The City of Taft in western Kern County owes its existence to the oil industry. While the local economy has diversified, the energy industry is the still the primary economic engine of this small town, and every five years, locals throw a party to celebrate. This year, the Oildorado Days festival includes everything from an airshow and hot air balloon festival to the Oilstock music festival. On Valley Edition we spoke with one of the event's organizers, Shannon Jones about this year's activities and Taft's rich history.


A coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality California have joined together in an effort to change certain state laws they say criminalize people living with HIV.

At a forum held in Fresno last week, a dozen activist and medical professionals talked about a number of goals including reducing the penalty for intentionally spreading HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor.

The Central Valley is home to diverse communities, some who’ve migrated from all over the world for decades. But for one group, it’s the beginning of the first generation of people born in the Valley. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, with this comes the struggle of preserving a cultural identity while embracing growing up in the states.

At Danielle Uwaoma’s house in Clovis her living room is covered with traditional African drums and exotic masks.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Toro Nagashi is an ancient Buddhist ceremony which dates to the 7th century and is traditionally associated with the Obon season in Japan. In Fresno, the community will celebrate the event with a special event in Woodward Park near the Shinzen Japanese Garden on Saturday August 8th. At dusk hundreds of lighted paper lanterns will be released onto the lake, representing the spirits of loved ones.

Group Works To Develop Latino Leaders In High School

Jul 23, 2015
Chicano Latino Youth Leadership Project - Youtube

Latinos make up the largest segment of California’s population. Yet they have one of the smallest voter representations. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, one organization is trying to change that equation.

A group of Latino high school students stands on the steps of the state Capitol and yells out its identity.

“California’s future leaders! Who are you? California’s future leaders!”

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Immigrant advocates in Fresno say they’re fed up with a recent decision by the sheriff’s department to collaborate in new ways with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). As Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera reports, activists are demanding a change. 

Just last week Sheriff Margaret Mims announced a new program that allows two ICE agents to be stationed inside the Fresno County Jail. Federal agents can now check if inmates are in the country legally and can look at their criminal history to determine whether they should be deported.

The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno website

Local religious, education and law enforcement leaders recently gathered in Fresno for a talk about ISIS and Islam. Hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center, the event sought to dispel myths about the local Muslim community. Two guests from the panel joined us on Valley Edition to talk about concerns over homegrown extremist groups, efforts to work with law enforcement, and interfaith relations.


Imam Seyed Ali Ghazvini, Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno

Creative Commons

A major overhaul of electricity rates is coming to California. The state Public Utilities Commission voted last Friday to switch from a four tier billing system to two tier system. As a result some low-use customers may see their bills increase, while high-use customers may see reductions. The tiers must be in place by 2019.

Some artists are truly prolific. Composer Franz Joseph Haydn wrote over 100 symphonies. Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote over 450 books.

Our guest is nowhere near as famous as those two men, but he is just as prolific. He has taken over 300,000 photographs of life in Fresno since 1973. He is retired Fresno attorney Howard Watkins, and some of his best work is part of a new exhibit at Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library Elipse Gallery. It’s his first solo show, and it’s on display now through August 14th.


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.