A medical resident in training to become an emergency room physician is a pedestrian fatality, Black Friday doorbuster deals attract long lines -- and at least one scary crowd -- and yet another homeless encampment has surfaced in central Fresno.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at fresnobee.com.
A cautionary tale
What happened: A medical resident is struck by a car while crossing a northeast Fresno intersection against the light. Melissa Dowd had worked with orphans in Africa, earned her master's degree in public health and was training to become an emergency room physician.
What it means: Police Chief Jerry Dyer said Dowd's death is one of a number of fatalities involving pedestrians and bicyclists in Fresno this year, and he urged pedestrians to be vigilant about protecting their own safety.
What readers said:
"Drivers cannot see you in the dark. Stop, Look, and Listen. Do Not insist on having your Right of Way. People, teach the children to start with the belief that the driver does not see you and will not stop ... even if you are in a crosswalk and crossing with a light. Remember that you must wait until the driver stops and then look at their face to see if they see you. If it's dark, just wait until there are NO cars coming."
"I've noticed a huge increase in people who are crossing streets who don't appear to have much concern for their own lives. I was driving yesterday and a person crossing against a red light walked across the street with a hoody on and looking straight down, not even glancing to the side to see if the street was clear from cars going legally through a green light. I blew the horn loudly so they might notice that there were cars approaching next to me, but he seemed to be lost in his own world. Maybe the zombies really are here."
"One addition I'll add is the habit of bicyclists riding on our adjacent Sierra foothill & mountain roadways to hug the white-lines, drifting into traffic lanes, and apparently ignoring the dentists mirrors glued to their helmets? Folks, a 6,000 lb auto's side-mirror is lethal. Struck in the leg, shoulder or head ... you will not win! While some roadways have adequate width for 2-cars and a bike ... many do not."
What happened: Midnight shopping turned scary at Fashion Fair mall in Fresno as shoppers rushed Victoria's Secret in search of doorbuster deals. Elsewhere, few problems were reported at stores that opened Thursday night or early Friday with big specials to lure holiday shoppers.
What it means: The extended start to Black Friday, which began on Thanksgiving Day, marked a "clear shift" in holiday shopping patterns, according to one Fresno retailer.
What readers said:
"Amazing that so many covet material things to the point of rudeness and disregard for your fellow human being on a holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ."
"must be the same folks that enjoy the lines at the DMV."
"I spent my morning drinking a couple cups of coffee and watching some tv. I spent the rest of the day working in the yard and I feel great! Hmmmm, I might do it again tomorrow."
New tent city
What happened: Fresno's latest homeless encampment is on a small green parkway along H Street just south of Belmont Avenue. Some living there are refugees from the city's effort to move them from a strip along Weber between Belmont and Olive avenues. Others say they moved into the parkway after the new owners of the nearby former Sahara Motel evicted squatters.
What it means: Neighbors fear the encampment will lead to more blight and crime in the area.
What readers said:
"By the grace of God it is not you that is homeless ......... have some compassion"
"by the grace of GOD ?!? we have welfare... unemployment... food stamps... housing subsidies... ENDLESS programs!!! and despite ALL the social safety net programs out there we still have this problem. it is at the grace of addiction and entitlement that this beast feeds my friend"
-- haveyouseenmy slipper
"You can build, fix, repair, modify and furnish all kinds of living arrangements, But, these folks don't want rules. So, if you build it they won't come. Make a law saying that shopping carts can only be found in a store's parking lot, otherwise it is stolen property. Fresno is an ideal location for the homeless, it's flat, roomy, weather's mostly nice, and no one can do anything to them. And there are lots of folks who feel sorry for them, and give them money and food, when all they are doing is contributing to the homeless problem."
Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.