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Kerry Klein / KVPR

The song “Burn, Baby Burn” was originally written about the Watts Riots – a series of deadly protests against police brutality in 1965 – but it later became a rallying cry for the civil rights movement after Martin Luther King, Jr.'s 1968 assassination. The songwriter, Jimmy Collier, now lives in Fresno. But in the 1960s, he worked alongside Dr. King, using his music to organize civil rights activists. He wrote about the experience in a book published last year on the Chicago Freedom Movement. Here, he speaks with reporter Kerry Klein about the book and what it was like to work with Dr.

Carmen Vargas

Every year in America, around 42,000 people kill themselves. Suicide is the second most common non-illness related cause of death, but prevention advocates say the issue remains hidden and stigmatized. Recently, a series of high-profile events have recently brought suicide into the spotlight in the Central Valley. Many suicide advocates are now saying that the key to prevention is talking about it.

Three Clovis West High School students, a newly elected Bakersfield City Councilmember, and a Bakersfield LGBT activist all have taken their own lives in the last six months.

Proterra

Communities like Kerman, Firebaugh, Selma and Kingsburg will soon have an eco friendly transit option. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

With a goal of improving air quality in the Valley the California Air Resources Board is providing funding for 15 zero-emission electric buses from a company called Proterra. Kent Leacock runs government relations for the group. He says the project will eliminate 15 tons of greenhouse gases in the region.

 

Kerry Klein/KVPR

A prominent migrant rights activist from Mexico spoke at Fresno State on Monday with insight into why Latin Americans flee and what can be done about it.

Father Alejandro Solalinde is a Catholic Priest from Central Mexico. He’s known for his dogged advocacy for the rights of Latin American migrants, who commonly suffer harassment, abuse and rape on their journey to the United States. He runs a shelter in the state of Oaxaca for migrants and was exiled from the country for two years following death threats.

Library For London Facebook

The Tulare County public library system is opening its 16th location this weekend.

The new branch will serve the rural unincorporated community of London, located near Dinuba and Kingsburg. The community’s 1,800 residents are predominately Latino, and almost half fall below the poverty line. County librarian Darla Wegener says London residents advocated hard for this branch.

"People know they need it and we believe they need it," she says, "and they’ve been just the most wonderful community to work with during this whole process."

Merced Rescue Mission / http://www.mercedrescuemission.org/about-us

Homelessness is a big problem throughout the valley. It’s not just in large cities like Bakersfield and Fresno though. Smaller towns and rural counties are facing their own challenges in serving those in need with food, shelter and often mental health and substance abuse treatment. But what happens when finding a place to do all those things runs into community opposition?

Google Street View / Google

EDITORS'S NOTE: As of Monday October 10, 2016 the hot meals program has reopened at a new location.

Original Post: 

The Merced County Rescue Mission is looking for a new home for its hot meals program.

The San Joaquin Valley is home to two of the nation's 100 largest cities with Fresno and Bakersfield. But it's the small towns like Kerman that make this part of the state such a unique place. Now Kerman farmer and community leader Paul Betancourt has written a new book about the history of this small farm town. He joined us to talk about the town's origins and unique history in the days of riverboats and steam engines. 

An LA-based company has formally announced plans for the first phase of renovations at the Manchester Center Mall in central Fresno. The company is beginning a multi-year renovation of the struggling mall.

Manchester’s owner Omninet Capital held a ceremonial ground-breaking in the parking lot of the mall today complete with local elected officials and retail advocates.

  Ben Nazarian, Omninet Managing Partner, says the first step is bringing in a Chipotle and Habit Burger into a new building in the mall’s west parking lot.

Steven Mayer / The Bakersfield Californian

Bakersfield Police have their hands full, as do most law enforcement agencies in the valley. But one neighborhood in the center of town is an especially troubling place. A 2 square-mile stretch of the city, bordered by California Avenue, Chester Ave, Brundage and Washington is home to 36 percent of the city’s gun homicides, 30 percent of the city’s shooting victims and one-quarter of all weapon firings.

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