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HJUHSD picks new superintendent

HANFORD — It was announced Tuesday that Dr. Victor Rosa has been selected as the next superintendent of Hanford Joint Union High School District.

Rosa will be taking over for current Superintendent William Fishbough, who announced his retirement in January after a 35-year career in education, including 13 years as superintendent of HJUHSD.

Karl Anderson, Board of Trustees president, announced Rosa’s selection in a memo on Tuesday.

Rosa has lived in Hanford nearly all of his entire life and attended Lakeside Elementary School from kindergarten through eighth grade before graduating from Hanford High School in 1992.

The son of Portuguese immigrants, he grew up on a small farm where he gained an appreciation for hard work and agriculture.

He continued his education at College of the Sequoias, California State University, Fresno, and Chapman University to obtain his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, as well as his teaching and administrative credentials.

Rosa then attended University of LaVerne, where he earned a doctorate in Organizational Leadership.

He has served the Lemoore Union High School District for the past 16 years as a high school English teacher, a high school principal and the last five years as assistant superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction.

“I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve the school district and community that served me so well,” Rosa said. “I have worked my entire educational and professional career to prepare for this position and I will work hard every day to ensure that the students of HJUHSD are provided every opportunity for success, that all staff members are supported and that the beautiful community of Hanford, along with all of its schools, businesses and organizations are strong partners in educating our students.”

The Board of Trustees made its decision with input gathered from key stakeholder groups in the district regarding the qualities desired in the next district leader.

Based on feedback received from parents, staff and community members, Anderson said the board looked for someone who is a collaborative, energetic leader who values the district’s accomplishments and wants to continue its efforts to provide the quality education students deserve and families expect.

“After a rigorous screening and interview process, Victor was chosen as the best fit,” Anderson said in the memo. “The Board truly feels he is committed to the students, families, staff and community of Hanford Joint Union High School District. He will be an amazing addition to our currently exceptional staff and we are looking forward to having him as a part of our team.”

Anderson also said the board wanted to publicly thank Fishbough, who is set to retire in June.

“[Fishbough] has been a tremendous leader for our district. He has built an incredible team who truly cares about the success of the students and staff,” Anderson said. “We wish him well in his retirement.”

Peddlers Paradise to close amid owner's health troubles

HANFORD — A sign on the door of Peddlers Paradise in downtown Hanford reads, “Please keep praying for Renèe to walk again. Thank you.”

The owner of the consignment and antique shop, Renèe Perkins, has announced that business, which has been open at 209 N. Irwin St. for about three years will be closing.

The store's final day will be Saturday, April 20.  

“Everything is up in the air … and I don’t know what my future holds so I have to go out of business,” she said.

In August of last year, Perkins went into the hospital to treat a problem stemming from kidney stones. The problem persisted and complications occurred, resulting in an infection that left her in a coma for two weeks. Now with blood clots in her legs and a diagnosis of diverticulitis, she has also found herself bed-ridden, partially paralyzed from the ankles to her waist.

“You never say never. You’re supposed to stay positive, even though that’s hard for me to do. I get depressed and cry a lot,” she said, her voice shaky. “But there’s always hope.”

Doctors have told Perkins that it could take six months to recuperate – or maybe a year or more.   It’s also possible that recovery may never happen and she may be permanently paralyzed.

The store is currently open only three days a week — 1:30-5:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Perkins’ husband, Tim, has been running the shop in her absence.

Tim retired from the Navy after serving for 21 years at the Naval Air Station in Lemoore, though he still currently works on the base while also managing the shop for his wife.

Getting away from his day job to oversee Peddlers Paradise has been costly for Tim, but with the last days of the business’ lease looming, everything must go. Perkins has decided not to renew her lease since her health leaves her future and her ability to effectively run a business in uncertain terms.

Renee first got into the world of business at the age of 12, going to flea markets with her mother. She took over her first store, New to You, in Hanford in the ‘80s and later opened 2nd Time Around in the Old Livery Stable Building, which she operated for 15 years.

After a cancer diagnosis “put her out of commission,” she was forced to close up shop.

After an eight year hiatus, during which her cancer went into remission, Perkins and her husband opened Peddlers Paradise in the summer of 2016.

Many items will be on sale throughout the closing. All of Perkins’ stock, including furniture will be 10-50 percent off.

The business also hosts a variety of independent vendors, many of whom will be relocating to other consignment stores in the area after Peddlers Paradise closes.

