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Lofts on 18th

A plan for a new apartment building in downtown Bakersfield has sparked a controversy among area neighbors, and debate over the future of infill development in the area.

Tonight, the Bakersfield City Council will hear an appeal from a group that hopes to stop the project, which was approved by the city's Board of Zoning Adjustment earlier this year. The group says the project is too big, doesn't have enough parking, and will clash with the other buildings in the area, some of which date to the early 1900's. 

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by local author Janice Stevens. "Central Valley Honor Flight" is an account of a trip Stevens took in April of 2014  to accompany local World War Two veterans to our nation's capital. As a representative of a local magazine, Janice Stevens accompanied these veterans as they visited many of the memorials dedicated to them.

The controversy over a proposed bus ad pointing out a disparity in city park distribution in Fresno is still causing a stir, a week after it was rejected by the city for being “too political.”

The Fresno advocacy group Building Health Communities is planning to formally request a list of all the ads that have been rejected by the city or advertising company Lamar.

Lamar is the first stop when deciding if an ad violates a city ordinance that forbids certain ads on bus wraps.

An agreement has been reached between the Clovis Unified School District and a Native American student who wanted to wear an eagle feather at his graduation this week.

Clovis High senior Christian Titman, a member of the Pit River Tribe, says he wanted to wear the feather on his graduation cap in honor of his heritage and religion. But after several requests, the school district banned him from doing so, saying it violated the district's graduation dress code.

Ezra David Romero

After the City of Fresno rejected a proposed bus ad about the lack of parks in South Fresno last week, the controversy over the issue  has only grown. The ad from the group Building Healthy Communities cited city data that shows North Fresno residents have over four times the amount of park space per capita as those who live south of Shaw Avenue. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

On today's show the debate over parks in Fresno rages on this week after city officials killed a planned bus ad for being too political after it sought to highlight the fact that North Fresno residents have four times the amount of parks as those who like south of Shaw Avenue. We'll also take a hike into the Sierra Nevada where reporter Ezra David Romero visits the North Fork Mono Tribe with their drought solution efforts.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Most undocumented immigrants throughout the country aren’t eligible for Medicaid or Medi-Cal because of their immigration status. But in California there’s a little known provision that allows certain immigrants to obtain full-scope Medi-Cal benefits even if they aren’t here legally.

Until last December, if you were an undocumented resident in Fresno you could get health care through a county program known as MISP. That stopped when the county changed the rules and kicked at least 5,000 undocumented residents out of the program late last year.

Immigrant Health Care Bill Passes Senate

Jun 2, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Many – but not all – of the people living in California illegally would be able to obtain health insurance under a scaled-back proposal that’s cleared the state Senate. Ben Adler has more from Sacramento.

Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara’s bill is less comprehensive – and less expensive – than previous versions. But, he told senators, this would be a vote they would remember.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In the Sierra Nevada, above Fresno, North Fork Mono Indians are working to thin the forest. The group's goal is twofold. Save water and prevent large-scale forest fires. North Fork Mono Indians have been using this approach for centuries, but now California's severe drought means these ancient techniques are being looked at as a possible long-term solution. From Valley Public Radio, Ezra David Romero reports.

UC Merced

A new study out of the University of California, Merced suggests that many Americans could sustain themselves off of entirely locally grown or raised food. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.  

Over the last two years UC Merced Professor Elliot Campbell has pondered and researched how to get food grown regionally into local homes and mouths. This week he released his findings.

City of Clovis

UPDATE: The Fresno County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to move forward with the new Clovis library project.
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The city of Clovis is known for its rodeo and its western themed downtown. Soon you might be able to add to that one of the largest public libraries in the valley. 

A new library, senior center and transit hub are all part of the plan for 5.7 acres on the fringe of downtown Clovis. Last year the city purchased the site on Third Street, which is currently home to an old lumber company barn for $2.85 million.

Fresno leaders say the homeless population in Fresno and Madera Counties has declined by 53-percent since 2013.

The newest count released Monday found almost 1,200 unsheltered homeless people compared to more than 2,500 two years ago.

Preston Price with the Fresno Housing Authority says a new focus on providing housing first is driving the rate down.

“The housing first model, which has a higher success rate, says let’s get a person into housing and bring the services they need to them. And that has a higher success rate,” Price said.

The newest reading of California’s critical mountain snow pack is showing that the state currently has zero-percent of its normal snow levels. The snow reading is the lowest ever taken at this point of the year.

A warm, dry winter means that little snow fell in the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada.

The snow pack is critical to replenishing California’s surface water supply.

Maury Roos with the California Department of Water Resources says the measurement has never come in this low. 

Caltrans

A popular route into Yosemite Valley is about to get a makeover. FM89's Joe Moore reports on the effort t fix damage that happened nearly 10 years ago.

In May 2006, a rockslide in the Merced River Canyon severely damaged Highway 140 between Briceburg and El Portal. Caltrans eventually reopened the road later that year with a temporary detour around the unstable mountain of rock, but that temporary detour is now almost a decade old. 

Google Maps

A local organization is asking the City of Fresno to build a new park for residents in an older part of town.

Jose Leon-Barazza with the Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association will ask the city council on Thursday to spend $200,000 to do preliminary work to turn a largely vacant 48-acre parcel on South Peach Avenue into a park and soccer fields.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new Fresno organization has joined forces with one of the state’s organic food pioneers to launch a new food box program for the valley. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The project known as “Out of Our Own Backyards” or Ooooby, is from the nonprofit Fresno Food Commons. Kiel Schmidt is with the group that is launching the new community supported agriculture box, also known as a CSA. 

Undocumented Health Care Bill Moves Forward In Legislature

May 28, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A bill that would make health care available to undocumented immigrants in California advanced in the state legislature today. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been scaled back from previous versions.

The amended bill pares back a proposal that would have extended Medi-Cal to all eligible undocumented immigrants. Now the measure would cap the number of adult enrollees based on the state budget. It does extend Medi-cal to eligible undocumented children. 

Photo-Flickr

A California Transportation Task  Force is starting a statewide tour in Fresno to look at a controversial proposal for raising more infrastructure money. The task force is examining a so-called ‘road charge’.

Sometimes called a vehicle mileage tax, a road charge would tax California residents based on the number of miles they drive.

The California Transportation Commission estimates the state needs 137-billion dollars in repairs to roads, highways and bridges over the next ten years.

California Budget Proposal Raises Questions Of Vaccine Bill Retaliation

May 28, 2015
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Assembly Republicans want to know if Legislative Democrats are using their state budget proposals to punish a medical group that opposes California's controversial vaccine bill.

In separate proposals for the fiscal year that starts in July, Senate and Assembly Budget subcommittees voted last week to restore six of the seven optional Medi-Cal benefits that are currently unfunded by the state. There's only one benefit they're not proposing to restore: chiropractic services.

Building Healthy Communities

An ad that a local non-profit group wants to run on city buses is the center of controversy, after Fresno officials say it’s too political. As FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the group wants more parkland in older parts of town.

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