Monthly news & updates

February 1, 2024

A Message from the President

Dear Friends, Supporters and Members,

For such a short month, February certainly is wall-to-wall with notable events! To recognize but a few, we must acknowledge Black History Month and our very loyal partners, the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Cassandra Little and her team are creating magic for the entire downtown community and beyond – if you have not seen the work that is being done there, please do a little research. Also, I know you have read about – and hopefully visited - our neighbors to the east of the Kearney Mansion, the African American Farmers of California demonstration site. We are grateful for their willingness to open their land to our Ag Tour participants several times throughout the year. You don’t have to wait – they are more than happy to share their bounty any time.

In the animal realm, February is recognized as “National Bird-Feeding Month,” “National Pet Dental Health Month,” and “Spay/Neuter Awareness Month.” Important causes all. In addition to being “International Friendship Month,” we have some tasty food-related commemorations: “Barley Month,” “Canned Food Month,” “Celebration of Chocolate Month,” “Great American Pies Month,” “National Cherry Month,” “National Grapefruit Month,” “National Hot Breakfast Month,” “National Macadamia Nut Month,” “National Snack Food Month,” “Potato Lover’s Month,” and “Sweet Potato Month.”

“International Embroidery Month” shares the spotlight with “National Scottish Culture Month." There are multiple health and safety-related remembrances, “Safer Internet Day,” (that is one for us ALL to pay attention to!) – and even “No One Eats Alone Day.” I cannot list them all.

Also this month, we are thrilled to be officially cutting the ribbon on our most expansive Gallery exhibit yet on "Lunar New Year," February 10th – much more information below. Members, your invitations have already been mailed. This is one you do not want to miss.

Then, the sweetness of “St. Valentine’s Day” is quickly followed by the condensed version of “Presidents’ Day.,” since for many businesses, the birthdays of Lincoln and Washington have been combined into a convenient three-day weekend as opposed to being honored on the actual dates these two acknowledged leaders were born.

This has my attention, as it should have yours, in what is likely to be one of the most contentious and even undignified election years in our collective memories. I would much rather concentrate on a different subject, however, as we are destined to be inundated with a proverbial barrage of partial, as opposed to impartial, information, perhaps it would help to utilize some of the tenets we now employ as a basis for teaching history in a world where the lines are always, so it seems, moving, at the national, state and local levels.  

Over the past several years, the Fresno County Historical Society has provided to both students and educators alike, pathways to follow in ensuring a 360-degree perspective in relation to what is written, asserted verbally, and is obtainable in this story-rich world we now revolve around – the internet.

Fact and fiction so readily blur – no doubt, this is not a new issue. What has changed is the sheer volume of what one must weed through to try and ascertain even simple truths.

Just a few pointers to help with navigation applying historical principles:

  • Who writes history, with what motivation or agenda do they have in mind, and do they have a predetermined bias?
  • How accurate can a historian ever hope to be, analyzing past events from the vantage points?
  • Does the historian's own perspective contribute to an "agenda" that the historian's work could potentially be playing into, unconsciously or consciously?
  •  The types of sources, both primary and secondary, the historian chooses to utilize makes a difference on how they discern the event. Did these sources contribute to a biased opinion of the event?
  • Does the selection of sources and the decision to exclude certain sources prejudice the outcome of the work in certain ways?
  • History presents basic facts (dates, events, etc.) that are known, the task of the historian is to interpret those facts as an interpretation that is subjective. It is important therefore for historians to do their due diligence and research all sides and facets of an event to determine as accurately as possible.
  • Though the outcome may complicate or change your view of things, determining the true historiography of the event will give you a greater appreciation for the many factors that contribute to the interpretation of an historical event, including factors of bias and prejudice. This appreciation will make you a more careful and thoughtful reader and writer of any subject, not just history.
  •  Students should learn history by assessing multiple sources including textbooks, primary sources, and lectures. These components are essential to giving students a view of historical events from multiple perspectives to give a clearer understanding of the events. One perspective alone cannot give a truthful account of a historical event.
  • If we expect to learn the truth, or at least the closest truth we can, we have to be able to look at the event from different viewpoints to eliminate bias. By using multiple methods to teach history, we can not only give students the ability to assess these multiple perspectives, but we are giving them multiple ways to learn the information and thus help retention.
  • Utilizing multiple primary and secondary sources is the best way to flesh out a truer interpretation of history

