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» August 6, 2008 «
What started as a farm problem now plagues many segments of the state's economy, as crooks expand their pursuit for metal to include even hospitals and police stations. Supporters of metal theft bills held a news conference on the Capitol steps yesterday (Tuesday) as committees prepared to hold hearings on the proposals. Law enforcement officials say most of the thieves are stealing and selling metal to support a drug habit. Public utility companies, municipal and county governments and others are joining farmers in their support of the proposed legislation.
Government inspectors say they've eliminated glassy-winged sharpshooters from Madera County. The insects spread Pierce's disease, which kills grapes and other trees and plants. After two sharpshooters were discovered in traps at a nursery, crews treated the nursery, placed delimitation traps in the surrounding area and conducted visual searches. No additional glassy-winged sharpshooters have been found. Because of that, the county has been declared free of the insect.
Four more counties have been declared natural disaster areas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture designated Contra Costa, Madera and Shasta counties as drought disaster areas. USDA also designated Sacramento County as both a drought and unseasonable frost disaster county. Farmers and ranchers in those counties and counties that border them may be eligible for low-interest loans and other programs operated by the Farm Service Agency.
It looks like the cookie monster is being tamed. A recent study says fruit is now the top snack for children under age six in the United States. The NPD Group research company says this marks a change from 1987, when cookies were the snack of choice. In addition, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggests that childhood obesity in the U.S. may have peaked.Top