by: Megan Rupe
Bernia Walker, or Miss Walker as she prefers, knew Fresno was going to be her city as soon as she got here in 2002.
“If I was in charge,” Walker said, “Anybody that didn’t like Fresno, they would have to leave.”
But, there was one thing she despised, driving along the 99 into Southwest Fresno.
“It says ‘evil,’ in big large lettering.”
Miss Walker hated that sight so much, she decided to take things into her own hands.
“It was not the welcome sign, that Fresnans wanted to have, on 99,” Fresno Police Lt. David Ramsey said.
Miss Walker says she called the city, then, brought it up to Lt. Ramsey, at a “Bringing Broken Neighborhoods Back to Life” meeting.
“He said, OK Miss Walker, we’re going to take care of it,” Walker said.
“We didn’t know,” Ramsey said. “Did it belong to the city, did it belong to freeway, did it belong to Caltrans.”
Homeless Task Force Officer Joel Sanchez discovered San Joaquin Valley Railroad owned the line, and the company wanted to help. Even moving train schedules.
“If you didn’t know when a train was coming, the painting crew could be stuck in a dangerous spot,” Ramsey said.
Wednesday morning, “evil” no more.
Miss Walker saying there’s more clean-up to be done in the city, but, she’s thankful for the message this effort sends.
“All of Fresno is supposed to be our home, everybody’s supposed to be our neighbor,” Walker said. “And I still try to do my part, and I’ll keep trying to do it.”