass legislation to prohibit the "late-term abortion of children."

Trump devoted much of his speech to foreign policy, another area where Republicans have increasingly distanced themselves from the White House. He announced details of a second meeting with North Korea's Kim Jong Un, outlining a Feb. 27-28 summit in Vietnam.

As he condemned political turmoil in Venezuela, Trump declared that "America will never be a socialist country" — a remark that may also have been targeted at high-profile Democrats who identify as socialists.  

The president was surrounded by symbols of his emboldened political opposition. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who was praised by Democrats for her hard-line negotiating during the shutdown, sat behind Trump as he spoke. 

Stacey Abrams delivered the Democratic response to Trump. Abrams narrowly lost her bid in November to become America's first black female governor, and party leaders are aggressively recruiting her to run for U.S. Senate from Georgia.

Speaking from Atlanta, Abrams calls the shutdown a political stunt that "defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values."

Trump's address amounted to an opening argument for his re-election campaign. Polls show he has work to do, with his approval rating falling to just 34 percent after the shutdown, according to a recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

One bright spot for the president has been the economy, which has added jobs for 100 straight months.

"The only thing that can stop it," he said, "are foolish wars, politics or ridiculous partisan investigations" — an apparent swipe at the special counsel investigation into ties between Russia and Trump's 2016 campaign, as well as the upcoming congressional investigations.

The diverse Democratic caucus, which includes a bevy of women, sat silently for much of Trump's speech. But they leapt to their feet when he noted there are "more women in the workforce than ever before."

The increase is due to population growth — and not something Trump can credit to any of his policies.