Community

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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Sports
8:17 pm
Tue May 6, 2014

Sam Spear Talks California Chrome And Triple Crown

California Chrome
Credit Courtesy Kentucky Derby Twitter feed

Legendary Bay Area horse racing personality and broadcaster Sam Spear joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the biggest story in the sport in years - the horse named California Chrome. Led by jockey Victor Espinoza, the San Joaquin Valley born-and-bred horse easily won last Saturday's Kentucky Debry, and is now the favorite for this month's Preakness at Pimlico in Baltimore. We talked with Spear about what Chrome means for California racing and the sport as a whole. 

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Community
11:34 am
Tue May 6, 2014

Fresno County's California Chrome Eyes Triple Crown

Jockey Victor Espinoza rides California Chrome to a victory during the 140th running of the Kentucky Derby.
Official Kentucky Derby twitter account

After winning the Kentucky Derby without breaking a sweat, California Chrome is one step closer to horse racing’s ultimate but elusive goal - the Triple Crown.

The San Joaquin Valley grown colt blew away the field at Saturday's 140th running of the Kentucky Derby. His 77-year-old trainer, Art Sherman, is now the oldest trainer to win the Derby.

Reid Cherner with USA Today has covered nearly 20 years of horse racing and says the race was over when the gates opened.

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Community
7:00 pm
Fri May 2, 2014

Kentucky Derby Favorite California Chrome Owes Success To Valley Roots

California Chrome as a yearling.
Harris Farms

It’s every horse owners' dreams. A fairy tale come true.

A modest and agile colt with four white feet and a giant white blaze on his chestnut face born in the San Joaquin Valley is now the favorite in Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Just a month ago at the Santa Anita Derby, California Chrome dominated the field.

That win in Southern California is just the latest chapter in a remarkable story that has its roots in Fresno County. David McGlothlin, gave me a tour of where it all began, at the Harris Farms in western Fresno County.

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Community
2:34 pm
Thu May 1, 2014

Photos: Art Deco Architecture In The San Joaquin Valley

Fresno's County Hall of Records has some of the most impressive Art Deco sculptural reliefs in the San Joaquin Valley
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

May is National Historic Preservation Month, and the City of Fresno is celebrating with a slate of events that honor the city's unique architectural heritage. The events include a walking tour of New Deal-era Fresno, and the many Art Deco landmarks that dot the downtown area.

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Community
3:55 pm
Tue April 15, 2014

Creative Fresno Celebrates 10 Years

Creative Fresno has
Credit Courtesy Creative Fresno

Back in the mid 1980’s writer and urban planner Charles Landry was the first to describe how creativity and specifically those involved in creative professions could transform a city – something he called the Creative Cities movement.

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Community
4:04 pm
Fri April 11, 2014

New Drought Fund To Support Those Most In Need

Credit http://www.fresnoregfoundation.org/_blog/Letters_from_the_CEO

The drought in California is predicted to severely affect communities all over the Valley and many are wondering what they can do to help.

In order to provide assistance to those in need of emergency aid, the Fresno Regional Foundation has launched the “Central Valley Drought Relief Fund.” The local philanthropic organization hopes to distribute the funds raised to local organizations.

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Community
9:28 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Fresno Zoo's Four Malayan Tiger Cubs Vital To Species

Fresno Chaffee Facebook http://www.facebook.com/fresnochaffeezoo

Fresno has four new celebrities - Berani, Cinta, Arya and Batari. They're four Malayan tigers, born in January at the zoo. Only 500 of these tigers are known to exist in the wild today, and their birth is an important part of the survival of this species. 

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo's Assistant Curator Lynn Myers joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the breeding program, and how the public can see the cubs at the zoo.We also talked about the death just days ago of the father of the cubs, a 17 year-old male named Paka.

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History
11:43 am
Tue March 18, 2014

Memories Of Bakersfield's Underground "Tunnels" Remain Vivid

Tegler Hotel building in downtown Bakersfield is one of the sites old-timers recall as being part of a network of connected basements or "tunnels"
Credit Joe Moore / Va

Deep beneath the oldest part of Bakersfield lies a hidden world, unknown to most, and forgotten by many. Yet some still have vivid memories of these underground passages or "tunnels" as some people describe them. 

These connected basements, and the activities that took place "underground" - gambling, brothels, blue movies, are not just the stuff of legend, they're still very real in the minds of many older Kern County residents.

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Community
11:13 am
Tue February 4, 2014

"Who Am I?" Hmong Youth Face Choices Between Religion And Culture

Thousands of youth flocked to the Fresno Fair Grounds for Hmong New Year. #Iamhmong
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The question of “Who am I?” is a normal insecurity for teens and it’s a no brainer that Hmong youth in Central California would face a similar struggle. They’re grappling with the tribal religions of their refugee parents, other faiths encountered in the U.S., and the pressures of conforming to popular culture. Some have clung to the tribal ways of their ancestors, while others have lost faith altogether. Valley Public Radio Reporter Ezra David Romero visits with a group of Fresno Hmong high school students to bring you a glimpse into their struggle.

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Sports
4:29 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

A Tale Of Two (Hockey) Cities: Bakersfield And Fresno Face Different ECHL Futures

Ice hockey fans cheered the Fresno Falcons for only a few games in 2007 before the team went out of business.
Credit SMG - Fresno Convention Center

The last seven days have been significant ones for local ice hockey fans. Last week, the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL announced that the team has been acquired by the NHL’s Edmonton Oliers. Fans and local officials hope the change will help give a boost to the popular franchise in many ways.

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Community
11:17 am
Tue January 28, 2014

In Tulare County, Redbox Inspires Vending Machines For Books

Children line up at multiple library vending machine sites.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

In rural Tulare County school libraries are small, and in many towns public libraries are nonexistent. While eBooks and eReaders continue to be one of the hottest trends in education, these same small towns often struggle with a persistent digital divide between the haves and the have nots. But as Ezra David Romero reports, officials with the Tulare County Library system are now using a different sort of  technology to help improve literacy and help kids develop a lifelong love of reading.

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Community
4:41 pm
Fri January 17, 2014

Bilingual Storybook Is Newest Weapon In Fight Against Human Trafficking

This bilingual 'fotonovela' is intended to educate people about human trafficking.
Rebecca Plevin Valley Public Radio

A local organization has developed a bilingual storybook – or fotonovela, in Spanish – to educate Fresno County residents about human trafficking.

The book is, “something they can take home, use, read, re-read, share it with others, share it with their families,” said Margarita Rocha, executive director of Centro La Familia Advocacy Services, as she introduced the book this morning at the Mexican Consulate in Fresno. “It’s a very powerful tool.”

It’s designed like a comic book, with bright pictures and quote bubbles. But the subject matter is serious. 

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