Certainly, there is much more to fleshing out the study of history, but it seems to me, many of these concepts can be applied to making informed decisions during our upcoming election cycles. That, too, is for you to determine. 

In the end, maybe we should all take up the Japanese traditional celebration of Setsubun. The custom of Setsubun as we know it today began in the Muromachi period (1336–1573). Every household of the aristocracy and samurai class threw beans from their houses into the open air. The practice of bean-throwing during Setsubun originated from a legend in the 10th century, during the reign of Emperor Uda, that a monk on Mt. Kurama escaped misfortune by blinding oni with roasted beans. The Japanese word for bean, 豆, is pronounced mame, which can be written as “devil's eye” (魔目), and some believe that the pronunciation is similar to that of mametsu (魔滅), meaning “to destroy the devil, which is why people began throwing beans during Setsubun.

From the Edo period (1603–1867), the custom of throwing beans at Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and homes of ordinary people spread throughout Japan as an event or festival to drive away evil spirits during Setsubun. It was also during this period that the custom of tying roasted sardine heads to holly sprig to decorate the gates of houses during Setsubun began. This custom was intended to scare away oni with the thorns of the holly leaves and the smell of the roasted sardines.

Setsubun is now typically held on February 3rd. In its association with the Lunar New Year, Setsubun, though not the official New Year, was thought of as similar in its ritual and cultural associations of “cleansing” the previous year as the beginning of the new season of spring. Setsubun was accompanied by a number of rituals and traditions held at various levels to drive away the previous year's bad fortunes and evil spirits for the year to come. A little frightening away of some devils couldn’t hurt anyone!

Sending you all wishes for a sweet month ahead, 

Elizabeth Laval

President, Fresno County Historical Society




We look forward to welcoming our young Time Travelers back to the Kearney Mansion on February 21st. The whole event has been brought indoors, where the weather is always fine! 

Students can expect to see some old friends, like the Fresno Folklore Society, and meet some new ones, like Minnie Austin, who was one of the first women to own and operate a raisin vineyard in Fresno. We will be presenting From China To Fresno: A 150-Year Cultural Journey in the Gallery located in the Servants' Quarters and, for the first time ever, the third floor of the Mansion will be open to our Time Travelers! There, they will be able to immerse themselves in the Fruit Vale Estate. The exhibit includes photos of how the Estate once looked, details some of its residents, and you may even meet Mr. Burkett in the Kearney Vineyard Cash Store.

Speaking of stores, one of the stops along the way will be in our gift shop, so make sure your Time Traveler has a little something in their pocketbook!

Registration is open, but hurry, space is limited.

Click Here and Register Today!

Fresno County Historical Society Kicks Off an Exciting 2024 Fields of Fresno Ag Tour Season

By: Ramon Castanos

The season is upon us for visitors far and wide to get up close and personal with the bounty of Fresno County!

The Fresno County Historical Society is gearing up for its Fields of Fresno Ag Tour series, which kicks off February 24th, 2024, with a guided trek of the world-renown Blossom Trail as orchards explode with white, pink and rosy petals.

Five, half-day excursions in Fresno County are planned for this season’s tours. Tickets are $95 per-person and $85 for FCHS members. Every adventure highlights a different part of Fresno County’s rich agricultural industry.

Each tour starts and ends at the historic Kearney Mansion Museum & Gallery. Here, guests learn about

M. Theo Kearney and his Fruit Vale Estate; the foundation of which left a legacy that ripples through the business of agriculture even today.

