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The Sentinel's Parker Bowman wins Gruner Award

The Hanford Sentinel’s Parker Bowman received a 2019 George F. Gruner Award for a feature story on a Kettleman City native who finds peace in the pool.

The Sentinel’s Noe Garcia and Enterprise-Recorder’s Laura Brown and Jeremiah Martinez – won honorable mentions. The awards for work produced in 2018, were announced Wednesday night at a reception at the Fresno Art Museum.

The prizes honor George F. Gruner, whose 46-year career included 33 years at The Bee, retiring in 1988 as executive editor.

The competition recognizes meritorious public service, best column, best news story, best sports feature story, best feature, best news/feature photo and best sports photo. It’s open to San Joaquin Valley newspapers and prizes are awarded in three categories – large daily newspapers, small daily newspapers and weekly newspapers.

The winners and honorable mentions in the other categories:

PUBLIC SERVICE – Winners: Garth Stapley, Modesto Bee; Vikaas Shanker, Merced Sun-Star; Paul Myers, Foothills Sun-Gazette. Honorable mention: Sam Morgen, Bakersfield Californian; Sheyanne Romero, Visalia Times-Delta; Greg Little, Nicole W. Little, Matt Johnson, Laura Phillips and John Mabon, Mariposa Gazette.

BEST COLUMN – Winners: Marek Warszawski, The Fresno Bee; Mike Dunbar, Merced Sun-Star; and John Spevak, Los Banos Enterprise. Honorable mention: Robert Price, Bakersfield Californian; James Ward, Visalia Times-Delta; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette.

BEST SPORTS PHOTO – Winners: Andy Alfaro, Modesto Bee; Andrew Kuhn, Merced Sun-Star; Johnson. Honorable mention: Kohlruss; Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta; Gene Lieb, Los Banos Enterprise.

BEST NEWS STORY – Winners: Price; Rob Parsons, Merced Sun-Star; Myers and Reggie Ellis, Foothills Sun-Gazette. Honorable mention: Amaro; staff, Visalia Times-Delta; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette.

BEST FEATURE STORY – Winners: Morgen; Parker Bowman, Hanford Sentinel; Greg Little, Mariposa Gazette. Honorable mention: George; Ward; Laura Brown, Enterprise Recorder.

BEST SPORTS FEATURE STORY – Winners: Trevor Horn, Bakersfield Californian; Vongni Yang, Visalia Times-Delta; Shawn Jansen, Los Banos Enterprise. Honorable mention: James Burns, Modesto Bee; Noe Garcia, Hanford Sentinel; Johnson and Jeremiah Martinez, Enterprise Recorder.

BEST NEWS/FEATURE PHOTO – Winners: Joan Barnett Lee, Modesto Bee; Andrew Kuhn, Merced Sun-Star; Lieb. Honorable mention: Walker; Ron Holman, Visalia Times-Delta; Little.

The Gruner awards are sponsored by The Fresno Bee and the Department of Mass Communication and Journalism at Fresno State. The judging is done by a group of professional journalists outside the Valley.

The Gruner awards are funded by the Central Valley Foundation and the Central Valley Community Foundation. Each public service category winner receives $200.

Hanford sign installed

HANFORD — The city of Hanford has a new landmark.

A large metal sign bearing the city’s name is now on prominent display in the median at Lacey Boulevard and Garner Avenue.

Alvin Dias, parks superintendent, and other members of parks staff installed the sign Thursday morning. The project was a collaborative effort between the Hanford Parks and Recreation Department and a local high school.

When Lacey Boulevard was resurfaced in January 2016, Americans with Disabilities Act improvements required the sidewalk to be rerouted through the median. To put the sidewalk in, trees and landscape irrigation in the median were removed.

Instead of putting the same type of landscape back in the median, Council members at the time said they wanted to see something different put in that would require less maintenance.

In an effort to transform the bare median, Parks staff began to brainstorm ideas that incorporated local history and industries that helped build the community.

They chose an agriculture theme that included a large fabricated metal sign that says “Hanford” on both sides, plus two tractors and two cows.

The design, which does not hinder visibility in the area, was approved by the Parks and Recreation Commission in December and staff started contacting local businesses and high school programs for help.

The tractors came from Safarjian Farms and Hanford High School Ag teacher Michael Taylor was asked if his students could fabricate the sign, which he gladly agreed to.

Seven of Taylor’s students in different grades — including some from Hanford West and Sierra Pacific high schools — worked on the sign during their respective class periods. The sign, which was finished in early February, took the students only a few weeks to create.

“They did a good job,” Dias said about the students’ work. “It came out nice.”

The metal sign was painted yellow on the outside and black on the inside. Dias said the color was chosen to correlate with the city’s emblem.

Solar floodlights will illuminate each letter in the sign, the tractors and the cows and Dias hopes people don’t vandalize them.

“I hope people like it and enjoy it,” he said.

Everybody’s Irish in downtown Hanford

Main Street Hanford presents the eighth annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Saturday, March 16th from 6:00p.m until 9:00p.m. in downtown Hanford. This premiere event will include a microbrew tasting at 21 downtown businesses, live music, food, shopping and tons of fun.

Ticket holders will be able to taste beers from Hanford’s own, Hop Forged Brewing Company and Hanford Homebrew. Hop Forged Brewing Company has plans to open to the public late March or early April, but you can get a preview of their beers at our St. Patrick’s Day Celebration! With over 25 different microbrews to choose from, you will have a hard time choosing what to taste next!

Experience live music, photo ops, discounts, snacks and more! We can’t give away all the details, but you do not want to miss this!

Tickets are on sale for $20.00 in advance, $25.00 the day of the event. Ticket cost includes a tasting mini-pilsner, 10 tasting tickets and a map displaying downtown tasting locations and beer descriptions.

Only 1,000 tickets will be sold for this event and tickets will go fast! Tickets are available at; Main Street Hanford, Hanford Antique Emporium, Lush Fine Wines, Castaways Consignments and Fatte Alberts Pizza Co. Tickets can also be purchased online at

Stay downtown after the event and visit one of the many establishments that will continue the St. Patty’s Day festivities; including Fatte Albert’s Pizza Co, Lush Fine Wines and Plan B Taphouse.

The Chamber of Commerce will host the “After Party” in Civic Park beginning at 8p.m. with a DJ and dancing. Remember to wear green for the event because “Everybody’s Irish in downtown Hanford”

Woman arrested on suspicion of prostitution

HANFORD — On Wednesday, detectives and Problem Oriented Policing officers from the Hanford Police Department arrested 55-year-old Xiuhua Song on suspicion of solicitation of prostitution, officials said.

Hanford Police officers said they had previously received anonymous information regarding possible prostitution occurring at Angels Massage, located at 401 N. Redington Street.

An undercover officer went inside the establishment and purchased a massage, officials said. At the conclusion of the massage, they said he was propositioned for sexual acts for a monetary fee.

After Song propositioned the undercover officer, police said she began to try to perform these acts. Undercover officers then moved in and took Song into custody for prostitution, they said.

Authorities said she was transported and booked into the Kings County Jail on suspicion of one count of prostitution.

The business license for the establishment was under “Angels Massage," however, officials said the business was operating as “Asian Massage."