Page 7 - Mid Valley Times 4-15-21 E-edition
P. 7

                 Thursday, April 15, 2021
    Reedley school celebrates 130 years
  The View From Here
  She had long blonde hair. It was straight and shiny. I knew her from school and she was one of the nicest girls I’d met.
The year was (circa) 1994- 1995 and Melissa Smith was a classmate of mine. We at- tended both Washington Aca- demic Middle School, (back then it was Washington Ju- nior High) and Sanger High School together.
In the early 90s the girls hairstyles were memorable, to say the least. I remember Melissa’s hair style vividly. Half of her hair would be pulled up, held by a bright colored "scrunchie" and al- most always matched her out- fit. She’d wear those trendy acid wash jeans, her socks bunched up at the bottom.
She was always up to date with her style choices and all her looks epitomized the era. She was a beautiful girl. From what I remember she was a bit smaller in stature, but she had a big bright smile that lit up the room when she en- tered.
Sadly, Melissa lost her life in a car accident during the summer of 1996. It was on the Fourth of July when ac- cording to an old article we found [thanks to the help of my Sanger Herald coworker Sharon Mendoza] Melissa was riding in a car with four other young people when their car crashed into a tele- phone pole and caught fire. The other victims; Joe Sali- nas, 20, Felipe Yerna, 19, and Chris Lopez, 20, and Melissa all died on impact.
Fast forward 25 years. I was checking my emails on the morning of April 11 when the Fresno County Coroner released the name of a wom- an killed in a fiery car crash just one day before on April 10. Her name was Amanda Smith. (see page A1 for sto- ry).
As I scrolled through Amanda’s Facebook page, I came across a photo she’d posted back in 2016. I stopped and did a double take, the per- son in the photo was a famil- iar face. It was Melissa.
I soon learned that Aman- da and Melissa were cousins. My heart sank. Twenty five years after Melissa was tak- en, Amanda is now gone too.
The community of Sanger has rallied together for Aman- da. A huge outpouring of sup- port was shown on various so- cial media sites. Friends and family sharing memories of Amanda.
Our thoughts are with the Smith family. Both Amanda and Melissa left a huge im- pact on the community with their caring and compassion- ate ways, they wont' be for- gotten.
 Juanita Adame
Photos by Juanita Adame / Mid Valley Times
From left, students Kyle Bacon, Aiden Talavera, Julie Marceleno, and Kaily Tafoya rang the Washington Elementary School bell at exactly 1:30 p.m. on the afternoon of April 9 to celebrate the 130th anniver- sary of the ringing of the historic Reedley Elementary School bell.
Sanger youth volunteer for Jensen Avenue clean up
Photo Contributed
Several young people volunteered their time on April 10 for the annual Jensen Avenue clean up. Mid Valley Disposal also partici- pated in the event.
By Juanita Adame
Mid Valley Times
Students, faculty and historical society members gathered in front of Wash- ington Elementary School on the afternoon of April 9 to celebrate the 130th anniver- sary of the ringing of the bell.
“In a time before any type of long-distance communica- tion methods were common, or reliable, how would the start of school be signaled?” said KCUSD School Board president, Jim Mulligan. “The bell served as a remind- er for the whole town that a new weekday was underway, and that school was about to begin.”
Four current Washington students all gathered around the bell and at exactly 1:30 p.m. rang the bell three times to celebrate the anniversary.
Among those who attend- ed the ceremony were su- perintendent John Campbell, trustee Robin Tyle, Washing- ton Principal Greg Visser as well as Barbara Jimenez, the Washington Elementary School Learning Director and Jeanette McFarlane, Wash- ington RSP Teacher City of Reedley Mayor Mary Fast and Reedley Historical Soci- ety members Ken Zech and Janice Huebert.
Juanita Adame / Mid Valley Publishing
Faculty and staff as well as students posed for a photo in front of the historical bell outside of Washington Elementary School in Reedley on the afternoon of April 9.
 John Bart, late police chief honored on April 10
Photo Contributed
From left, Sanger Police Department personnel Rosario Guillen, Josh Calderon, Angela Yambupah, Jason Boust, Tom Reinhart, Tony Guerrero, Manuel Duran, Pastor Sam Estes, and Fernando Garcia attended the memorial service for late Sanger police chief John Bart on the morning of April 10.
Photo of the week
     Staff Report
A group of young people, including Sanger City Council District 1 member Esmeral- da Hurtado, joined together to clean up trash alongside Jensen Avenue on the morn- ing of April 10.
"I would like to thank Mid Valley Disposal and the City of Sanger," she said. "As well as all the volunteers who showed up."
The annual clean up event was organized by the city and the disposal service.
Volunteers were asked to preregister for the event and were required to bring their own gloves and equipment due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The group met at the Sanger Veteran's Park and began the cleanup efforts along the northeast corner of Jensen and Indianola.
Esmeralda Hurtado, Sanger Councilmember for District 1 also participated in the event along with the others.
Thisphoto ofOliviaChapaa2020ReedleyHighgraduatesittingin front of Reedley Opera House was sent in by her mother, Monica Chapa. Have a photo you'd like featured? Email juanita@midval-

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