Following a light continental breakfast and coffee, guests board a spacious motor coach, and as they travel to three agriculture sites for curated tours, they enjoy lively rounds of Ag Trivia complete with prizes. Lunch and tasting at a local winery or brewery concludes the day before returning to Kearney Mansion.

Over the past three years, hundreds of guests have come to the Valley specifically to learn about Fresno’s rich farm heritage on a Fields of Fresno Ag Tour.

Fresno County Historical Society President, Elizabeth Laval stated, “People come from not only across our Central Valley, but from around the world, to learn about the history and economic impact of the agriculture business and how it sustains the Valley.”

Visitors take part in a unique and informative experience drawn from Fresno’s farming history.

There was a point in time when Fresno was known more for what was under the soil than what came out of it. Many things occurred before the country could enjoy the Valley’s bounty at peak ripeness.

“In 1915, Fresno County’s number one commodity was petroleum,” said Laval. “At the beginning of the 20th century, fresh fruit couldn't be shipped across the country yet because we didn't have refrigerated boxcars.”

This little-known fact is just a sample of the information guests can learn on the Fresno County Historical Society’s Ag Tours.

Even lifelong residents find themselves walking away from the tour with a newfound appreciation of their home.

“To be able to see, hear, and touch our local history is amazing,” said Karen Duran. “Not only did we get a special look at Kearney Mansion and agriculture in our community, but being able to share the day with others who love our history made it even more special.”

According to Laval, guests will get an in-the-field experience and hear from experts, farmers and industry insiders through out the day. The tours also highlight the diversity of growers that create the Valley’s agricultural tapestry, for example Hmong farmers who tend traditional crops, as well as the African American Farmers of California’s demonstration farming site located on property behind Kearney Mansion where they cultivate seasonal crops including okra, collard greens and more.

“We are excited to educate both tourists and local residents about why agriculture is so important,” said Laval.

For more information or to secure tickets, the public may call 559-441-0862 or visit



BY: Cami Cipolla

Hello Friends of the Archives!

Most often, our exhibits are designed utilizing items, ephemera, images, diaries, etc. from our Archives to allow you to step back to a different time in Fresno County history. With our Chinese Cultural Journey in full swing, we are beginning the curating process of our next exhibit opening in July, Leo Politi, Artist of the Angels. Politi, an author/illustrator born in Fresno in 1908, grew to be a true innovator in children's literature. Rather than setting his stories in a generic landscape, a city, a town, or a farm, many of Politi’s books detail individual cultures. During an era in which children’s books were not considered culturally diverse, Politi was focusing his work on children of all ethnicities. He was also an advocate for historic preservation, specifically the beautiful old neighborhood of Bunker Hill in Los Angeles. Though Politi lived most of his life in LA and many of his stories stem from the neighborhoods of Olvera Street, Chinatown, Little Tokyo, and Bunker Hill, Politi always held a special place in his heart for his hometown of Fresno. For this exhibit, his tale is not being told with items from our Archives. Rather, his colorful story will come to life through the materials collected by his daughter Suzanne, son Paul, friend and biographer Ann Stalcup, and our very own FCHS documentary team.

Let’s be honest, during the pandemic, many of us had “Covid projects.” For some it was perhaps a home renovation project, for others maybe a garden project. But for Suzanne Politi Bischof, her time was well spent collecting and digitizing photos, artwork, books, letters, awards… anything to do with her family and her father’s artistry. Suzanne digitized and cataloged thousands of items. She sorted through photos, boxes of drawings, newspaper clippings, systematically archiving each treasure. Her project enabled our FCHS documentary team to walk through Leo’s life, to see his passion for cultural diversity and historic preservation through his eyes. Truthfully, that is how many stories are told and how history is best formed and understood.

