Community

Community
5:01 pm
Fri April 24, 2015

Fresno State Unveils Armenian Genocide Monument

Over 1,000 people gathered for ceremonies dedicating the Armenian Genocide Monument at Fresno State Thursday night.
Credit 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.

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Community
1:17 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Fresno Armenian Community To Mark Genocide Centennial

An artist's rendering the Fresno State Armenian Genocide Monument

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.

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Community
6:04 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Gas Pipeline Blast In Fresno Injures Nearly A Dozen People

A natural gas pipeline explosion near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue in Fresno injured over a dozen people on Friday afternoon at a local shooting range.
Credit 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. 

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Drought
3:44 pm
Mon April 13, 2015

Taps Run Dry in Fairmead, “Watch, I Get Nothing”

Thelma Williams home has been without running water for seven years.
Credit 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.

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Community
12:08 pm
Thu April 9, 2015

Injured Fresno Firefighter Inspires International Support

In this screen capture from a Facebook video, the Rocklin, CA fire department turns their "lights on" in honor of Pete Dern.
Credit 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:

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Transportation
3:17 pm
Wed April 8, 2015

Finally, A Public Bus System From Fresno To Yosemite

Credit 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.

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Immigration
5:07 pm
Thu April 2, 2015

Feds Transfer Immigrants To New Detention Center In Bakersfield

The detention center, a former prison, will house up to 300 men and 100 women who are awaiting their final outcome of their immigration proceedings.
Credit 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.

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Community
6:38 pm
Tue March 31, 2015

Cesar Chavez: The Next Catholic Saint?

Credit 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.

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My Valley, My Story
10:27 am
Wed March 25, 2015

My Valley, My Story: What It's Like To Get Sick In London, California

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. 

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Community
6:01 pm
Thu February 26, 2015

One Group's Vision To Tackle Homelessness: Creating Eco-Friendly Shelters

he Dakota Eco Garden has created an eco shelter for the homeless. The tiny unit generates its own heat and air conditioning.
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.

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Community
12:12 pm
Tue February 24, 2015

McFarland Residents Cheer As Movie Makes Bakersfield Debut

The Disney film "McFarland, USA" is a fictionalized story based on the real-life McFarland High School cross country team and their coach Jim White, played here by Kevin Costner.
Credit 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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Sports
6:00 pm
Wed February 11, 2015

Former Fresno State Star Chris Herren Shares Memories Of Jerry Tarkanian

Former Fresno State basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died on Wednesday at age 84.
Credit Fresno State Athletic Department

On Wednesday former Fresno State men’s basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian died at age 84. The man affectionately known as “Tark the Shark” was one of the winningest coaches in the history of college hoops and won the 1990 national championship while at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. But he was also a source of near constant controversy, thanks to frequent run-ins with the NCAA during three coaching stints at Long Beach State, UNLV and at finally at Fresno State, his alma mater.

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Community
5:46 pm
Wed January 21, 2015

Local Police Say New Rape Definition Could Increase Reported Cases

The Fresno Police Department, along with other local law enforcement agencies, are now required to use a broader definition of rape when reporting to the FBI.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Starting this year, law enforcement agencies are changing the way they report certain crimes to the FBI. Fm89’s Diana Aguilera explains why this could lead to an increase in reported cases of rape.

The U.S. Department of Justice is now requiring that all law enforcement agencies use a new broader definition of rape when reporting crimes to the FBI. In the past, agencies defined rape as the carnal knowledge of a female, forcibly and against her will.

Lt. Jeff Motoyasu with the Fresno Police Department says the new definition is much broader and isn’t gender specific.  

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Sheriff
12:42 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

On Valley Edition: Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims Talks 2014, Looks To 2015

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims
Credit http://www.fresnosheriff.org/admin/sheriff.html

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims began her third term in office last week. Since she became sheriff in 2006, law enforcement and criminal justice have seen massive changes: big budget cuts, mandatory jail releases, realignment and sentencing reform.

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Community
6:12 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

46,200 Immigrants Apply For Driver Licenses In First Three Days Of New Law

The DMV predicts about 1.4 million undocumented immigrants to apply for driver licenses under AB 60.
Credit CA Department of Motor Vehicles

Thousands of California immigrants are taking advantage of the state’s new driver license law. According to new numbers released today, 46,200 undocumented immigrants have applied for driver licenses during the first three days since the law took effect on Friday.

The Department of Motor Vehicles revealed the following statistics:

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Veterans
12:16 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

In Merced, Yoga And Facebook Help One Marine With The Residue of War

Navpreet Sandher instructs yoga multiple times a week in Merced. He first learned to appreciate the practice while on duty in Afghanistan.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Reintegrating into society after war for many veterans is an isolating experience.

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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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