It’s a typical Sunday in the town of Mendota, west of Fresno. Here, in the cantaloupe capital of the world, the majority of residents are farmworkers. As they unwind from working all day the Westside pool hall starts filling up. 

City councilmember Joseph Riofrio owns the pool hall. This place serves as a distraction and entertainment for many men farmworkers, who are often far away from family. But Riofrio says the isolation some people feel opens the door for another type of business.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Grapes, including raisins, are the third largest crop in California grossing almost $6 billion in 2014. To harvest the labor intensive crop it takes thousands of workers. But as Ezra David Romero reports a new raisin grape variety bred in Central California could severely decrease that need for workers.

It takes a lot of hand labor to harvest raisins, three or more rounds of pruning, quality control and picking. And to pay those workers costs a lot of money. That’s why the raisin industry is desperately searching for a way to spend less on labor creating a larger profit margin.

Valley Public Radio

On this week's program FM89's Ezra David Romero reports on a new raisin variety that could severely decrease the labor needed to grow and harvest the crop. Also KVPR's Diana Aguilera reports on how farmworkers are impacted by STDs in the Central California town of Mendota.

Diana Aguilera

Today state health officials arrived in Fresno for a four day meeting to tackle what local leaders are calling a chlamydia epidemic.

In a rare occasion, the state department of public health sent a team of experts to Fresno. They’re meeting with local health providers in hopes of reducing the alarming rates of chlamydia, especially in teens and young adults.

“Fresno County is a hot spot for chlamydia and for reproductive and sexual health in general,” says Heidi Bauer, a doctor with the Department of Public Health.