Though the process may seem daunting, the struggle is real for me in my own quest to digitize my family history, and it definitely will take time. It is well worth the effort to keep our stories alive for future generations to learn about our lives and what was happening in the world around us. Our photos and experiences have rich personal meaning to us. They are unique and if lost, may be irreplaceable. Here are some tips to help you, and me, get started:

Locate where you have digital photos, hard copies, papers, other ephemera

  • Identify all your digital photos on cameras, computers, and removable media such as memory cards. Collect any hardcopies you wish to digitize.
  • Include photos you have on the Web.

Decide which items are most important

  • Pick the images/ephemera you feel are especially important.
  • If there are multiple versions of a valued item, save the one with the highest quality.

Organize the selected items

  • Give individual items descriptive file names.
  • Tag photos with names of people and descriptive subjects.
  • Create a directory/folder structure on your computer to put the items you picked.
  • Write a brief description of the directory structure and these items.

Make copies and store them in different places

  • Make at least two copies of your items - more copies are better.
  • One copy can be on your computer or laptop; put other copies on separate media such as DVDs, CDs, portable hard drives, thumb drives, upload to Internet storage.
  • House copies in different locations that are as physically far apart as practical. If disaster strikes one location, your photographs in the other place should be safe.
  • Put a copy of the item inventory with your important papers in a secure location.
  • Check your items at least once a year to make sure you can read them.
  • Create new media copies every five years or when necessary to avoid data loss.

Don’t forget to continually add new memories to your Archive!

Though I am immersed each day in the realms of those who lived long before me, telling their stories or researching their cultures, learning from their images, their papers, and their items, I am constantly telling myself to document and collect the stories that are happening now, so that in 150 years, someone like me can share the stories of the past and hopefully learn something. In the spirit of this resolution of sorts and through the inspiration provided by Suzanne Politi Bischof and her extraordinary efforts to preserve her family’s legacy, we at the FCHS are currently writing grants to launch a Community Oral History Project that will allow us to assist our locals in sharing and saving their stories. This project will be a huge undertaking and an amazing act of preservation for our region so keep your fingers crossed!

Cheers friends! Happy Archiving!

Quick note, it is Black History Month and there are TONS of educational and inspiring events happening all over the Valley that you can participate in. Here are just a few…

Fresno City College - Empowering Black Culture – February 2024 (weekly events)

Cultivating Our Legacy: Celebrating Black Farmers - Screening of Rhythms of the Land

Planet Asia + Black History Month BBQ Cook-Off

ArtHop at CMAC - Showcasing the remarkable media created by, for, and from the Black community in the Central Valley.

Fresno State (multiple events)

African American Museum Annual Trailblazers 2024

Allensworth Black History Month Event 


The Fresno City Railway Company

By: Joshua Villanueva

By 1874, the County Seat for Fresno was moved from Millerton to Fresno Station. Upon incorporation in 1885, the City of Fresno began exploring transportation options as the population was approaching 10,000 people. In 1889, the Fresno Street Railroad started operating horse drawn streetcars along H, K, Mariposa, and Tulare streets.

Electricity was provided by the San Joaquin Power Company, a utility formed in 1895 to provide the fledgling town of Fresno with power and water. To do this, they turned to the massive San Joaquin River and decided to dam it, forming the basis for what Californians now know as the "Big Creek Hydroelectric Project." Under planner John S. Eastwood, the massive dam endeavor formed plenty of hydroelectric reservoirs from the Central Sierra Nevada that brought water down 6,200 feet to the Valley floor. The operation was originally handled by the San Joaquin Power Company, but in 1902, the project changed hands and was then funded by three Los Angeles investors under the San Joaquin Light and Power Corporation: A.C. Balch, W.G. Kerckhoff, and Henry Edward Huntington.

