Pinakbet — News Across the Country
On December 8, the Merced Sun Star daily newspaper honored retired Merced CA police officer Bob Luna, 59, with a front-page story under its weekly “Merced Matters” feature. For more than 15 years he has volunteered his time to help lead the Explorer Scouts program. The program teaches young people everything from crime-scene investigation and firearms safety, to self-defense, and crowd and traffic control. “Mostly, they learn things like self-discipline, responsibility, integrity and honesty; the things you really need in life,” Luna said. Born and raised in Merced County, Bob began his career as a police officer in Iowa and Nebraska before returning to his home area to join the Merced City Police Department. He worked for the department for 20 years, including a decade when he was a familiar figure in downtown Merced as he patrolled the streets on a bicycle. He retired in 2005 but soon returned to work as a reserve officer. Bob has not neglected his Filipino roots. He is currently serving his second term on the Board of Trustees of the Filipino American National Historical Society; was formerly president of the local chapter; and keeps busy making presentations on the Filipino experience in America to various civic and social organizations.
Upon his arrival to the Aloha state for a family vacation on December 23, President Obama was cheered by Hawaiian activists for his stand on immigration reform. The Filipino Coalition for Solidarity was among community groups hailing the president for his recent executive actions liberalizing immigration. Hawaii is estimated to be home for 21,000 undocumented immigrants, many of them Filipino ……..Pinoy basketball fans are wondering how 6’5’’ guard Jordan Clarkson will fare as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers. Only in his second year, he currently is riding the bench as a team mate of super-star Kobe Bryant. Born in San Antonio TX, Clarkson is believed to be the only Filipino American player in the National Basketball League ………….Did you know that Robert Lopez, co-composer of songs from the movie megahit “Frozen” was the first and only F/A to be awarded an Emmy (television), a Grammy (music), an Oscar (movies), and a Tony (Broadway)? …….California Governor Jerry Brown announced the appointment of Rob Villeza as Los Angeles Superior Court Judge in November. Villeza was raised in Los Angeles and is a proud product of public schools there. A veteran federal prosecutor, he was the long time U.S. Attorney of the Central District in the Golden State ……Lovelyn Marquez-Prueher was named California Teacher of the Year, one of five teachers so honored. She is believed to be the first Pinay and first person born in the Philippines to win the award ……..Jose Rimon was selected as Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Institute for Population and Reproductive Health at John Hopkins University, Baltimore …….Here’s someone we all should be very proud of — Gerardo Gamboa of Las Vegas was honored as Taxicab Driver of the Year by the Taxicab, Limousine and Paratransit Association for returning $300,000 left in the back seat of his cab to its owner. I hope Gamboa received a hefty reward.
When California Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye administered the oath of office to Governor Jerry Brown on January 5, 2015 for his record-breaking fourth term of office, no one could be more proud than her mother, Bridge Generation Filipino American, Mary Gorre Cantil. Mary is a native Californian, was raised in Sacramento, and continues to reside in California’s capital city. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye is also a record-breaker in her own right. On her own swearing in ceremony on January 3, 2011 she became the only person of Filipino ancestry to ascend to the position of Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court………Congratulations to the Central Valley (CA) Chapter of the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) for electing an all-woman slate of officers. The new officers are Luna Jamero, president, Barbara Nambatac Geyer, vice-president, Joyce Tibon Balandra, secretary, and Carol Labuga Holcomb, treasurer …………Woodjammin’ artist Don Velez of Rohnert Park reminded me that when he was a boy in mid-1900s Stockton, he lived on Sutter Street in a half block area containing the homes of six Filipino families. In addition to the Velez’s, the Laniohan, Samporna, Inosanto, Carido and Catanio families were close neighbors who immigrated to America during the 1920s-30s. One of his boyhood neighbors, Danny Inosanto, was called “Boom Boom” by his parents — perhaps a precursor to Danny’s later fame as a martial arts guru and Hollywood performer in action movies. Another of Don’s neighbors, Gloria Carido Nomura, went on to serve several terms on the Stockton City Council ………..I noticed on FaceBook that Walter Yuponco formerly of San Francisco but now a long-time Southern California denizen is having the time of his life – partying at the beach, at a mountain lake, even yoga-ing — while looking not a day over 39. Not bad for a guy in the vicinity of 80 years of age …………… Community activist Connie Pasquil of the picturesque Delta town of Walnut Grove is proud about the accomplishments of yet another of her children. In December Danny Pasquil was elected as National Co-Chair of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders ………Sad to report the passing of Moreno Balantac of Rancho Cordova CA died on October 28 from complications of a heart attack. Ironically, the heart attack came soon after he regained consciousness from a prolonged coma. Along with his late wife Deanna, Moreno was well known for his participation in numerous Filipino American community organizations in Stockton and Sacramento.