Fresno County's animal shelter puts out a call for blankets to warm animals held in chilly outdoor enclosures, California's gasoline price hikes may not have been due to refinery shutdowns, and Twinkies are about to go the way of the dinosaur.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at fresnobee.com.
What happened: Fresno County's new animal shelter put out a call for blankets, towels and space heaters to protect animals that are being housed outdoors from near-freezing overnight temperatures. Liberty Animal Control has indoor space for about 40 smaller dogs and about 10 cats. But other animals are outside in unheated cages with metal canopies.
What it means: County Supervisor Henry Perea said officials expected that demand would exceed capacity, and he supported Liberty's call for donations. By Monday afternoon, a small mountain of space heaters, doggie beds and linens had piled up in the shelter's parking lot.
What readers said:
"What great leadership by Perea, "we expected this to happen" but Perea did nothing to prepare for this problem. Perea might also have expected it to get cold by now, followed by colder in the next couple of months. But Perea does have a plan. Perea said he would also spread the word for donations of blankets and towels on his Facebook page. What great leadership, lead the animal control issue into a mess and then post on Facebook to try to rally the public to try to overcome your lack of planning and action."
"It is obvious that all of you are putting politics in front of animal care. BTW to my knowledge Liberty has not yet had to euthanize any animal. their record is new, but they are holding to the objective."
"The county should never have entered into a contract with a company that had no track record, no adequate working budget, and no full vision. The county is already offsetting Liberty's expenses by providing both space and vehicles to a private vendor. Does any other vendor receive such a sweet deal? Not very likely."
What happened: West Coast gasoline price spikes in May and October were widely blamed on refinery outages, but new research shows that refiners continued to produce gasoline in periods when the public was told the contrary. The research also concludes that gasoline inventories actually were building in May when West Coast motorists paid at least 50 cents more per gallon than the national average.
What it means: Lawmakers said the data doesn't prove collusion among refiners but suggests the need for an investigation.
What readers said:
"What a surprise! Oil companies lying to California consumers! Does anyone remember Enron? Protect yourselves by buying hybrid and/or electric transportation the next time you buy a vehicle. Take control of the fuel source you use because we now have a choice of gas or no gas."
"This is if true so disgusting at a time when our economy is in the tank and people are trying to put their lives in some semblance of order. No, for all you liberals, I am a Republican. Taking advantage of the public for profit beyond the truth is immoral and to me,unpatriotic."
"OF COURSE energy companies were gouging the public. That's what they do! They will not, "self-regulate." They will not implement their own safety measures. They will not deal honestly on the free and open market. These are all conservative myths, and here we have further proof of that. The part that I find even more troubling is that the media, when asked why the prices were spiking, simply parroted the corporate talking points. No investigating, no follow up, just stenography."
What happened: Junkfood junkies were devastated when Hostess Brands announced it would shut down, ending the production of Twinkies and other sugary snacks. The company blamed years of struggling with management turmoil, rising labor costs and the ever-changing tastes of Americans.
What it means: Twinkies quickly became an endangered species, with long lines forming at bakery stores and speculators offering to sell their Twinkies stashes for big bucks.
What readers said:
"I have a fried Twinkie i saved from the fair last year,i knew this was coming,for sale 1,500.00"
"Hostess is going out of business, just as pot legalization is happening around the country. Oh, the irony!"
Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup to comment or learn more about these stories.