Prior to the turn of the 20th Century, two more streetcar companies initiated operations in Fresno. The Fresno City, Belmont, and Yosemite Railroad began building northward extensions to their lines, whereas the Fresno Railroad constructed a line extension to the southern city limits as well as to the County Fairgrounds, east of downtown on Ventura Avenue. This would later become California State Route 180. It was in 1901 that all three streetcar entities consolidated into one company - the Fresno City Railway Company. One of the leading influences was none other than Henry E. Huntington of the Pacific Electric Railway Company.

The Fresno City Railway Company began converting all its existing lines to 61-pound rails in anticipation of conversion from its horse-drawn cars to electric streetcars. Two years after its inception, the Fresno City Railway Company was renamed the Fresno Traction Company. In that same year, the San Joaquin Light and Power Company was founded to provide electricity to the Fresno Traction Company. The Fresno Traction Company was then authorized to build 196 miles of streetcar lines which would connect as far north as Wawona in Yosemite National Park, as far east as Trimmer Springs, and as far south as Selma, but this was truncated to just 41 miles of street-track within the city limits due, in part, to the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire. One of the first expansions by the Fresno Traction Company was along what is now the median of Huntington Boulevard.

In 1909, the Fresno Street underpass was completed, linking streetcar service west of the Southern Pacific Freight Line. The following year, the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP) purchased a controlling interest in the Fresno Traction Company and began converting the lines to 75-pound rails. SP also began running freight trains along Huntington Boulevard as Fresno was - and still is - the center of the San Joaquin Valley's produce industry.

The Roeding Park streetcar line was completed by 1912, expanding northward towards the San Joaquin River. This began with the notable Wishon Avenue underpass being built by 1914. The following year, a new branch line opened to the SP-owned Fresno Beach on the shores of the San Joaquin River which is the modern site of "Scout Island.”

The Fresno Interurban Railway was founded with the intention of building an electric streetcar line to Clovis in 1914. A line was eventually constructed from Fulton Street in downtown northward towards Fresno State, then located at the current Fresno City College campus, though the system was never completed. Fresno Interurban Railway declared bankruptcy only four years after its inception, and was almost immediately bought out by Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, or "ATSF," for a spur freight line in 1922.

Streetcar service continued until 1939, when approximately 42 miles of rail service line coursed throughout the City. The Fresno Traction Company didn't dissolve like Fresno Interurban Railway did, but rather, it converted its electric rail lines to bus service. They even took on the new name of Fresno City Lines. In 1961, the City of Fresno took controlling interest in its bus services and the Fresno City Lines became the Fresno Municipal Bus Service. The name was again changed to Fresno Transit in 1969, and once more to its present name of Fresno Area Express in


One of the major sections of the Fresno Traction Company was on Fulton Street. Originally, U.S. Route 99 was aligned directly west of Fulton Street on Broadway, which kept the differing traffic away from each other. For the most part, U.S. 99 avoided most of the Fresno Traction Company streetcar lines, aside from the one near Roeding Park and the Belmont Traffic Circle. Much of Fulton Street was closed to vehicular traffic in 1964, making way for a pedestrian mall covering most of the right-of-way of the Fresno Traction Company line. In October 2017, Fulton Street reopened to vehicular traffic, offering a glimpse of what the streetcar line would have looked like.

There are two monuments on Huntington Boulevard at 1st Street. The first monument is to the Fresno Traction Company, erected in 1983, foliage details the purpose of the Huntington Boulevard line shuttling traffic to the Sunnyside neighborhood. The second monument at Huntington Boulevard and 1st Street details the history of Huntington Boulevard itself. A great deal of the foliage on Huntington Boulevard was planted in 1910 and the first building permit was issued in 1914.

Throughout its lifetime, under both Huntington and SP ownership, the FTC possessed exactly 92 electric passenger cars and trailers. The oldest trailers, built by the Stockton Car Company in 1888, were horsecars before being converted during years of 1902 and 1903. The first three electric cars were built by Hammond in 1896 and were formerly used by United Railroads of San Francisco. These were later followed by seven double-truck cars in 1906. Nine more were built by the American Car Company and featured a brand-new innovation in electric railways just three years later.

