Community

Veterans
2:43 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

Native American Veterans Find Solace Over A Common Table

Every Friday this group of veterans gets together for breakfast and camaraderie.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

For many veterans life after war is anything but easy, once home veterans often find themselves isolated from the world around them. But one Fresno group’s mission is to provide a setting for veterans to come out of hiding and also learn more about their culture.

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Community
1:12 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

Fresno Woman Helps Fellow Homeless Veterans Reclaim Their Lives

Anita Pascual walks by the apartment complex where the women veterans live. Her office is located in one of the apartments.
Credit Anita Pascual / Homefront

Many veterans struggle as they return home after serving this country. Among that group are women who may have a hard time making that transition, sometimes ending up on the verge of being homeless. As part of our series “Common Threads: Veterans Still Fighting The War” FM89's Diana Aguilera reports on how a woman is determined to make a difference.

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Community
11:56 am
Thu December 4, 2014

LGBT Center In Merced Told To Take Down Rainbow Flag

The rainbow flag hangs in the front office of the LGBT community center in Merced after workers were asked to remove it from the flagpole by the building's owner.
Credit Marissa Chavez / Merced's LGBT Community Center

Workers at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center in Merced say they had to take down a rainbow flag from a flagpole earlier this week after the owner of the building asked them to do so.

The LGBT center had flown the rainbow flag since it opened on August 31.  But staff members say they recently received a letter from the building’s owner, and took down the flag.

Chris Jervis is the president of Gay Central Valley, which operates the Merced LGBT center.

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Community
1:15 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Author Interview: Selma's Berry Family Goes "Beyond Luck" In Rags To Riches Story

Betsy Lumbye's new book "Beyond Luck" tells the story of the Berry family, from the fields of Selma to the Klondike Gold Rush to the oil fields of Kern County
Credit West of the West Books

The San Joaquin Valley is filled with remarkable stories about families, fortunes and fame. But while names like Boswell and Kearney grace the history books, the remarkable tale of the Berry family of Selma has largely been overlooked. 

Now the new book "Beyond Luck: The Improbable Rise of the Berry Fortune Across A Western Century" by author Betsy Lumbye tells their story.

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Community
3:45 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Fresno City College OAB Earns National Historic Preservation Honor

The historic Old Administration Building at Fresno City College was restored in 2011after sitting vacant for decades.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Long abandoned and once nearly demolished, Fresno City College's newly restored Old Administration Building (OAB) is now the recipient of a prestigious national award. The National Trust For Historic Preservation announced Wednesday that it has awarded the project its Preservation Honor Award. It is one of 17 projects nationwide to receive the award, which is one of the nation's top historic preservation honors. 

Tim Mikulski with the National Trust says the OAB is significant both in Fresno's history, and in the development of school architecture nationally:

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Veterans
9:31 am
Tue November 11, 2014

A Veterans Day Love Story, From Sea To The Courtroom

Jason Trupkin is in his first semester of law school in Clovis, Calif.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This report is the second piece in the Valley Public Radio series "Common Threads: Veterans Still Fighting The War.Support for this series comes from Cal Humanities, as part of the War Comes Home initiative. 

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Community
12:16 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Earlimart Anti-Pesticide Advocate Teresa De Anda Remembered As Fearless Leader

Teresa De Anda stands across her childhood home in Earlimart. This land across the street was bare for a short while after the grape fields that were there for many decades were removed to plant almond trees.
Credit Tracy Perkins

Environmental justice advocate, pesticide warrior and lifelong Earlimart resident Teresa De Anda is recalled as a “true inspiration” and “tireless leader”.

De Anda, 55, passed away last week after battling with liver cancer. The Central Valley advocate who shed a light on the health impacts of pesticide drift leaves behind seven children and eight grandchildren.

One of her daughters, Valerie Gorospe, says her mother’s passion will live on through others.

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Community
10:56 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Teatro Azteca: Dreaming Up Spanish Language Theater In Fresno

Laura Barboza has dreamed of opening a theater since she was a child.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

The United States is dominated by box office hits played at megaplexes with sometimes as many as 21 plus screens, but no more than a few decades ago film venues looked very different especially for the Latino community. But today in Fresno, one young woman has taken on the task to reopen the region’s only Spanish language theater.

Thirty years ago, the main hall of Teatro Azteca in Fresno’s Chinatown was filled with the sounds of famous Spanish language actors, singers and comedians.

Think Cantinflas, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin. 

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Community
3:08 pm
Tue September 30, 2014

Fresno Group Wants To Solve Blight Of Boarded Up Homes

Credit Faith in Community

If you drive through many older parts of Fresno or other cities throughout the valley, chances are you'll see a number of boarded up homes. In many cases, they're not just an unsightly issue but one tied to everything from public safety to property values. Now a faith-based group Faith in Community has launched a new effort to find a solution to this problem, with an event called Blight to Light. We recently spoke about the project with Janine Nkosi, a Fresno State professor whose students are working to document the city's many blighted properties.

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History
5:35 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Old Fresno County Courthouse Relic To Get New Home At Fairgrounds

Representatives of the Big Fresno Fair and the Fresno Historical Society gather to announce the restoration of the cupola and plans for the new museum.
Big Fresno Fair

The cupola that once sat on top of the dome of the old Fresno County Courthouse from 1895 to 1966 will soon have a new home. Representatives of the Big Fresno Fair and the Fresno Historical Society announced Tuesday that the relic will be restored and placed on top of a planned expansion of the Big Fresno Fair Museum at the fairgrounds. 

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Robert Oliver said the project will preserve an important part of Fresno County's historic and it's judicial system. 