And while she’s already beaten one illness to continue her second-hand business ventures, Perkins said that opening another store probably isn’t an option even if her health improves this time around.

 “My husband said he’ll divorce me if I do that,” she joked.

US, Canada ground Boeing 737 Max 8s after Ethiopia crash

WASHINGTON — The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order Wednesday grounding all Boeing 737 Max aircraft in the wake of a crash of an Ethiopian airliner that killed 157 people, a reversal for the U.S. after federal aviation regulators had maintained it had no data to show the jets are unsafe.

The decision came hours after Canada joined about 40 other countries in barring the Max 8 from its airspace, saying satellite tracking data showed possible but unproven similarities between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and a previous crash involving the model five months ago. The U.S., one of the last holdouts, also grounded a larger version of the plane, the Max 9.

Daniel Elwell, acting head of the FAA, said enhanced satellite images and new evidence gathered on the ground led his agency to order the jets out of the air.

The data, he said, linked the behavior and flight path of the Ethiopian Airlines Max 8 to data from the crash of a Lion Air jet that plunged into the Java Sea and killed 187 people in October.

"Evidence we found on the ground made it even more likely that the flight path was very close to Lion Air's," Elwell told reporters on a conference call Wednesday.

Satellite data right after the crash wasn't refined enough to give the FAA what it needed to make the decision to ground planes, Elwell said. But on Wednesday, global air traffic surveillance company Aireon and Boeing were able to enhance the initial data to make it more precise "to create a description of the flight that made it similar enough to Lion Air," Elwell said.

The Ethiopian plane's flight data and voice recorders will be sent to France for analysis, Elwell said. Some aviation experts have warned that finding answers in the crash could take months.

Officials at Lion Air in Indonesia have said sensors on their plane produced erroneous information on its last four flights, triggering an automatic nose-down command that the pilots were unable to overcome.

President Donald Trump, who announced the grounding, was briefed Wednesday on new developments in the investigation by Elwell and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and they determined the planes should be grounded, the White House said. Trump spoke afterward with Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenberg and Boeing signed on.

"At the end of the day, it is a decision that has the full support of the secretary, the president and the FAA as an agency," Elwell said.

Airlines, mainly Southwest, American and United, should be able to swap out planes pretty quickly, and passengers shouldn't be terribly inconvenienced, said Paul Hudson, president of, which represents passengers. The Max, he said, makes up only a small percentage of the U.S. passenger jet fleet, he said.

"I think any disruptions will be very minor," he said. "The first quarter of the year is the slow quarter, generally for air travel,"adding that the airlines have planes on the ground that aren't being used on trans-Atlantic flights that could be diverted to domestic routes.

Boeing issued a statement saying it supported the FAA's decision even though it "continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 MAX." The company also said it had itself recommended the suspension of the Max fleet after consultations with the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board.

"We are supporting this proactive step out of an abundance of caution," Boeing said.

The groundings will have a far-reaching financial impact on Boeing, at least in the short term, said John Cox, a veteran pilot and CEO of Safety Operating Systems.

In addition to those that have already been grounded, there are more than 4,600 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes on backlog that are not yet delivered to airlines.

"There are delivery dates that aren't being met, there's usage of the aircraft that's not being met, and all the supply chain things that Boeing so carefully crafted," Cox said. "If they can't deliver the airplanes, where do they put the extra engines and the extra fuselage and the extra electrical components"

Even so, Cox thinks Boeing will recover, because the planes typically fly for 30 to 40 years, and any needed fix will be made quickly, he said.

Boeing's shares have plummeted almost 11 percent since Sunday's Ethiopian Airlines crash. On Wednesday, the stock sank to $363.36 after the FAA announcement but then recovered to close at $377.14, up 0.5 percent for the day. It rose slightly in after-hours trading to $378.

In making the decision to ground the Max 8s in Canada, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said a comparison of vertical fluctuations found a "similar profile" between the Ethiopian Airlines crash and the Lion Air crash. 

Canada lost 18 of its citizens in Sunday's crash, the second highest number after Kenya. A Canadian family of six were among the dead.

Lebanon and Kosovo also barred the Boeing 737 Max 8 from their airspace Wednesday, and Norwegian Air Shuttles said it would seek compensation from Boeing after grounding its fleet. Egypt banned the operation of the aircraft. Thailand ordered budget airline Thai Lion Air to suspend flying the planes for risk assessments. Lion Air confirmed reports it has put on hold the scheduled delivery of four of the jets.