So what killed the Fresno Traction Company? A big conspiracy from the automotive and oil industry? A back-alley city buyout? No, dear readers, it's something far more mundane than that. By the mid-1920s, Fresno was embracing the motor car and this put the privately-run FTC at an impasse. With little support from its parent company and growing demand for private transportation, the railway began closing individual lines until, in 1939, it was sold to a small bus line that renamed the FTC into "Fresno City Lines."

According to the City of Fresno's Department of Transportation:

"The only thing of note during that period of time took place in 1946 when 'Inc.' was added to the name." The big carhouse at Tulare Street remained until it was torn down in 1966, with the land not being leased to anyone as it was still technically SP property. Street tracks in the town were torn up or paved over, even the Fresno Avenue Subway, and it seemed as if only the old ash trees would remember the streetcars.



In 2019, the Fresno County Historical Society opened a two-room-Gallery on the first floor of the Servants' Quarters at the Kearney Mansion Museum. The space presents exhibitions that tell the story of our region through photographs and objects housed in the Society's Archives and on loan from partner organizations throughout Fresno County.

This Gallery has provided a way for the Society to bring items out of the Archive and present them to the public in installations that change throughout the year.

Since that time, we have been able to present sponsored exhibits on our First Mayors, Fashion, Early Medicine, Agriculture, a Sikh Youth Oral History project and the history of the Gottschalks Department Store.

Our current exhibition, in partnership with the Chinese American Museum Project, is From China to Fresno: A 150-Year Cultural Journey, which presents artifacts, fabrics, artwork, and photographs that tell the story of the early Chinese settlers in Fresno County, the community that they built in the Valley and the people who carry on their traditions today.

The Gallery is included as part of the Kearney Mansion Museum Tour on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Due to popular demand, there are now Gallery Only Tours available by appointment through the FCHS website at One-hourlong appointments can be booked Tuesdays through Sundays at 10am and 11am. During your visit, a knowledgeable tour guide will walk you through the Gallery and share the stories behind each of the artifacts, photographs, and objects on view. The exhibit is expected to run for at least four months.



Cursive writing was so yesterday in California,

but in 2024 it’s back in class

Originally published in The Mercury News, January 1, 2024

Sierra Rivera and her older sister, Dahlia, were thrilled at the idea of baking up a batch of their grandmother’s pumpkin cookies last month for Thanksgiving, but when their dad gave them the handwritten recipe, they froze.

Letters of each word gracefully flowed from one to the next in a style familiar to those of a certain age. But to the Rivera sisters, it might as well have been Latin.

“I didn’t know how to read it,” said Sierra, 8, a third-grader at Dublin Elementary School. “I thought it was like a different language.”

The girls’ father, Steve Wynn, translated Grandma’s cursive handwriting into more familiar block letters for them, and before long they all had bellies full of the warm, tasty treats. But it was stories like theirs that led lawmakers this year to conclude that learning cursive still has value – even in the iPhone age.

Gov. Gavin Newsom this fall signed a bill, Assembly Bill 446, by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, a Fullerton Democrat and former schoolteacher, requiring cursive instruction in elementary grades starting this year.

Cursive began fading from classrooms after California and 40 other states adopted the 2010 Common Core State Standards for English and math, which didn’t include the out-of-fashion script. But the American Handwriting Analysis Foundation said several states have been adding it back, with more than 26 requiring some cursive instruction.

California kept cursive in its state standards for third and fourth grades, but it wasn’t enforced, Quirk-Silva said, leaving it up to the discretion of districts and often individual teachers. Quirk-Silva told lawmakers based on her own surveying of districts around the state that about half of California’s students are now taught cursive.

“Why in this age of technology should we even be talking about cursive?” Quirk-Silva asked Assembly members as she pitched her bill. “As a teacher for 30 years, there’s a lot of research that shows that cursive handwriting enhances a child’s brain development, including memorization, and improves fine motor skills.”

