Five things you need to know this week – August 19


1. Gas prices. The lowest price for gas this week is at Costco at $2.25 a gallon. Statewide the average price for gas is down about 25 cents in the past month. The average price of gas in California is about $2.64 per gallon; at this time in 2015, gas was costing California drivers $3.57. The average price nationwide is $2.14.

2. Every Kid in a Park. During the 2015-2016 school year, the nation’s fourth-graders (and their accompanying families, friends, and school groups) were provided with a free pass to explore all national parks and other public lands. That pass expires on August 31, so better take advantage of the offer till then.

3. California is on fire. Major fires are burning in Northern (Lake Fire) and Southern California (Bluecut Fire) and Sequoia National Forest (Cedar Fire). The Cedar Fire, which has exhibited extreme fire behavior, is the current culprit impacting air quality in Three Rivers.   

4. Human-trafficking ring. Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux announced August 11 that a special investigation he called “Operation Baby Face” had led to multiple arrests throughout Tulare County. Arrested and charged with human trafficking and related crimes were the three leaders and 11 co-conspirators (with another still on the loose) who supported the illicit operation by paying to have sex with victims, many who are underage. More than 50 victims have been identified, mostly female but some male, and 23 of whom are under the age of 18. One of those victims is a 15-year-old female from Three Rivers.

5. National Park Service Centennial. And, in case you haven’t heard, the National Park Service is 100 years old as of next Thursday (August 25). Entrance fees to all national parks will be waived throughout the weekend (August 25-28) so all may celebrate at the park (there are 58) of their choice or any of the units that comprise the National Park System (there are 411). 

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