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For the first time ever, the Smithsonian Institution is honoring a Latina in their “One Life Series.” The museum is featuring civil rights leader and farmworker activist Dolores Huerta with a special exhibit opening this week in Washington D.C. The “One Life: Dolores Huerta” will follow 13 years of her activism and focus on her role in the farmworker movement of the 1960s and 70s.

In this interview Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera chats with Huerta about this recent acknowledgment, her life and her years of activism.

Same-sex marriage supporters in the Central Valley are celebrating today after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide.

Gay and lesbians already have the right to marry in 36 states, including California, and the District of Columbia. But the court’s 5-4 ruling strikes down bans on same sex marriage in 14 states in the south and Midwest.

Jason Scott with Gay Fresno has been advocating in the Central Valley for this ruling for more than 10 years.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

The Smithsonian Institution is honoring California labor activist Dolores Huerta with a special exhibit opening next week. 

The National Portrait Gallery’s One Life series has honored 10 notable Americans everyone from Elvis Presley to Martin Luther King Jr. And now, Dolores Huerta.

The museum is honoring Huerta for her years of activism and her role in founding the United Farm Workers union with Cesar Chavez. Huerta is the first Latina in the series.

Ellie Koleen - elliekoleenphotography.com / Ampersand Ice Cream

The valley’s restaurant scene is bustling with new ventures all hoping to be the next big hit. The Fresno Bee's Bethany Clough recently joined us on Valley Edition to talk about new trends and restaurant openings in the area. From new gourmet ice cream in the Fresno High neighborhood to wine tasting and craft beer in Clovis, Bethany tells us what look for in local food trends, as well as one delicacy at a local restaurant that has people all over the valley talking.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozUc3Zace4g / https://www.facebook.com/GeneralVangPao

The Hmong are a resilient people. Forty years after many of them were outed from Laos they have scattered across the globe as refugees. In America the two largest populations of Hmong people are in the Central Valley and in Twin Cities, Minnesota.

In this interview KVPR’S Ezra David Romero chats with Fresno State Anthropologist Kao-Ly Yang who’s studied the Hmong people for decades. She says each of these communities mirrors the man who helped establish the Hmong people in each region.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Forty years ago the Hmong people began seeking refuge in the United States after the CIA recruited a guerrilla army of Hmong people to fight the North Vietnamese in Laos in what’s known as the Secret War. Before coming to the US they spent years in refugee camps in Thailand. Thousands of those refugees made it to America where their lives changed forever. FM89’s Ezra David Romero speaks with a Hmong family who made the journey and has no desire to return to their homeland. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Thousands of undocumented people gained work permits in 2012 as part of an Obama administration effort to shield young people from deportation. Now, as it comes time to renew their paperwork some of these same immigrants- known as “dreamers”- are losing the chance to work legally in the states. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports how some people in the Central Valley are left in limbo.

Brenda Ordaz, 22, describes herself as a country girl. She enjoys taking care of her roosters and living in the rural community of Madera. It’s the place she calls home.

Gallup

A new national survey indicates three Central Valley communities are among the worst in the nation when it comes to resident’s perception of safety.

A Gallup poll recently released shows that Fresno residents say they are the least likely to feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods. The Stockton-Lodi region and Bakersfield ranked second and third.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Hmong farmers from all over the country met in Fresno today to discuss current challenges, seek services and share farming tips. Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera reports how the group is now reaching other minority communities hoping to transcend cultural boundaries.

Hmong American farmers have held this type of conference for the last five years. It’s a place where small farmers can find the support and services they’re looking for. But now, it’s reaching farmers beyond the Hmong community. They’re joining forces with Latinos.

Chukou Thao spearheaded the movement.

Jason Scott / Valley Public Radio

Armenians around the world today are marking the centennial of the genocide which claimed over a million lives beginning in 1915. FM 89’s Jason Scott reports the San Joaquin Valley’s Armenian community is remembering the somber occasion with hopes for the future.

On Thursday, the Maple Mall at Fresno State became the center of remembrance of one of the most tragic tales of the 20th century, as the university unveiled its new Armenian Genocide Monument.

Paul Halajian, AIA

One hundred years ago this week, authorities of the Ottoman Empire rounded up hundreds of Armenian intellectuals and political leaders in Constantinople and executed them. One and a half million would eventually die in what we today know as the Armenian Genocide.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATE: Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has confirmed that two Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies were also injured, and has revised the injury total to 11 people.

ORIGINAL POST:

A natural gas explosion at the peace officers gun range in Fresno has left 14 injured, three critically. FM89's Joe Moore reports. 

A gas pipeline at the range ignited at around 2:30 PM this afternoon, shooting a massive wall of flames into the sky and shutting down traffic on Highway 99 near Herndon Avenue. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Reporters flocked to the Valley town of East Porterville last year where over 600 private wells went dry. This year many other towns are facing a similar plight, including the community of Fairmead. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero visits the community and finds an aging population with people whose basic needs are on the brink.

Rocklin Fire Department - Lights On for Pete Dern Facebook

Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern who was seriously injured last month when he fell through the roof of a burning building has helped inspire an international movement on social media.

The campaign called “Lights On For Pete Dern” has dozens of departments from across the nation posting videos to Facebook and Twitter of their engines fully illuminated in his honor.

Kerri Donis is the Fresno Fire Chief:

http://yarts.com/

This summer the Sierra Nevada will become a whole lot easier to access for park goers because of two new transportation systems. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports.

For the last 15 years the Yosemite Area Transportation System or YARTS has brought hikers, rock climbers and other nature seekers from Merced to Yosemite National Park. Beginning Memorial Day weekend this service will expand to include four buses a day from Fresno to Yosemite.

Google Map

The Central Valley is now home to a new detention center for immigrants facing deportation. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports.  

Federal officials have already moved around 60 people into the new center in Bakersfield since its doors opened two weeks ago.

Virginia Kice, a spokesperson for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says the Mesa Verde Detention Facility will house up to 400 people.

Cesar Chavez Foundation

People from all over the country are celebrating the life of Cesar Chavez today. He would have turned 88. Now as FM89’s Diana Aguilera explains, some are also using the late labor leader’s birthday to bring back a movement to make Chavez a Catholic saint.

Supporters of the civil rights activist say the canonization of Cesar Chavez is not a far-fetched idea. This past weekend at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in San Jose, where Chavez once lived, Father Jon Pedigo renewed the call for sainthood. He says Chavez performed miracles of social change worthy of a saint.

FM89's series My Valley, My Story features first person stories from people throughout the San Joaquin Valley. This week KVPR's Diana Aguilera visits London, an unincorporated town in rural  Tulare County with a population of nearly 2,000 people, to find out what it’s like to get sick when the nearest hospital is about 30 minutes away. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Fresno’s homeless problem has been at the forefront of many debates. But there’s one group in town that’s created a new model for homeless housing. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on the expansion of a housing project on Dakota Avenue.

Over a year ago Nancy Holmes had nowhere to go after she was evicted from a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno. Holmes ended up on a dusty piece of land on the west side of the city.

Disney

On its opening weekend, the movie McFarland, USA grossed more than $11 million at the box office, ranking No. 4 in the nation. Without a movie theater in their town, the people of McFarland have been flocking to Maya Cinemas in Bakersfield, 25 miles away, to attend several premiere events.

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