Fresno is a "heat island" in the Valley, a bicyclist dies after he is hit by a Fresno police car, and the city of Fresno will start cleanups of downtown homeless camps on Monday.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at fresnobee.com.
'Heat island' is no fantasy for Fresno
What happened: Urban areas such as Fresno tend to be several degrees hotter than surrounding areas because rooftops, roads and other surfaces retain heat. And more heat can raise ozone levels, increasing health threats in the Valley.
What it means: Possible solutions? Plant more trees, require builders to use "cool-roof" materials and develop more reflective roadway materials, officials say.
What readers said:
"A wise city would have code enforcement to protect its street canopy and ensure that the parking lot shading requirements have been fulfilled and fines sufficient to cover the cost of the enforcement."
"And why isn't anyone discussing where the water will come from to water these trees....just watch any foreclosed house's landscape, or for that matter the west end of the WoodPark Post Office property, only takes a few weeks (or less in this recent heat) for trees to reach what farmers call the "permanent wilting point" (beyond saving) when the irrigation is shut or cut off..."
"Cool roofs are a great idea, but cost more than regular old roofs. Unless the Air Nazis pay out rebates that fully cover the increased cost of the cool roof, then its a non-starter short of the City Council passing a new Code mandating all new roofs or re-roofs be Cool Roofs and it is successfully defended in court."
What happened: City officials on Monday expect to begin a series of sweeps that could be a turning point in Fresno's long struggle with sprawling homeless encampments. Sanitation workers and police officers are slated soon after sunrise to gather the personal possessions and raze the illegal structures that line several streets south of downtown.
What it means: Camp residents say they have nowhere to go. City officials say there's help, but requires the homeless to change. One thing is certain, says City Manager Bruce Rudd: "The camps won't be back."
What readers said:
"The City continues to clear out homeless encampments, but the homeless they displace have no where to go. The City's efforts to find "permanent" housing helps several dozen homeless, but does not help the remaining thousands in need of housing. City officials, including the Mayor and City Manager, are adamant against creating any type of a safe, legal campground for the homeless. There are numerous individuals and many faith communities who are willing to help with such an effort"
"After the clean up the City has to nip it in the bud. The first time they see the start of a homeless encampments they have to shut it down. In the old days people who were found sleeping on the streets were arrested for vagrancy. Of course they couldn't do that now because of the jail over population, but the homeless have to be given a message that it's not ok just to set up camp wherever you desire."
Bicycle v. cruiser
What happened: A police pursuit in central Fresno on Friday night ended with the death of a bicyclist after he was hit by a police cruiser, Police Chief Jerry Dyer said.
What it means: Dyer said the fleeing man turned into an alley off Del Mar Avenue, where the fatal collision occurred. He said the details of the crash are under investigation by the collision reconstruction unit with the help of the California Highway Patrol.
What readers said:
"Sounds to me like they tried to pull some sort of PIT maneuver on the bicyclist and it went bad for the guy on the bike. Curious what the "investigation" will turn up."
"I'm curious what the alleged crime was. If they were murderers or rapists or pedophiles about to get away with it yet again, I'm all for running them down. But if they weren't, why not just wait them out? Why endanger motorists and pedestrians and the criminals themselves with a dangerous police chase?"
"Given the area, they were probably guilty of riding bikes while brown."
Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.