Valley news of the week -- Jan. 9-15

January 15, 2011 

FRESNOBEE.COM

A very public expulsion hearing for an accused wrestler, state budget cuts and debate over whether Gen. Vang Pao should be buried at Arlington dominated the news last week.

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

Wrestler loses

What happened: A Clovis Unified school panel recommended expulsion for a Buchanan High School wrestler accused of sexual battery against a teammate.

What it means: The decision came after the first public airing of a case that has provoked a furious community debate over when an aggressive move in sports becomes a crime. Preston Hill also faces a criminal trial on the sexual battery charge. The trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 27 in Fresno County Superior Court.

What readers said:

"The DA has no business involved in it. They have bigger fish to fry. The school should maybe expell the kid for 1 or 2 days or suspend him for 1 or 2 wresting matches. And, the kid appologize and the victim accept it like adults and forget it."

-- timothy1

"What ever happen for sticking up for the victim? The Clovis School district needs to start doing the right thing for a change."

-- justiceforme

Big cuts coming

What happened: Fresno State would lose about $20 million next year under the governor's proposed budget, university President John Welty told faculty and staff at his traditional spring address.

What it means: Welty said the cut would have a devastaing effect on the campus, which has repeatedly been forced to slash jobs, classes and enrollment in recent years.

What readers said:

"Just remember, folks, that these 'devastating budget cuts' to just about all State funded programs and services are based on being able to extend present taxes. If the 'just say no to taxes' crowd has its way, the cuts will be broader and deeper and more damaging."

-- janbalcom

"I would like to know the reasons for the substantial annual increases in operation expenses not only for FSU but for all colleges and universities in the US ... higher education costs keep rising at 2-3 times the annual rate of inflation."

-- ontac55

"How much is a PhD worth? How much would you expect to make if you had spent 8 to 10 years learning how to design neural networks, or artificial intelligence systems? Or the key metabolic pathways of micro-organisms? Or the synthesis of organic compounds? How much? 55K? Because that is what Fresno State pays."

-- rc_moore

"You could operate it like a business, where the professors sell admission to their classes, and then the professor pays rent and utilities on the classroom. If there's money left over the professor gets to eat and maybe even purchase health insurance and save for retirement. Survival of the fittest. It's not looking good for linguistics or art professors. This is sarcastic, but it would be a fun experiment that would surely please those who despise the unions."

-- Chris Mitchell

Vang Pao burial

What happened: Several California lawmakers Tuesday formally requested that the late Hmong leader Vang Pao be granted a treasured burial spot at Arlington National Cemetery.

What it means: Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno, cited the former Laotian army general's help to U.S. forces during the Vietnam War in asking for the Arlington burial waiver. Vang Pao requires a waiver because he didn't serve in the U.S. military.

What readers said:

"I doubt any of the countless US soldiers, pilots, or POWs rescued by the Hmong commanded by General Vang would object to his burial at Arlington. We just need them to speak up."

-- harhar

"The Hmong died 35,000 troops, and they have said nothing. They only ask his body to be burry at Arlington National Cementary. The Hmong do not ask for something else. I believe you so selfishif you do not allow his body at Arlington National Cementary. Do not espect the Hmong in Laos to be loyal to you again. The Hmong will not longer trust you, and you betray to the Hmong."

-- charliervy8

"I believe Arlington National Cemetery is for American Heroes. Presidents, US Military members, Members of Congress etc. I see that exceptions have been made in the past, I personally do not believe the husband of a supreme court justice should have been buried there unless he served in the US military."

-- DweezleDi

"This man was a friend and that is great, but he was not a US citizen soldier and should not be buried in any National Cemetery."

-- ridiculous4sure

Vigil at KMJ

What happened: Dozens of people objecting to conservative talk-radio programming -- and some people who support it -- gathered in central Fresno for a vigil in front of Peak Broadcasting, which owns radio station KMJ (AM 580).

What it means: Peak officials denounced the event, saying protesters had no basis for connecting local talk-radio programming to the mass shooting in Tucson.

What readers said:

"I suspect that these people who have never listened to conservative talk radio long enough to be familiar with its lower-the-taxes, minimize-government, advocate personal responsibility over group-think message, probably HATE it, HATE conservatives, and will really HATE it when they realize what fools they are for jumping to unfounded conclusions before the evidence is all sorted out."

-- wise_up_people

"People are influenced by what they listen to. Conservative radio hosts are skilled at two things: Selling product and talking. The platform of ultra conservative, often compassionless, talk radio enables them to make lots of money doing what they do well. None of them advocate violence but when one of their 'darlings' (Sarah Palin) publishes a poster with rifle cross-hairs, their rhetoric creates an environment where a mentally unstable person could be nudged to do what he did."

-- ramus

Catching Up is compiled by Bee managing editor Jack Robinson.

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