Valley news of the week -- July 4-10

July 10, 2010 

FRESNOBEE.COM

Some other stuff happened -- well, let's be honest, a lot of bad stuff happened -- last week. But there was some good news too: a young actor from the Valley won an Emmy nomination.

Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers on fresnobee.com.

Evidence lost

What happened: A judge dismissed murder charges against a defendant charged with killing two men at a 1995 party after prosecutors said authorities had inadvertently destroyed much of the evidence against them years ago.

What it means: District Attorney Elizabeth Egan declined to explain why prosecutors had failed to tell court officials to preserve the evidence after an earlier defendant was acquitted. The mistake occurred in 1998, before she took office.

What readers said:

"WOW again the DA drops the ball, they spent millions on a tattoo kid case and they destroy evidence on a double pc 187, and they cry about funding."

-- darturo4163

"Some one has really messed up on this one and they should pay with their job. What a black eye for the DA's office."

-- ontac55


Meth labs down

What happened: A new federal report showed a dramatic decline in seizures of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories -- once a raging problem in the Central Valley.

What it means: Federal officials suggested that a new law restricting purchase of medication that can be used to produce the illegal drug had driven its manufacture to Mexico.

What readers said:

"Some things are simply a matter of ease & convenience. Introducing a little inconvenience can really help decrease a problematic behavior. It's refreshing to read of a wisely crafted, effective law."

-- janbalcom


Eatery closes

What happened: The Original Coney Island, a Fresno institution that opened in 1923, has closed.

What it means: Owners of the downtown hot-dog eatery, which had survived the Great Depression, said they were done in by the Great Recession.

What readers said:

"It is so sad to see Coney Island closed, I can remember this place as a youngster. I think downtown Fresno has really lost a staple."

-- bmorton2007

"So sad to see! I always enjoyed coming down to this place, albeit it wasn't terribly often. Such good food for so cheap, people were so nice, and I just loved the sense of history and nostalgic atmosphere it created."

-- jacksonfive


Layoffs challenged

What happened: Union attorneys representing employees of the Fresno County Public Defender's office told a judge that the county's staffing cuts violated both local and federal law.

What it means: Budget cuts not only violated Constitutional rights of defendants, but also circumvented a county law requiring four of five supervisors to approve outsourcing of work, they argued. Lawyers for the county disputed the claims. The judge must rule in 90 days.

What readers said:

"A legal fight ? There is no money ... When you work for an entity that makes no money ... this is what happens ... there is nothing illegal about it."

-- dave65652002

"This is an outrage! These lawyers need to grow up. I don't want to be laid off just like the next person but this is life."

-- elguapo

"The litigation is NOT about being childish nor is it about growing up. It is centered around the Board of Supervisors' failure to realize that they must appropriately fund legally mandated services."

-- Usahqjcsin


Memorial defaced

What happened: In an apparent reaction to the manslaughter sentence given a Bay Area transit police officer who was accused of murdering a suspect, someone vandalized a police memorial in downtown Fresno.

What it means: The white paint was quickly removed, but the cleaning caused damage that will require repair.

What readers said:

"I understand people's frustration with the verdict, however, defacing a memorial for officers who have given their lives is atrocious. It's one thing to be upset and protest but to resort to this type of behavior makes me embarrassed of Americans."

-- veritasaequitas

"Hate to say this. But shouldnt there be a memorial for people unjustly shot harassed or arrested on false pretenses. There wouldnt be enough room for that monument."

-- DaveCabano1


Emmy nod

What happened: Chris Colfer, a 2008 Clovis East High School grad, was nominated for an Emmy for his role on the hit comedy show "Glee."

What it means: Colfer, 20, faces stiff competition for best supporting actor in a comedy series. But he is the first Valley actor nominated for a continuing TV role since Mike Connors, star of the 1970s private-eye show "Mannix."

What readers said:

"Yay for Chris! We are so proud of you!!!"

-- ronandruby

Catching Up is compiled by Bee managing editor Jack Robinson.

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