Many historical documents, famous diaries and letters and family histories are penned in cursive, Quirk-Silva said.

“Many of our private schools teach cursive writing,” Quirk-Silva said. “I want the balance, that all of our students can access historical information.”

Around the Bay Area, some districts said they’re still teaching cursive, including Palo Alto Unified and Menlo Park City School District, both upscale districts in the heart of Silicon Valley.

“Cursive is a highlight for many third-graders,” said Dana Russell, a third-grade teacher at Menlo Park City School District. “It’s amazing to see how seriously they take learning cursive and fun to feel their excitement.”

For one assignment, she asked them to write in cursive what they like about it, and got responses like, “Because it looks fancy and better than printing.”

But many other schools said they no longer teacher cursive consistently districtwide, including San Jose Unified, Santa Clara Unified, Milpitas Unified, Oakland Unified, Hayward Unified, San Ramon Valley Unified, Dublin Unified and Sunnyvale School District.

AB 446 wasn’t Quirk-Silva’s first attempt to enforce a cursive requirement, an idea she said she was encouraged to pursue by former Gov. Jerry Brown. But a similar bill she carried died in committee in 2018.

This time around, AB 446 met with little resistance.

That doesn’t necessarily mean everyone’s thrilled. Some school officials noted privately that it’s unusual for such a mandate to take effect in the middle of the school year, and that there’s been no guidance from the state Department of Education, leaving districts little time and no road map to comply.

“This feels like a pathetic pander to Baby Boomers more than a serious and necessary reform to education policy,” a contributor wrote in a Reddit thread on the new bill.

Laura Gan, a Dublin Unified substitute, said she’s observed students losing fine motor skills, and teaches cursive to help develop them. When she made cursive part of her instruction in an eighth-grade class, one parent complained, noting it’s not part of that grade’s curriculum.

Gan said that for many younger teachers, adding cursive to the curriculum might be more challenging, as they may not have taught it before or even learned it themselves.

“I think there’s a generation of teachers that themselves were not taught cursive,” Gan said.

But she and others said adding cursive to the curriculum won’t necessarily come at the expense of teaching other important skills.

“Teachers are successfully wrapping cursive into the curriculum,” Gan said, “and it’s not taking away instruction.”

Carlee Brazil, a fourth-grader at Frederiksen Elementary School in Dublin, said she’s glad her teacher taught her to write cursive, which she said helped make her handwriting larger and more legible.

“I love it,” said Carlee, 9. “Now I can write my name in cursive with my eyes shut, I call it my signature. It also helped me to write quicker and it improved my writing.”

The new law, which takes effect in January and adds cursive to the definition of handwriting in the course of study for grades 1 through 6, means Sierra will now be taught the skill in coming years. But her 13-year-old big sister may have to learn it on her own – there’s no provision for schools to add cursive instruction for older kids who missed out.

Wynn said his older daughter Dahlia found it would be a useful skill when she recently was asked to sign a student contract to participate in a drama program and realized she hadn’t developed a signature.

“She felt left out,” Wynn recalled. “That prompted her to think, I want to learn this.”


Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Ms. Geena Davis

Academy Award winner Geena Davis is one of Hollywood’s most respected actors, appearing in several roles that became cultural landmarks. Davis received her first Academy Award, for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as the offbeat dog trainer Muriel Pritchett in Lawrence Kasdan’s The Accidental Tourist. She was again nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe for her performance in Ridley Scott’s Thelma & Louise. 

Few have achieved such remarkable success in as many different fields as Davis has, she is not only an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor, but a world-class athlete (at one time the nation’s 13th-ranked archer), and the author of a new memoir, “Dying of Politeness”. She is also recognized for her tireless advocacy of women and girls nearly as much as for her acting accomplishments. You will not want to miss Geena’s powerful presentation “Thelma and Louise, 20 Years Later.”  

Get your tickets now at