News

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Erskine Fire that broke out in the mountains near Kern County in June burned around 50,000 acres. More than 280 homes were reduced to rubble by the fire displacing thousands of people. Now those residents are trying to figure out whether rebuilding is worth it.

Shellie Bryant has worked in Kern County’s oil industry for more than 30 years. She saved and used some of her retirement so she could buy a plot of land and a trailer in the community of South Lake not far from the shores of Lake Isabella.

Pacific Crest Trail Association

Efforts to save a meadow in Kern County along the Pacific Crest Trail have proven successful. FM89's Ezra David Romero reports. 

 

Landers Meadow in the Piute Mountains east of Bakersfield is home to 78 bird species, black bears, mountain lions and mule deer.

The 245 acre wet meadow was put on the market late last year. The seller gave the Pacific Crest Trail Association an early option to buy.

 

Fresno Police Department

The Fresno Sheriff’s Department has released the autopsy results of a 19-year old Clovis man who was shot and killed by Fresno Police. The autopsy shows Dylan Noble was under the influence of alcohol and potentially drugs.

According to the autopsy, Noble had a blood alcohol content of .12. That’s above the legal driving limit, but since Noble was 19, far above the legal level for a person under 21.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Relations between communities in the Central Valley and police departments seem to be at a boiling point. Protests and counter protests have taken place several times this summer. The Fresno Police Department has an independent auditor who is supposed to keep an objective set of eyes on the department and help build community trust. Still, some are questioning if that position is getting the job done.

For about the last six years, Fresno’s Independent Police Auditor has been reviewing police-involved shootings and other excessive use of force complaints.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Central Valley native Juan Felipe Herrera was recently  appointed for a second term as the U.S. Poet Laureate. In his first year he traveled the states with a focus on diversity through his online project "La Casa De Colores." 

Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. Last year he joined the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

http://www.dirtlabbushcraft.com/

Due to drought bark beetles have ravaged lots of pine trees in the Sierra Nevada forcing homeowners to fall dead trees around their houses. Now one organization is offering a class to teach people what they can do with all these dead trees.

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Instead of hauling dead pine trees killed by bark beetles to sawmills across Central California, Jonathon Tepperman with the group Dirtlab Bushcraft wants to offer another option to homeowners.

 

The City of Fresno is getting the first round of results from expanded testing of discolored water in the northeastern part of the city. Dozens of homes have tested positive for high levels of lead.

Early test results of nearly 300 homes found 41 had fixtures that tested positive for levels of lead above the level considered safe set by the EPA. 

Another 71 homes also had levels of lead, but they were below the EPA threshold. 

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Ezra David Romero goes on a hunt for the perfect surfing wave. Later we are joined by Lois Henry, columnist with the Bakersfield Californian, to chat about the aftermath of the Erskine Fire that devastated Kern County mountain communities. Ending the program FM89's Ezra David Romero interviews US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera on his second term. 

Inciweb / US Forest Service

In late June the Erskine Fire devastated communities around Lake Isabella in Kern County. Nearly 300 homes were destroyed in the fast moving blaze in communities like South Lake. Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom reached out to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for help. In late July, FEMA rejected the state's request for a major disaster declaration, and the federal help that accompanies it. That left many locals shocked and dismayed.

Kelly Slater Wave Company

Late last year a world famous surfer announced he created the perfect manmade wave. At this point no one knows exactly how he did it and the site where he built it isn’t open to the public. But Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero found that wave site in the most unlikely of places.

Eleven time world champion surfer Kelly Slater dropped a bomb last December when he released a video of an 8-foot manmade wave in what looks like an old ski pond nowhere near an ocean.  

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