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Dean Harris: Gustine irons out fireworks insurance approvals

A little bit about a lot of things:

•  Seems like getting the necessary clearances and approvals for Gustine’s annual Fourth of July fireworks show gets more and more difficult each year, as referenced in a story in last week’s Press-Standard.

We’re happy to follow up, however, with a report from City Hall that Gustine’s insurance carrier has agreed to provide the same amount of liability coverage as in past years and will issue a conditional letter of approval, contingent on the school board approving use of the high school stadium for the event.

So it appears that the show will go on, as well it should be – pending, of course, school board approval at the June 12 meeting.

What would the Fourth of July be without fireworks to cap one of Gustine’s biggest days of the year?

Seems like getting the necessary approvals for the fireworks grows more complicated each year, but the partnership of the city, school district and chamber of commerce has allowed the tradition to continue.

•  Had the opportunity Friday to visit with valedictorians and salutatorians from this year’s graduating classes at Orestimba and Gustine.

These soon-to-be-graduates are reminders that our local high schools are turning out some quality young adults who are going to go on to good things in their lives.

I always enjoy interviewing the top students…..they tend to be driven, hard-working and focused, traits that are going to take them far.

I am a bit humbled to interview kids who are smarter than me, but come away optimistic that the generation coming up is going to fix some of our mistakes.

•  Congratulations are in order to Newman’s Ed Ford, who is about to become commander of the state Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Ford is a well-known West Side veteran whose post-retirement passion has been working with the VFW on behalf of those who served.

That he has risen through the ranks to become state leader speaks volumes about his dedication to that cause.

Ford is the first local veteran to serve as state commander.

We’re proud to have a West Sider assume that position.

We have no doubt that Ford will represent the local post well – and that he will be an effective voice and leader of the statewide organization.

•  Woke up to the sound of voices and laughter drifting through our open bedroom window Friday morning…..and had to wonder just what the heck was going on at 6 a.m. or so.

But not for long. Quickly figured out that, in the closing days of the school year, the seniors were probably up to something on campus – and that proved to be exactly the case.

Turns out they were committing their senior “prank,” which in this case involved getting together for an early breakfast of donuts and pop-tarts, and then parking their decorated “senior” vehicles around campus.

From the sounds, it was clear that they were just having a good time…..didn’t hear anything to indicate something malicious or destructive was afoot, so I didn’t lose too much sleep over the commotion.

OHS Learning Director Theresa Lerma Wren shed some light on the situation at the senior award program that night, saying the class had actually run some prank ideas by administration to see what would fly…..now is that doing things the right way, or what?

Administrators properly nixed some ideas…..such as putting the campus supervisor’s cart on top of the gym (okay, that would have been funny, but wrong).

They came up with one that let everybody have a little fun, with no harm done.


•  Another job well done by veterans Monday at Hills Ferry Cemetery.

While the annual Memorial Day program at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery draws more people and attention, I have always been somewhat partial to the local observance and its more intimate setting.

Both programs, of course, pay tribute to the sacrifices of those who laid down their lives in defense of freedom and honor the memory of all departed comrades who served their nation.