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Community
5:21 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

Disabled Veterans Scale Yosemite Peaks in 9/11 Tribute

Cody Elliott, a disabled veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, climbs Ranger Rock in Yosemite Valley.
Credit NPS Photo

A group of disabled veterans is paying tribute to 9/11 today—not at the memorial in New York, but in Yosemite National Park.

Lasting injuries and prosthetic limbs won’t hold these thirteen veterans back.  They’re hiking and rock climbing to the tops of iconic peaks like El Capitan, Royal Arches, and Ranger Rock—and they’ll all reach the summit today. Some of the ascents, like El Capitan, are known to be extremely challenging even for climbers at their prime.

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Community
6:55 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

New Complaint Alleges Unfair Labor Practices At Gerawan Farming

Credit Gerawan Farming

The ongoing dispute between the United Farm Workers union and a major valley farming company has reached a new level.

Earlier today the General Counsel of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board filed a complaint alleging that Gerawan Farming forced workers to participate in an effort to decertify the union.

In the complaint the counsel alleges that the company’s unfair labor practices have unlawfully tainted the decertification process.

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Community
2:55 pm
Tue September 9, 2014

Clovis Has An MRAP. Is That OK With You?

Clovis PD received their MRAP last September and have used it sparingly, says Captain Mike Casida.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

The August 9 shooting death of Michael Brown, a black unarmed teenager, by a white Ferguson police officer resulted in multiple violent protests in Middle America. The way police handled the situation with equipment like armored vehicles has left communities questioning the use of military grade weapons by local law enforcement. FM89’s Ezra David Romero climbs into one of these machines in an unsuspected Valley city. 

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Community
12:50 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Fulton Mall At 50: When Things Don't Go According To Plan

Fresno's Fulton Mall was once a national model for urban revitalization. But the dream for a new Fresno unraveled quickly.

Fifty years ago this month, Fresno captured national headlines by closing its main street to the automobile and opening the Fulton Mall. This six-block long pedestrian only plaza was supposed to be the centerpiece of an ambitious plan for urban renewal, and the growth of the entire region. It was supposed to save Fresno from the evils of urban decay, suburban sprawl, and air pollution. Yet the result was exactly the opposite. How and why did that happen?

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History
10:52 am
Tue August 26, 2014

New Book Tells Story Of Early California Stagecoach Days

The Stagecoach In Northern California: Rough Rides, Gold Camps and Daring Drivers by Cheryl Ann Stapp
Credit The History Press

Imagine for a moment a trip from the valley through the foothills of the Sierra Nevada. You'll likely picture a windy road that meanders through dry golden hills marked by large oaks, granite outcroppings and the occasional settlement.

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Community
4:05 pm
Tue August 19, 2014

In Groveland, Community Healing Puts Rim Fire in the Past

Lydia Berwick kept serving at the Mountain Sage Cafe as the Rim Fire crept closer to Groveland.
Diana Aguilera Valley Public Radio

Nine months after the Rim Fire tore through the nearby forest, Kevin Reynolds and Randi Jones decided to live out a dream.

Reynolds: "We kind of wanted to rise from the ashes just to let people know there are still opportunities out there."

The two of them opened an old-fashioned meat market they had envisioned before the fire hit. Instead of being scared by the fire the couple says they were inspired.

Reynolds: The fire really didn’t affect our decision to open a meat market.  We knew that there may be some issues but people still need to eat.  

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Community
11:47 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Fresno Chef Gets New Start With High Speed Rail

Katch Environmental recently hired 24 men to work on lead and asbestos removal along the High Speed Rail Corridor
http://katchenvironmental.com/

Daniel Ruiz moved with his family from Seattle to Fresno to take care of his parents about a year ago. But found it really hard to find a job.

“I pretty much was on the verge of going homeless.," Ruiz says. "I’m a family man with three children."

He looked up and down the Valley for any descent paying job, but found none.   

“The job situation wasn’t looking good,”  Ruiz says.  "I started doubting myself. The jobs that were hiring were very part time at very low pay and I was starting to worry. I didn’t know where I was going to go week to week.”

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Community
5:30 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Fresno Fire Department Looking Into Serial Arson in Fresno's Downtown Fires

Firefighters contain a fire at an abandoned warehouse in downtown Fresno on May 17, 2014.
Credit Kerry Klein

 

The Fresno Fire Department believes it is battling a serial arsonist.  At a budget hearing on Tuesday, Fresno Fire Department Chief Kerri Donis said the fire and police departments are investigating 21 fires that have occurred in the city since May.

Most of the fires occurred in vacant buildings in downtown Fresno.  In one building, a severed gas line appears to have been left in the “on” position.  Fire Department spokesman Koby Johns has confirmed that geographical and chronological factors appear to connect at least 4 of the fires.

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Community
12:20 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

On the Way to November Ballot, Fresno Chaffee Zoo Hits Funding Hurdle

Fresno's Chaffee Zoo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In 2004, an initiative called Measure Z saved Fresno's Chaffee Zoo.  The voter-­approved measure allowed for an increase in county sales tax by one tenth of one percent.  Those 10 cents from every $100 spent in Fresno County prevented the zoo from raising its entry fees, while allowing it to make crucial repairs and add new exhibits, like Sea Lion Cove and African Adventure.

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Community
11:39 am
Tue May 27, 2014

Returning Home, Valley LGBT Veterans Fight Another War

John Coffee and his partner Brock Neely at the Rotary Veterans Park of Porterville, Calif.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

This report is the first in the Valley Public Radio series "Common Threads: Veterans Still Fighting The War.Support for this series comes from Cal Humanities, as part of the War Comes Home initiative. 

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