Yosemite ranger honored for interpretation

Yosemite National Park ranger Shelton Johnson received the 2009 Freeman Tilden Award during a conference in Connecticut earlier this month. The Tilden Award is the highest award given by the National Park Service for excellence in interpretation, and he beat out six other finalists from national parks throughout the country.

Johnson earned the award by working closely with Ken Burns during the filming of the landmark documentary "The National Parks: America's Best Idea" and also appearing in the film.

Johnson has worked for the National Park Service for more than 20 years, serving in Yellowstone and Great Basin national parks and the National Mall in Washington, D.C. He received a sculpted portrait bust of Freeman Tilden and $4,000.

Never Boring Design Associates (NBDA) of Modesto scored well in the 2009 MarCom Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements among marketing and communications professionals. Winning companies range in size from individual communicators, to media conglomerates, to Fortune 500 companies. From nearly 5,000 entries, NBDA was recognized at several levels. It won two platinum awards, including one for its own promotional campaign and one for a seasonal promotional package for the Gallo Center for the Arts. It grabbed a gold award for its "The Salvation Army: In One Night" dinner invitation, and received honorable mention for its "Night at the Races" promotional materials for the American Cancer Society.

Modesto's Aerynn Dighton received a Love of Learning Award from the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Dighton became one of 50 students nationwide to receive the award, which includes $500 to help pay for post-baccalaureate studies and career development. Dighton joined Phi Kappa Phi at California State University, Stanislaus, where she is studying for a master's degree in history. Her goal is to earn a Ph.D. and become a history professor.

Marquis Cox, 18, of Modesto is now in Denver, where he'll work on his first project with the National Civilian Community Corps, an AmeriCorps program. The 2009 Enochs High School graduate will be responsible for completing a series of six- to eight-week-long service projects as part of a 10- to 12-person team.

He'll complete the first project just before Christmas, after training on teamwork, leadership development, communications, service learning and certification by the American Red Cross. Then he'll break for the holidays before rejoining his team for the next assignment.

NCCC members are between 18 and 24 years old and must complete 1,700 hours of service during the 10-month-long program. When he's finished in August, he'll receive $5,350 to help pay college tuition. Visit for more information.

Students from two criminal justice classes at California State University, Stanislaus, are visiting 10 Turlock school sites to mentor at-risk youth and help them improve their opportunities for success in school.

About 75 students in a pair of CSUS fall semester classes, Juvenile Justice and Violence Against Children, are spending time with students throughout Turlock Unified School District and encouraging them to focus on applying themselves to their education. The need is significant, because more than 50 percent of TUSD students come from families below the poverty level and 30 percent are classified as English learners.

Cal State Stanislaus students meet with the youngsters each week over a 12-week period through Dec. 11. The university mentors provide a valuable service to listen, encourage, and connect with the younger students to help them overcome obstacles that might otherwise lead to dropping out of school.

Appointments by the Stanislaus County Board of Supervisors:

Pamela Cullors to the Stanislaus County Equal Rights Commission; Kristen Jasek-Rysdahl and Anita Rodriguez to the Stanislaus Child Development Local Planning Council; and Kyle Hampton to the Economic Development Action Committee.

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