Valley news of the week -- Dec. 5-11

December 11, 2010 

FRESNOBEE.COM

Perhaps the biggest story of last week was the controversy over prosecution of a Clovis wrestler accused of going too far in an informal match with a teammate. The bitter dispute pitted parents against each other and even created a rift among prosecutors.

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

Wrestler accused

What happened: A furious public debate erupted after The Bee reported a pending criminal case against a Buchanan High School wrestler accused of sexual battery for allegedly ramming his fingers into the anus of a teammate.

What it means: Attorneys for the accused, 17, say he was using an accepted move called the "butt drag." Complicating the criminal case was apparent disagreement in the Fresno County District Attorney's office over whether the case should be taken to trial. On Thursday, proceedings were delayed until January.

What readers said:

"This is a CUSD problem. I think the DA's office should be going after the coach(s) that are teaching this move."

-- francoranch

"Considering how many cases do NOT get prosecuted, one must wonder why the DA came to the conclusion that this one was a priority."

-- common_sense

"The thing people need to understand is when you are wrestling intense sometimes things like that happen on accident ... that's wrestling no big deal when its over get up like a man and wrestle like a man."

-- tonyaguas

"I am shocked by how many comments are on here. The drunk girls hit by the bus didn't get this much reaction so fast, so it seems to me."

-- facheezey


Official charged

What happened: Prosecutors formally charged Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle with several sex crimes and raised the number of alleged victims to two.

What it means: Valle, a rising star in the local political scene who remains in office, is accused of having sex with the women after they were incapacitated by drugs or alcohol. His attorney says Valle has evidence to prove he is innocent.

What readers said:

"Why do we allow people like Valle to continue to do the publics business and remain an active supervisor. He needs to step down for the good of the County. What a black eye. I'm sorry for the women and trust justice will be served. Resign Mr. Valle ... or at least take an extended leave until your guilt has been determined by the courts."

-- stevefsu1

"Who is the victim here?? We don't know until all of the evidence is presented. I know that false allegations have ruined careers before. If you are an American and believe in the constitution then you should not prematurely judge."

-- politicalzombies


City in trouble

What happened: Chowchilla city officials are considering disincorporation as a last-ditch response to a financial disaster.

What it means: The city, overburdened by debt, has laid off many employees and may shut down its new City Hall. But it's unclear whether Chowchilla can keep up with bond payments on the building.

What readers said:

"My guess is Chowchilla is hardly alone ... People blame politicians at every level of government; from local city councils up into the halls of Congress. The truth is every level of government needs stricter term limits; no politician should be allowed to serve more then 4 years in any office (and most should be 2)."

-- swmut

"We know who will bear the heaviest burden as a result this incompetence and cronyism: citizens, who had little control over it in the first place. All Californians should see this as a wake-up call to get more involved in their local governments ... We bear some responsibility for what has happened to our city, because in some ways, we have allowed democracy to derail like this by affording officials too little scrutiny to make sure they kept the public's interests in mind."

-- phloxy


Pot ban ahead?

What happened: Fresno County supervisors took steps toward establishing a permanent ban on medical marijuana collective dispensaries in unincorporated areas.

What it means: Despite heated objections from many who turned up at the meeting, supervisors said they worry about an increase in marijuana-related crime.

What readers said:

"As is so often the case, decisions were predetermined and minds made up in spite of the preponderance of evidence and arguments presented. The 'transparency' and 'public hearings and debate' appear to have all been simply formula done for appearances."

-- janbalcom

"Our local government is missing out big time. The dispensaries should be city and/or county owned. Forget the tax, think about the profit!"

-- noneck

"At least it will save some lives, robberies and attacks from criminals in the neighborhoods where these places are."

-- MrSmithD

"Sure, this will go a long way towards stopping those terrible 'Reefer Madness' criminals."

-- ChimpsAhoy2012


Bishop dies

What happened: Bishop John T. Steinbock, who led the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno through nearly two decades of growth and controversy, died after battling lung cancer. He was 73.

What it means: Church membership tripled during his tenure and the parish improved its financial footing. But the bishop also had to handle difficult allegations of priest sex abuse.

What readers said:

"John T. Steinbock earned Everlasting Life in the memory and history of Fresno. A good life lived. Hope we all can do such a thing."

-- RuralHack

"The first time I met His Excellency I knew immediately I would like him -- he was wearing jeans and cowboy boots. He was a loving man and a good shepherd to his flock. He will be missed in this world, and will have great rewards in the world to come."

-- pcwindham

Catching Up is compiled by Bee managing editor Jack Robinson. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.

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