California's reservoirs have been nearly drained by successive dry winters, a retired bishop who led a drive to split a conservative Valley diocese from the Episcopal Church has died, and California High-Speed Rail officials once again are recommending a route on the eastern side of Kings County.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at fresnobee.com.
Water woes go on
What happened: Most of California's reservoirs in Northern and Central California are nearly running on empty after consecutive dry winters. One exception is Millerton Lake northeast of Fresno, which is holding on to water needed for salmon restoration in the San Joaquin River.
What it means: If this winter is dry, more water conservation methods will be needed. Meteorologists don't have a good sense yet of how much precipitation to expect this winter.
What readers said:
"I am a California native and have an algorithm that I use to predict the amount of rainfall each year and it is usually accurate within +- 1/2 inch. The FIRST big rain, 1 ft., of snow in the Sierra is the triggering event, which we just got on Oct. 28th. This is MORE than 4 weeks before Thanksgiving which means the first rain was extremely early this year. An early first rain normally means a dry year, late means wet, which is the opposite of what everyone else around here says, BUT if the first rain is 4 weeks or greater before Thanksgiving then it is extremely early and my algorithm stops working."
— Robert Mehlschau
"Did I read that right? "An acre-foot of water is 326,000 gallons or enough for an average Valley family for about 18 months." Which means the average valley family uses 18000 gallons of water a month? Someone needs to change habits quickly."
— Uwe Schroeder
Anglican bishop dies
What happened: Retired Anglican Bishop John-David Schofield, who led a movement that separated the Diocese of San Joaquin from the U.S. Episcopal Church over debate about same-sex marriages and the consecration of a partnered gay priest, died Tuesday morning. He was 75.
What it means: In 2007, he caught the attention of national media when he led a controversial movement that split the diocese from the Episcopal Church. The national church had ordained gay Bishop V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, setting off debate about the Bible's interpretation of gay issues. The local separation resulted in the breakaway Anglican Diocese of San Joaquin, which then became part of the Anglican Church in North America.
What readers said:
"In no age, prior to forty years ago, would Bishop John-David Schofield have been labeled a "controversial. bishop." He was a very loving man and hated quarrels. He simply found that the furniture had been so re-arranged by newcomers in his home that he had to put it back in order. This he did. I will miss him very much. But he really has gone on to glory! Knowing him helped me in my own faith."
— William Millsaps
"I can attest to the fact that Bishop Schofield was (and still is) a man of integrity, loving kindness and faith. He was born "for such a time as this." He did what God called him to do at enormous personal cost. No one could have taken his place if he had refused or neglected to do what had to be done. He was maligned by many, but he bore the reproach with grace. He loved with a generous heart, and he expressed God's own heart everywhere he went. May we be ever thankful for his presence in our world and in our lives."
— Susan Richards
"He had his 15 minutes of fame in a Pharisaical cause, and died alone. And now he is finally in the presence of Divine Love. I hope he and The Divine are having good dialogue."
— Lisa Fox
What happened: The California High-Speed Rail Authority staff has come full circle and is again advising that the controversial rail alignment through Kings County be routed east of Hanford instead of west. The eastern route is preferred because it would cause less harm to wetlands and natural upland habitat, and be compatible with Hanford's long-term growth plans, a staff report released Thursday said.
What it means: The staff now plans to present a revised recommendation to the board this week in Sacramento.
What readers said:
"we need jobs in madera county not a pipe dream train........."
— Brook Subido
"Guess what? Jobs will be created building HSR."
— Mark Tracy
Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.