Governor Newsom signs moratorium on executions

SACRAMENTO (AP) — The 737 inmates on the nation's largest death row got a reprieve from California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday when he signed an executive order placing a moratorium on executions.

Newsom also withdrew the lethal injection regulations that death penalty opponents already have tied up in courts and moved to shutter the new execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison that has never been used.

"It's a very emotional place that I stand," Newsom told reporters after signing the order. "This is about who I am as a human being, this is about what I can or cannot do; to me this was the right thing to do."

Newsom, a Democrat, called the death penalty "a failure" that "has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can't afford expensive legal representation." He also said innocent people have been wrongly convicted and sometimes put to death.

He said his views on the death penalty were first shaped 40 years ago when he learned of his grandfather's and father's advocacy for a wrongfully convicted man.

"I was a young man learning that life story," he said after signing the order. "I've gotten a sense over a course of many, many years over the disparities in our criminal justice system."

President Donald Trump tweeted Wednesday that voters don't support Newsom's decision.

"Friends and families of the always forgotten VICTIMS are not thrilled, and neither am I!" Trump wrote.

California hasn't executed anyone since 2006, when Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger was governor. And though voters in 2016 narrowly approved a ballot measure to speed up the punishment, no condemned inmate faced imminent execution.

Since California's last execution, its death row population has grown to house one of every four condemned inmates in the United States. They include Scott Peterson, whose trial for killing his wife Laci riveted the country, and Richard Davis, who kidnapped 12-year-old Polly Klaas during a slumber party and strangled her.

Newsom "is usurping the express will of California voters and substituting his personal preferences via this hasty and ill-considered moratorium on the death penalty," said Michele Hanisee, president of the Association of Deputy (Los Angeles County) District Attorneys.

U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, applauded Newsom's decision.

"As a career law enforcement official, I have opposed the death penalty because it is immoral, discriminatory, ineffective, and a gross misuse of taxpayer dollars," she said in a statement.

While the governor's move is certain to be challenged in court, aides say his power to grant reprieves is written into the state Constitution and that he is not altering any convictions or allowing any condemned inmate a chance at an early release.

A governor needs approval from the state Supreme Court to pardon or commute the sentence of anyone twice convicted of a felony, and the justices last year blocked several clemency requests by former Gov. Jerry Brown that did not involve condemned inmates.

Other governors also have enacted moratoriums. Republican Illinois Gov. George Ryan was the first to do so since 2000 and later was followed by Pennsylvania, Washington and Oregon. Illinois ultimately outlawed executions, as did Washington.

Newsom said the death penalty isn't a deterrent, wastes taxpayer dollars and is flawed because it is "irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error." It's also costly — California has spent $5 billion since 1978 on its death row, he said.

More than six in 10 condemned California inmates are minorities, which his office cited as proof of racial disparities in who is sentenced to die. Since 1973, five California inmates who were sentenced to death were later exonerated, his office said.

Brown also opposed the death penalty, but his administration moved to restart executions after voters acted in 2016 to allow the use of a single lethal injection and speed up appeals. His administration's regulations are stalled by challenges in both state and federal court, though those lawsuits may be halted now that Newsom is officially withdrawing the regulations.

Brown said he was satisfied with his record number of pardons and commutations, though he never attempted to commute a death sentence. He had focused on sweeping changes to criminal penalties and reducing the prison population.

"I've done what I want to do," Brown said shortly before leaving office, defending his decision not to endorse death penalty repeal efforts in 2012 and 2016. "I've carved out my piece of all this."

Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine of Greenbrae plans to seek the two-thirds vote the Legislature requires to put another repeal measure on the 2020 ballot. Levine's district includes San Quentin State Prison. A repeal question also was on the ballot in 2016 with the question to speed up executions. It lost by 7 points while the other question was approved by 2 points.

Newsom's aides said it has not yet been decided what will become of the execution chamber, or whether corrections officials have been told to top preparing for executions, for instance by running drills.

Seventy-nine condemned California inmates have died of natural causes since the state reinstated capital punishment in 1978. Another 26 committed suicide. California has executed 13 inmates, while two were executed in other states.

Newsom's office said 25 condemned inmates have exhausted all of their appeals and could have faced execution if the courts approved the state's new lethal injection method.