Valley Public Radio News

Hear local reports on the economy, government, education, health and the environment on Valley Public Radio during All Things Considered, Morning Edition and Valley Edition. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Customers love the guacamole served tableside at El Torito in Downtown Fresno so much that about half of them order it. Daniel Avalos is the general manager there.

Avalos and I just ordered some guac. For $10 the appetizer is created on a platter in front of us.

“She cuts the avocados in half and then she’s getting the pulp out of the avocado and putting in the molcajete where we smash the avocado and mix it with veggies,” says Avalos.

Bakersfield Jazz Festival

For years, saxophonist Donny McCaslin has been the quintessential jazz musician. A virtuoso improviser, he’s been a vital part of the New York jazz scene for two decades, equally at home in his own small groups or as a sideman with the Maria Schneider Orchestra. McCaslin, who grew up in Aptos, was also largely under the radar – at least outside of the tight-knit jazz community.

Fresno State University

With President Donald Trump promising to revive the repeal of the Affordable Care Act this week, a new poll of Central Valley residents offers insight into the local reaction to proposed changes to the law, commonly known as Obamacare. Overall, according to new research by Fresno State’s Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, 47% of Central Valley residents oppose repealing the law. 29% say they support partial repeal, while 17% say they want full repeal.

Since 2013, the law has resulted in the uninsured rate being cut in half.

Like many teens who grew up in Barrio Logan, Francisco Martinez, 19, suffers from asthma.

His condition led his mom, Maria Martinez, to become an environmental activist. As a volunteer for the Environmental Health Coalition, she advocates for clean air and water.

Now, Francisco, a sophomore at San Diego State University, is following in his mother's footsteps.

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

It was a loud and defiant first court appearance for 39-year old Kori Muhammad the man accused of four murders, including three that police say were motivated by racist hate.

Muhammad entered the courtroom shouting that more natural disasters would strike the U.S. and saying ";let black people go with reparations." He shouted second phrase - demanding reparations - at least two more times during the short court proceeding.

City of Fresno

Fresno has its first female City Manager. Mayor Lee Brand today introduced Wilma Quan-Schecter as the replacement for the retiring City Manager Bruce Rudd.

Quan-Schecter, who is 43 years old, has been with the city for 9 years and has a background in city planning. At the announcement at Fresno City Hall, Quan-Schecter says she is excited to step into the role.

Flickr User TVZ Design

Recent data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimate that carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in the atmosphere have risen close to 40 percent since before the industrial revolution. The effects of this rise on climate, sea levels and human societies are still being modeled, but one long-standing mystery for scientists has been how plants respond to rising CO2 levels, and how their ability to store the greenhouse gas feeds back into the carbon cycle.

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

1,2,3-TCP is a known carcinogen that was used over 20 years ago as an industrial solvent and pesticide additive. The pollutant affects around 8 million people across the state and is now in the process of being regulated by the State Water Resources Control Board.

 

Fresno Police

Details have begun to emerge about the three men who were shot and killed yesterday in downtown Fresno.

Mark Gassett was shot in the back as he walked home from Catholic Charities with groceries. The 39-year-old died on the scene. He had two children. Fifty-eight-year-old David Martin Jackson was shot outside the Catholic Charities office and died later at the hospital. 

Fresno PD

Fresno police say the man suspected of going on a murder spree Tuesday morning is cooperating with their investigation. Kori Ali Muhammad has walked police step-by-step through the process of how he killed three people and is showing no remorse for his crimes.

Chief Jerry Dyer on Wednesday explained to members of the media a second-by-second breakdown of the rampage that left three men dead, including playing recordings of the gunshots captured on police tracking equipment.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Some of the same people who warned state leaders about the probability of Oroville Dam failing are now sounding the alarm at San Luis Reservoir in Merced County.

It’s the first time since before the drought began that San Luis Reservoir in the hills west of Los Banos is nearly full at about 97 percent.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

This post will be updated

Three people in downtown Fresno are dead in an apparent murder spree Tuesday morning.

The suspect is 39-year old Kori Ali Muhammad. He was already wanted for the murder of a security guard at a Motel 6 on Blackstone Avenue in Fresno last week.

Shortly before 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, Muhammad allegedly shot and killed a PG&E worker in his company truck near Van Ness north of Divisadero. A co-worker driving the vehicle was not shot and rushed the victim to the police headquarters where he died.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Many communities in the Central Valley struggle to provide enough green space and parks. In Hanford, residents have tried to figure out what to do with an 18-acre patch of dirt next to a popular city park. A vote by the city council tonight could begin the process of making a final decision about its future. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess reports the scrap of land is the source of a surprising amount of controversy.

At Hidden Valley Park in Hanford, families, children, dogs and ducks enjoy a picture perfect afternoon.

Courtesy Evo Bluestein

Central California has a rich folk music tradition, which is being documented in a new book by Evo Bluestein. "The Road to Sweet’s Mill  -- Folk Music in the West during the 1960s and ’70s" comes out later this year and tells the story of the people and places behind the region's folk music sound, which flourished at Sierra music camp that gives the book its name, as well as other venues. Bluestein is also presenting a special concert to celebrate the new book taking place this Saturday at Fresno State's Whalberg Recital Hall.

Sean Work / The Californian / Reporting on Health Collaborative

A local politician is in hot water with his own party leaders after opposing the state’s new transportation funding plan. Bakersfield Assemblyman Rudy Salas has been stripped of his chairmanship of the State Assembly’s Business and Professions Committee by Speaker Anthony Rendon.

The Kern County Democrat was the only member of his party to vote against the transportation deal that would raise gas taxes and vehicle fees. Salas was removed from the committee entirely. In a tweet he said he was removed from the committee for keeping his commitment to voters.  

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