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Honoring Barbara Bigelow

Rep. George P. Radanovich

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Madam Speaker, I rise today to commend and congratulate Barbara Bigelow upon being named as a 2010 Common Threads honoree. Mrs. Bigelow will be honored by California State University, Fresno at the 2010 Common Threads Award luncheon to be held on Friday, April 16, 2010.

Mrs. Barbara Bigelow was born and raised in southern California and attended the University of Southern California. She had little interest in agriculture until she met and married Frank, who is a life long resident of Madera County and part of a longtime agriculture family. Mrs. Bigelow assisted in the family business by helping raise, exhibit and sell champion Shorthorn Cattle for beef and breeding. Mr. and Mrs. Bigelow also raise and exhibit champion Columbia Sheep.

Off of the farm, Mrs. Bigelow is very active in the community. In 1985 she was elected to the then-Spring Valley School District Board of Trustees, and continues to serve on the now-Chawanakee Unified School District as a trustee. Her service on the board was instrumental in the building of Minarets High School in O'Neals. Mrs. Bigelow also served as the board President.

Outside of the school district, Mrs. Bigelow is active in the local 4-H program and numerous agriculture related groups. Mrs. Bigelow became involved with Spring Valley school while her children attended there. She was a member of the parent club, school site council and was involved with the community-centered centennial event. Mrs. Bigelow helped establish the Spring Valley Ag Boosters in 1994, after becoming involved with the Spring Valley 4-H club as a community leader and a sheep leader. Since 1994, Mrs. Bigelow and a committee of local supporters have sponsored a fundraiser at the ``Silkwood-Mattes-Bigelow Big Blue Barn'' to raise money for the Spring Valley Ag Boosters.

Mrs. Bigelow is also very active and supportive of the Sierra High School Future Farmers of America program. She has served on the Ag Advisory Committee and served as the Site Selection Committee Chair for Minarets High School. Between 1992 and 1994, Mrs. Bigelow was the director of the Madera County 4-H Summer Camp Program at Jack Ass Rock Campground. She is also a twenty year member, and past Chairwoman, of the Madera County Republican Central Committee.

Mrs. Bigelow is a supporter of Children's Hospital of Central California, California State University, Fresno's Red Wave, Cal Poly's Western Bonanza, the California State Fair, Sierra Winter Classic and California Junior Livestock Association. For her community involvement, Mrs. Bigelow was named the State of California ``Woman of the Year'' in 2005 by Assemblyman Dave Cogdill and received the ``Golden Apple Award'' for 1999-2000 by the Association of California School Administrators.

Madam Speaker, I rise today to commend and congratulate Barbara Bigelow upon her achievements. I invite my colleagues to join me in wishing Mrs. Bigelow many years of continued success.