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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.

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.

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.  

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.

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:

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Long abandoned and once nearly demolished, Fresno City College's newly restored Old Administration Building (OAB) is now the recipient of a prestigious national award. The National Trust For Historic Preservation announced Wednesday that it has awarded the project its Preservation Honor Award. It is one of 17 projects nationwide to receive the award, which is one of the nation's top historic preservation honors. 

Tim Mikulski with the National Trust says the OAB is significant both in Fresno's history, and in the development of school architecture nationally:

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This report is the second piece 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. 

Tracy Perkins

Environmental justice advocate, pesticide warrior and lifelong Earlimart resident Teresa De Anda is recalled as a “true inspiration” and “tireless leader”.

De Anda, 55, passed away last week after battling with liver cancer. The Central Valley advocate who shed a light on the health impacts of pesticide drift leaves behind seven children and eight grandchildren.

One of her daughters, Valerie Gorospe, says her mother’s passion will live on through others.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The United States is dominated by box office hits played at megaplexes with sometimes as many as 21 plus screens, but no more than a few decades ago film venues looked very different especially for the Latino community. But today in Fresno, one young woman has taken on the task to reopen the region’s only Spanish language theater.

Thirty years ago, the main hall of Teatro Azteca in Fresno’s Chinatown was filled with the sounds of famous Spanish language actors, singers and comedians.

Think Cantinflas, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin. 

Faith in Community

If you drive through many older parts of Fresno or other cities throughout the valley, chances are you'll see a number of boarded up homes. In many cases, they're not just an unsightly issue but one tied to everything from public safety to property values. Now a faith-based group Faith in Community has launched a new effort to find a solution to this problem, with an event called Blight to Light. We recently spoke about the project with Janine Nkosi, a Fresno State professor whose students are working to document the city's many blighted properties.

Big Fresno Fair

The cupola that once sat on top of the dome of the old Fresno County Courthouse from 1895 to 1966 will soon have a new home. Representatives of the Big Fresno Fair and the Fresno Historical Society announced Tuesday that the relic will be restored and placed on top of a planned expansion of the Big Fresno Fair Museum at the fairgrounds. 

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Robert Oliver said the project will preserve an important part of Fresno County's historic and it's judicial system. 

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