Fresnan arrested in gas station, bank robberies
A man was arrested Thursday in connection with the robberies of a Clovis gas station and a Fresno bank. Keith Bowen, 38, of Fresno was arrested by Fresno police at a hotel on Shaw Avenue near Highway 99.
Bowen was identified as the man who robbed the Wachovia Bank branch at Palm and San Jose avenues in Fresno on Wednesday. Following the arrest, Fresno police spoke with Clovis detectives after noticing similarities in his appearance to the man suspected in the Clovis gas station robbery.
Bowen was later identified by Clovis police in the Saturday night robbery at the ARCO gas station at Barstow and Clovis avenues. He was booked into Fresno County Jail on suspicion of both robberies.
Ruiz Foods workers exposed to ammonia
Nine Ruiz Foods employees were taken to area hospitals early Thursday after what the company described as "a minimal ammonia release." Dinuba police and fire personnel went to the Ruiz plant about 1 a.m., company spokeswoman Pat Summers said. In addition to the hospitalized employees, 11 workers were treated at the scene.
People in the neighborhood adjacent to Ruiz Foods were told by the Dinuba Fire Department to stay indoors and close their windows as a precaution.
The ammonia came from a failed check valve on a condensing tower, Summers said. The plant was operating normally by 6 a.m.
Food cart operator fights off attack in Fresno park
A 63-year-old woman fought off a would-be robber in Fresno's Courthouse Park, the Fresno County Sheriff's Department reported.
The woman, who operates a food cart, said she was approached about 4 p.m. Wednesday by a 24-year-old Southern California man who tried to sell her a cell phone, sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said.
When she declined, the man attempted to grab her apron, which contained her sales cash. The woman fought off the bandit, who then snatched a bottle of water on her food cart and started to walk away. She grabbed the bottle back. The bandit struck her on the head and ran, Curtice said. The bandit was seen on the Fulton Mall by a security guard and arrested by deputies.
Charges filed against two accused of tattooing boy
The Fresno County District Attorney's Office has filed charges of aggravated mayhem and gang-related charges against Travis Gorman, 20, and Enrique Gonzalez Jr. for tattooing Gonzalez's 7-year-old boy with a Bulldog gang insignia.
Gorman, who was arrested by Fresno police, is scheduled to be arraigned today in Fresno County Superior Court. Police are still looking for Gonzalez.
Shooting suspects sought
Fresno police are looking for two suspects in connection with a shooting in the parking lot of the Village Apartments, at Ninth Street and Bulldog Lane, shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday.
Police said a man in his 20s was shot, but the wound is not believed to be life-threatening. He was taken to Community Regional Medical Center.
The apartment complex is located west of California State University, Fresno, but police said the man is not a Fresno State student.
Fresno firefighters help to bring down beehive
The Fresno Fire Department sent a ladder truck to 637 N. Broadway about 3 p.m. Thursday to help beekeepers remove a large hive of bees in a 40-foot pine tree.
Fire Department spokesman Ken Shockley said residents should call 911 if bees create a hazard. Residents are responsible for the cost if beekeepers remove a hive on private property, Shockley said.
Fresno council makes planning appointments
The Fresno City Council made one new appointment and four re-appointments Thursday to the city's Planning Commission, which reviews major land use matters and makes recommendations to the council on rezoning and related issues.
Reappointed to terms expiring between 2010 and 2012 were Rojelio (Roy) Vasquez, Jaime Holt, Hal Kissler and Serop Torossian. Newly appointed is Rama Kant Dawar, whose term will expire next year.
Lemoore playground construction to begin
Hundreds of volunteers will come together Saturday to build a playground in southwest Lemoore.
The volunteer efforts will give children who live in the area of Pedersen Playground at Royal Lane and Belle Haven Drive nearby playground equipment, organizers of the project said.
Construction will begin at 8:30 a.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony scheduled for 3 p.m.