Jeff Jardine

CHP commissioner to speak at fallen officers memorial Wednesday

Retired sheriff’s Deputy Randy Francis plays the bagpipes at the Stanislaus County Peace Officers Association Memorial Service in 2013 at Lakewood Memorial Park to honor fallen officers killed in the line of duty.
Retired sheriff’s Deputy Randy Francis plays the bagpipes at the Stanislaus County Peace Officers Association Memorial Service in 2013 at Lakewood Memorial Park to honor fallen officers killed in the line of duty. Modesto Bee file

From the emails and voice mails:

FALLEN OFFICERS MEMORIAL – With law enforcement agencies around the state remembering fallen peace officers this week, the Stanislaus County Peace Officers Association will have its annual rite at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Lakewood Memorial Park in Hughson.

Joseph A. Farrow, commissioner of the California Highway Patrol, will be the featured speaker. Farrow spent 35 years with the CHP before Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger picked him to head the agency in 2008. He is the first Japanese-American to serve as CHP commissioner.

Fourteen peace officers have died in the line of duty in Stanislaus County, beginning with Turlock policeman Lavon B. New in 1935.

BROTHERS IN ARMS – I’ve written numerous times about Honor Flight, an organization that takes World War II veterans back to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II Memorial on the Capitol Mall.

When Jim Bowin of Sonora and his brother, Dave Bowin Jr. of Atascadero, made the trip last month, it was the second time brothers – at least one of whom lives in Tuolumne County – have gone together. In April 2014, retired Columbia College instructor McKinley Frost of Jamestown and his brother, Richard Frost, made the trip together.

These trips can be touching moments to some of the veterans, and the Bowins were no different.

“We went to the Vietnam Memorial, and we all had on our caps and jackets,” Jim Bowin said, his voice choking as we spoke Monday via phone. “People were saying to us, ‘Thank you for your service. And when we landed in Fresno, they managed to have quite a reception for us. It was very emotional.’”

Both Bowins served in the Navy. Jim Bowin had orders to report to the carrier USS Antietam, but then the war ended and his orders were rescinded.

THE OBLIGATORY REMINDER – Cinco de Mayo, which many folks celebrated here on Dos and Tres de Mayo, does NOT – I repeat – NOT celebrate Mexican Independence Day.

Mexican Independence Day is Sept. 16, recognizing Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain on Sept. 16, 1810. It is far more important to Mexicans than Cinco de Mayo, which commemorates Mexican forces who, on May 5, 1862, defeated the French army as it tried to seize the town of Puebla de Los Angeles in central Mexico.

It took six more years before the French pulled out to go bother someone else.

FACE IN THE CROWD – Last week, I wrote about a Ballico woman’s mission to discover the identity of a young sailor in a photo that accompanied a frame she bought in Modesto about a year ago.

Stephanie Telles hopes she can identify the sailor and return the photo to his kin.

“I got (two) e-mails the day the article appeared,” Telles wrote. “One thinks it could be her uncle and is forwarding a copy of the picture to a family member. The other person said it looks like an old neighbor he had back in the ’80s, (who) was an older man back then.”

The mystery remains.

SOUNDS GOOD – My April 23 column about nonprofit Modesto Sound’s need to find new digs brought a call and email from David Dow, director of electronic music and recording programs at Modesto Junior College.

He wanted to point out that MJC’s program offers a similar low-cost opportunity to private recording schools and studios. Like Modesto Sound, MJC’s certifications are accepted by the Gallo Center for the Arts as well as other venues including Guitar Center, Skip’s Music and the Fat Cat Lounge.

“In fact,” Dow wrote, “the managers of these facilities serve on our employer advisory board. Many of our graduates are working at these facilities and beyond including Capitol Records. We are in the process of creating a state-recognized recording certificate. High school students are able to and do take our courses with permission from their high school principals.”

TOWN-SIZED CLASSROOM – When you live in a historic area such as the Mother Lode, educational field trips are just a few minutes away. Beginning Tuesday in Sonora, 232 fourth-graders from elementary schools in Tuolumne County will take walking tours of downtown Sonora, with members of the Tuolumne County Historical Society serving as guides.

Fourth grade is the big year for California history, and Sonora – dubbed “Queen of the Southern Mines” – played a major role in the Gold Rush era.

It’s the 15th year of the downtown walkabout, where children will learn about the significance of buildings such as the Sugg House, the Gunn House, the museum that once was the jail, St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and others.

Among the schools participating is Curtis Creek, which has plenty of history of its own (and where I began school back in the Pleistocene Epoch). The school was founded May 16, 1865, along Sullivan Creek, near where a restaurant now stands, and moved twice before settling into its existing campus in the Standard Township.

The district received $20,000 from the California Teachers Association to celebrate its sesquicentennial anniversary May 15-16 with a series of events and has created a Facebook page.

INDIANS VS. GIANTS – A week ago, we shared a video provided by Joe Barney of Modesto featuring the San Francisco Giants at Del Webb Field (now John Thurman Field) in the 1960s. Barney, who was 7 years old when the video was taken, recalled the game to be between the Giants and Modesto Reds. It featured Willie McCovey circling the bases after a long home run, Willie Mays and others. But the opponent wasn’t the minor-league Reds. The Giants and Cleveland Indians toured California to close out spring training that year, getting rained out twice in San Diego – two seasons before the Padres became a major-league club – then played in Bakersfield, Stockton and Modesto before starting the regular season. The Giants won 6-5 in 10 innings April 5, 1967.

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! – Photographer Ryan Alonzo offers “Tuolumne in Pictures,” published by the Yosemite Conservancy and available through, his own Web page, or on and other online sites.

Bee columnist Jeff Jardine can be reached at or (209) 578-2383. Follow him on Twitter @JeffJardine57.