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About 50 people across the San Joaquin Valley packed their bags and headed to a detention center in San Diego. 

The group represented Faith in the Valley, an organization that advocates for immigrants, low-wage workers and former inmates. Trena Turner,  the executive director, says they went to the Otay Mesa Detention Center, which has been open for three years, to protest the effects Trump’s policy has had on families.

John Madonna Construction / Caltrans District 5

In May 2017 a massive mud and rockslide closed Highway 1 near the Monterey and San Luis Obispo County lines. The scenic road is one of the most beautiful in America, and popular destination for valley travelers, but it’s also incredibly challenging to maintain, even in a normal year. And 2017 was not normal. Floods rendered a bridge near Big Sur unstable, and cause the massive slide near Mud Creek. For the past year crews have worked to rebuild the road there and stabilize the hillside. Now comes news that the end might be in sight, with a planned reopening slated for the end of July.

Joshua Dudley Greer for The California Sunday Magazine

The tragic shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival last October in Las Vegas has largely faded from the headlines and Twitter timelines in recent months. But the story of the worst mass shooting in modern American history – a tragedy which left 58 dead – didn’t end when the sun rose on October 2nd last year. In fact, it was just the beginning of the story, as journalist Amanda Fortini writes in a new piece for the California Sunday Magazine, examining the aftermath in the Las Vegas community.

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

We’re standing in a fridge that’s the size of a two bedroom apartment at Food Link Tulare County. The ice box is stacked with produce and dairy products that will soon be in the fridges of Tulare families. Development director for the food bank, Nicole Celaya, says some families who need food won’t get food.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Trust for Public Land just released their latest Park Score rankings of park systems in 100 cities throughout the nation. While Fresno has scored low in the past, some groups have tried to draw attention to the city’s parks. The rankings come during an effort to add an initiative to the November ballot that would raise money for parks.  

This year, the Trust For Public Land ranked Fresno at 94 out of 100 cities. The city was the lowest ranked from 2012 to 2015, but did make steady improvements in following years.  The city was ranked 90th last year.

W.W. Norton

Perhaps no job in America has been more romanticized and mythologized than that of the cowboy. From movies to songs, much of what we know about cowboys and the American West is often just a caricature of real life. A new book by  Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times journalist John Branch aims to give us a different sort of look into the life of one prominent rodeo and cattle ranching family. It’s called The Last Cowboys – A Pioneer Family In the New West.

Courtesy of the Sun-Gazette

The arrest of the man suspected of being the Golden State Killer shocked the nation last week. 72-year-old Joseph James DeAngelo is accused of being behind a string of murders, rapes and robberies that have been attributed to a suspect also known as the East Area Rapist and the Original Night Stalker.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Marches took place around the nation on Saturday to honor the victims of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The march in Fresno drew crowds from around the Central Valley to Fresno High School.

 

Yasmin Mendoza is the twenty-one-year old community college student who led the event. She says the march and their movement isn’t about party politics.

 

“I think that safety is a universal issue that affects everyone no matter your political party,” says Mendoza.

 

Flickr user Lens Scratcher (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The holidays are big here in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the most conspicuous examples is Christmas Tree Lane, two miles of lights and music that draw tens of thousands of visitors to central Fresno each year. Big as it is, though, it’s the little things that keep Christmas Tree lane running smoothly. In particular, this nightly ritual keeps the lights on.

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Chinatown is one of Fresno's oldest neighborhoods, and it's now facing changes and challenges. Two of the state's highest profile projects, high-speed rail and cap-and-trade, call the neighborhood ground zero. We spoke to business owners old and new to hear what they have to say about all the activity in a story on Valley Edition. The videos below include more thoughts from business owners mentioned in the story, and other voices from Chinatown.

PHOTOGRAPHS BY TEXTLI GALLEGOS, 18, LAS FOTOS PROJECT / California Sunday Magazine

The San Joaquin Valley has a rich boxing tradition, dating back generations. Before he ran a popular bar in downtown Fresno, Young Corbett III was the world welterweight champion in the 1930’s. Today, Avenal’s Jose Ramirez is one of the sport’s rising stars. But at a gym in Southeast Fresno, local teen boxer Sandra Tovar is already at the top of her field, and has her sights set on an even bigger goal – the U.S. Olympic team, and the 2020 Tokyo summer games. 

Temperatures in the Central Valley are dropping as fall gives way to winter. But for many families that also means enduring another winter in substandard housing, a problem that the City of Fresno says it has been working to fix since the passage of a new rental inspection ordinance in February.

That ordinance was supposed to set up a process for city inspectors to check most rental housing units in town to build a database and make sure living conditions are healthy and safe.

A new chapter in the history of a long-neglected Fresno neighborhood could be just around the corner. Some residents in southwest Fresno say they are seeing a critical mass of plans falling into place to unlock the neighborhood's long trapped potential. The approval of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, moving the Darling meat rendering plant, and the expected influx of tens of millions of dollars in state development funds have all been approved this year. And some believe this confluence of events will be the tipping point toward growth and revitalization.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

You’ve probably heard of a school library, public library, or even a toy lending library, but what about a human library? A local community college held its first event of this kind, where readers take out much more than books.

Browse the shelves at a more typical library and you’ll find titles like Good Night Moon, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and The Grapes of Wrath. At a Human Library, though, these are the books: Danny Kim, a genocide survivor; Briana Sawyer, a black student; and Bertha Reyes, an immigrant.

Ezra Romero

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street. Jordan Gustafson lives in the tallest building in Fresno. It's called the Pacific Southwest (or Security Bank Building) and its front doors exit onto Fulton Street. She's a Clovis native, but she moved to Fresno after living in New York and San Francisco. She loves that she can bike to work at Bitwise Industries.

Ezra

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street.  Tioga-Sequoia Brewing Company owner Michael Cruz hopes that more bars and pubs like his will make a home on Fulton Street and bring back the nightlife. He is concerned about the time between now and when the street is fully established. He says people need to be reminded that things are taking place in downtown. 

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street. This edition features community activist Sandra Celedon, who is a lifelong Fresno area resident and grew up shopping on the mall. She worries that by turning the page, Fresno could lose what made the Fulton Mall the heart of downtown. Celedon says business owners of color shouldn't be priced out of doing business on the new Fulton Street. 

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street.  Raul DeAlba and his family own a number of businesses on Fulton Street. He has seen the mall shift and change and is ready for a new chapter.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street.  Jesus Diaz owns Casa Latina Mini Mart. He says he has been waiting for the street to open and is optimistic about his future.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Our series of first-person audio postcards asked a variety of Fresno residents to share their thoughts about the the removal of downtown's Fulton Mall and the re-opening of Fulton Street. Desirae Washington opened Take 3 on Fulton Mall months before construction started. Now, with the street open, she is hoping for new life, and possibly a second business opportunity. 

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