Fresno County bans marijuana cultivation, a homeless man is attacked and his dog killed by teenagers, and cockroaches are found in a chicken processing plant in Livingston.
Here are the top stories of the past week, along with selected comments posted by readers at fresnobee.com.
Fresno County bans pot growing
What happened: On Tuesday, the Fresno County Board of Supervisors — over the objections of medical marijuana users — banned all marijuana cultivation in the county's unincorporated areas starting in February.
What it means: There was still a loophole, but it's about to close: The county's Planning Commission voted Thursday to ban marijuana cultivation in manufacturing zones. The ordinance change will go to Fresno County supervisors on Feb. 4 for final approval.
What readers said:
"For a region that claims to be for personal responsibility and claims to hate government intrusion, we sure do accept a lot of authoritarian local representation. Instead of banning all growing, why not crack down on the knuckleheads who don't follow the rules? The ones who grow on public land? The ones whose grows are bigger than allowed? The ones who booby trap the grow and endanger lives? Maybe it's just time for new city and county leadership. God knows the current group has proven to be incapable of competence."
— Craig Cook
"The Board and the Sheriff keep asserting that their goal with this BS is to "lower crime" when in fact we all know their decisions merely serve to increase criminal activity by making criminals out of patients and sending them to illegal sources in order to obtain the medicine this state says they may possess and use. So, what are the Board's and the Sheriff's true intent with these Zero Tolerance ordinances? I'll give you some beginning search words: job security, federal grant money and federal asset forfeiture equitable sharing."
— Brenda A. Linder
"In 2003 there were 8,291 domestic violence related calls for assistance in Fresno County. I couldn't get more recent data. Compare that with only 20 cannabis related crimes, according to the sheriff's office. So should we not outlaw people living together? That would prevent thousands of violent crimes per year. How many banks got robbed last year? How about gas stations? Should the sheriff close them also? No? Vote out the Fresno County supervisors instead!"
— Hppy Hippi
"OMG the Squaw Valley economy will collapse!"
— EliseoShelley Urbano
Man, dog attacked
What happened: A man and a teenage boy are in custody after a homeless man was attacked and his dog killed Monday night in southeast Fresno. Fresno police say Alejandro Alfredo Lopez, 18, and the juvenile, along with two other teenage boys, surrounded the 45-year-old man, punched him several times, threw beer bottles at his head and kicked him before kicking his dog Snoopy to death.
What it means: The suspects are being held on charges of assault with a deadly weapon and cruelty to animals, police said.
What readers said:
"You should take all these ruthless non productive individuals and drop them off in the middle of a Taliban stronghold and let them fend for themselves. These individuals CANNOT be rehabilitated, and it's just a matter of time before they do the same to someone else. Homeless or not, NO ONE should be treated this way."
— Omar Salinas
"This is a heartbreaking story. Poor man, poor little dog. What possesses some people to behave so insanely! I wish someone would kick THEM to death. Sorry, but that is an act so evil, they should feel for themselves what it is like!!!!!!" — Margaret Kevorkian
"At Least the homeless is alive, we need a place for this people when the weather is bad or cold, they are targets for morons, the poor dog has been sent back to his creator, and maybe the lord will send him back as a big police dog."
— Skip Pritchard
"wouldn't specifically targeting a homeless person be a hate crime?"
— Greg Howard
USDA closes plant
What happened: Federal inspectors suspended processing Wednesday at the Foster Farms chicken plant in Livingston after cockroaches were found over four months, raising health concerns. The suspension came just three months after salmonella problems were reported at the Livingston plant and two Foster Farms sites in Fresno.
What it means: The plant reopened Saturday after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service approved pest prevention measures.
What readers said:
"Foster Farms let standards slip badly, and tarnished their own good name. They need to clean house. This is what I want my government to do: Protect our food stock. One of the worst things accomplished under Bush was the movement away from regular on-site USDA inspectors, to allowing firms to "self" regulate and inspect. Exactly what the lobbyists for the companies wanted, and exactly the wrong move for protecting our food supply. This is precisely what I want my government to do: Protect our food supply, regardless of who the violator is, or how big they are. Foster Farms has actually allowed their good name to be tarnished here, at their own expense in bad PR. Perdue and other processors will benefit, without even having lifted a finger. Like a speeding ticket or a DUI, this problem for Foster Farms is self-inflicted, entirely avoidable. They did it to themselves. Now? Time to clean house."
— Clarke Johnston
"I've toured the Foster Farms Livingston facility and several poultry processing plants throughout my career, Foster Farms is above and beyond all the others in terms of cleanliness and handling product. Foster Farms truly makes great efforts towards a superior product, I feel for them for what they are going through."
— Larry Jensen
"I say let the chickens out and they'll eat the cockroaches and any other bugs. Problem solved."
— Advantage Saddles
"I didn't know Fresno County politicians had offices at a Livingston chicken plant."
— Sebastian Seracruz
Catching Up is compiled by Bee editors. Go to fresnobee.com/catchingup/ to comment or learn more about these stories.