VALLEY: Briefs

Assemblymember Henry T. Perea, D-Fresno, has introduced legislation designed to help many middle- and low-income residents who are paying high energy costs because of outdated legislation.

Assembly Bill 327 gets the state Legislature out of the energy business by allowing the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to once again make decisions regarding residential energy rates. It would also repeal portions of two bills passed during the energy crisis intended to protect consumers from rate increases, which instead have unfairly increased energy costs for upper tier users including residents in the Central Valley and in the Inland Empire that rely on air conditioning during hot summer days.

"The energy crisis spurred many changes that at the time were necessary to keep our lights on and get us back on the right track," Assemblymember Perea said. "The crisis is long over, but laws meant to protect users are now preventing the CPUC from governing the rate structure and making necessary changes for the thousands of middle to low income families struggling to pay high energy costs."


Free internet training

California Connects will offer basic internet computer classes in Spanish at four sites.

Classes target low income and Spanish speaking adults not already using the Internet who may not have access to broadband technology.


Kerman: Monday and Wednesday, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Enterprise High School, 15405 W. Sunset Ave.

Firebaugh: Tuesday and Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Firebaugh Business Association, 1599 Q Street.

Fresno: Tuesday and Thursday, 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm, Mosqueda Community Center, 4670 E. Butler Ave.

Del Rey: Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00 to 8:00 pm, Villa Del Rey, 10563 E Jefferson Ave.

To sign up for a Fresno or Parlier class call Juan González at (559) 824-1793 and to sign up for a Kerman or Firebaugh class contact Mayra Villegas at (559) 630-2358.

Trash petition passes

FRESNO -- Opponents of the City of Fresno's effort to privatize residential garbage collection got more than 27,000 valid signatures out of almost 40,000 they delivered to get the Fresno City Council to either reverse its decision or put the issue to a vote.

Opponents needed 21,828 signatures of registered voters.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin said the city will be forced to lay off people now that it won't get a $1.5 million signing bonus from Mid Valley Disposal and about $2.5 million in franchise fees.

Opponents said there are other ways the city can balance its budget.

Chicano Youth Conference

FRESNO -- 'El Sexto Sol: Liberation, Love & Knowledge' is the theme of the Chicano Youth Conference scheduled Saturday (Feb. 23) at California State University, Fresno.

The conference, organized by the Fresno State MEChA Club, will feature more than 30 workshops. The event will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Details: Gaby Méndez at (559) 697-8628 or Frances Peña at (559) 278-2048.

Foundation youth grants

FRESNO -- The Fresno Regional Foundation is accepting applications for its 2013 Youth Grant Cycle, which had $206,000 available. Of that amount, $105,000 is earmarked specifically for Dinuba, Cutler-Orosi, Orange Cove and Reedley for youth and education.

The grants will range from $5,000 to $25,000 for organizations that serve children in grades fourth through 12th that address the social, education and health challenges impacting youth in the region.

The online grant application deadline is 5 p.m. on March 29.

Details:, and click on 'Grantmaking.'


Scholarships available

HANFORD -- The Adventist Health/Central Valley General Hospital Auxiliary is offering five $1,000 scholarships to high school seniors pursuing further education in the health care and medical fields.

Scholarships are being offered to seniors attending any high school in Kings County. Students interested should see their school counselor for further details.

Application deadline is noon on April 9.

Details: María Davis at (559) 583-2206.


FFA jackets awarded

TULARE -- The Tulare County Farm Bureau awarded signature, blue corduroy FFA uniform jackets to local students through its Blue Jacket Bonanza program.

The program was developed to provide area students involved in FFA, who do not have the financial means, a chance to earn their own uniform jacket. To be granted a jacket the students completed an application process which entails a written essay, personal interview and community service.

Among those who received jackets were Catarina Alvarado of Monache and Verónica Huerta Márquez of Exeter.


Veterans photos needed

MERCED -- The Merced County Fair needs help in collecting photos to celebrate and honor the thousands of military veterans and active duty service members who call Merced County home.

The fair's theme is 'Thank You Veterans' and fair planners want to show the community the faces of our veterans and active duty service members.