Welcome to GV Wire’s weekly roundup of news that will bring a smile to your face. We’re here to enlighten, inform, and amuse. If you have good news to share, contact us at info@gvwire.com or jmurray@gvwire.com.

UC Merced Student Makes Big Dino Discovery

A UC Merced student who says he’s been a fan of dinosaurs for as long as he can remember made some history himself, discovering a triceratops skull at a dig in North Dakota’s Badlands.

 


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Portrait of GV Wire's editor/reporter Jody Murrray

Jody Murray

Harrison Duran is a fifth-year biology student who took a History of Dinosaurs class his first year on campus. He and Michael Kjelland, a North Dakota biology professor he met at a conference, have formed a nonprofit team called Fossil Excavators.

The two led a dig in June at North Dakota’s Hell Creek Formation, an area rich in prehistoric fossils. It was there that they found it — a partial skull of a 65 million-year-old triceratops. They named it Alice, after the woman who owns the land.

“I can’t quite express my excitement in that moment when we uncovered the skull,” Duran told UC Merced’s Elizabeth Arakelian. “I’ve been obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a kid, so it was a pretty big deal.”

It was a meticulous, weeklong process to excavate and preserve Alice. Finally, she was loaded carefully onto a truck and taken to a secret location — stealing dino bones is a legitimate concern, Duran said — and eventually taken to Kjelland’s lab.

What does the future hold for Alice? That’s up to Fossil Excavators, but Duran hopes to display a cast of the skull at UC Merced. “It’s such a rare opportunity to showcase something like this,” he said, “and I’d like to share it with the campus community.”

A Beer Brewing Class? Ale Drink to That

Here’s a toast to Brew U — a series of classes in the art and business of making beer, offered through Fresno State’s Continuing and Global Education program.

Brew U recently wrapped up its first class — Brewing Basics — taught by Brad Edmunds, co-owner of Zone 9 brewery and taproom in Clovis. The six-week class dived into the ABCs of the brewing process and, we are told, “provides the knowledge base required to brew a high-quality, all-grain craft beer.”

The Downtown Fresno Partnership and Central Valley Brewers Guild are backing Brew U, which will expand by offering an Advanced Brewing class in September and a Taproom Operations and Marketing class in November.

All classes are filled (no surprise here), but people can jump onto a waiting list for future courses.  For more information about Brew U, contact Edmunds; Daniel Bernard, executive director of Fresno State Continuing & Global Education; or Annette Bencomo, executive director of the Central Valley Brewers Guild.

Injured Hiker’s Dogs Ride in Style

When reports came July 23 about an injured hiker southeast of Mammoth Lakes, two law enforcement helicopter crews responded.

A California Highway Patrol team in an H40 copter treated the hiker for a minor ankle injury. The hiker was near Laurel Lake, a Sierra landmark about 10,000 feet above sea level.

Eagle One helicopter

Tactical Flight Officer Tim Jacobsen with one of his two furry passengers in Fresno County Sheriff’s Office’s Eagle One helicopter. (Fresno County Sheriff’s Office)

When it came time to fly the hiker out of the area, it became clear there wasn’t enough room in the H40 for the man and his two big, fluffy dogs. So the canines hitched a ride with Tactical Flight Officer Tim Jacobsen in the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office’s Eagle One helicopter. From the pictures, it’s clear all three enjoyed the company.

A New Place to Nurture New Businesses

The Fresno area has one more place where entrepreneurs and small-business owners can kickstart their dreams. Valley Community Small Business Development Center held a ribbon cutting and open house July 25.

The development center will offer training, consultations, and referrals to owners of existing businesses and to folks working to get their dreams off the ground. People can learn how to develop a business plan, craft a social media strategy, or set up bookkeeping and accounting.

It builds on the services of product or business incubators such as The Pi Shop and the Valley Small Business Development Corporation.

The center is backed by the federal Small Business Administration and located on the Herndon Campus of Clovis Community College. The address is 390 W. Fir Ave., Building B, Suite 303, and the phone number is (559) 324-603.

Will a California Elephant Find His Mojo in Atlanta?

An African elephant that spent a decade at San Diego Zoo Safari Park has made a cross-country journey to Zoo Atlanta.

The Union-Tribune reported that 30-year-old Msholo arrived last week at Zambezi Elephant Center. Msholo and two female African elephants, Kelly and Tara, will be the main attractions at Zoo Atlanta’s new African Savanna habitat, which opens Aug. 8.

Msholo, an African elephant at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, has moved across the country to Zoo Atlanta. (San Diego Zoo Global)

Msholo was brought to the U.S. from Swaziland in 2003. He arrived in San Diego in 2009 with the hope he would breed with female elephants. But he never fathered any offspring in California.

Zookeepers say they’re hopeful new terrain and new companions in Georgia will increase Msholo’s chances of breeding and contributing to the survival of the species.

Welcome to Our TED Talk: Two Generations of Beatboxing

When she was was young, Nicole Paris’ dad, Ed Cage, would beatbox her to sleep at night. Now father and daughter, a pair of New Yorkers, do multigenerational beatbox battles while giving audiences a hip-hop history lesson. Oh … they’re also quite good. Enjoy the show.

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