Community

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. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A statewide renters’ rights organization has filed a class action suit against JD Homes Rentals for operating what it calls ‘slum’ rental housing in Fresno. FM89’s Rebecca Plevin reports:

Jesucita Esteves grew up in one of JD Homes’ rental homes.

ESTEVES: “We were living in ugly conditions. Our rooms were full of mold. Our carpet wasn’t even carpet anymore, it was like dirt. It was nasty.” 

Fresno ranks as the nation's 24th most livable city for those under 35, according to a new ranking by the website Vocativ. The city rated high for its cost of living and relatively youthful population.

The second book in ‘Homegrown,’ Valley Public Radio’s book club about the San Joaquin Valley, is ‘What You See in the Dark,’ by Dinuba native Manuel Muñoz.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The craft distilling industry, much like the craft brewing industry, is taking off across the nation. The trend is on par in the San Joaquin Valley as well, a region where experts say there are more unauthorized distillers than legal – a sign that the region may see a boom in legal distilleries just like it has with craft beer.  And when Governor Brown signed AB 933 in September, craft distilleries in California came out ahead with the newly gained ability to offer tastings.

---

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

  This year, the first day of Hanukkah falls on Thanksgiving. This once-in-a-lifetime holiday, that’s being called Thanksgivukkah, won’t occur again for another 70,000 some years, according to experts.

Andy Karsh, owner of Karsh’s Catering and Zen Wok Fusion in Fresno’s Tower District, developed a special menu that combines the rich culinary traditions of the two holidays. He’ll teach us how to cook these dishes during Valley Edition on Nov. 26.

 Tursket (Turkey and Brisket)

‘What You See In The Dark,’ by Dinuba native Manuel Munoz, is the next book in Valley Public Radio’s ‘Homegrown’ book club.

The novel follows a director and actress who arrive in Bakersfield in the late 1950s to film a movie at a motel along the old Highway 99. Meanwhile, a love affair between the motel owner’s son and a Mexican-American woman becomes dramatic and deadly. The story is tied to the movie ‘Psycho,’ which includes scenes filmed along the 99 between Bakersfield and Fresno.

Mariner Books

California's Central Valley will be forever linked in history with the story of the Dust Bowl. Cities like Bakersfield and Fresno were the final destination for many who fled Oklahoma and nearby states during the 1930's - an era of dust storms, drought and the Great Depression. But what about those who stayed behind? And did John Steinbeck get the story right in his novel "The Grapes of Wrath?"

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

For almost a year, Nancy Holmes and Sinamon Blake were neighbors in a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno.

But city employees bulldozed their camp a few weeks ago, in an effort to rid the city of illegal structures. The two friends, and the other residents of their camp, scattered. Nancy and Sinamon ended up on a huge, dusty piece of land outside the city's jurisdiction.

“I didn’t care for the path that Sinamon found us, but damn, we were safe,” says Nancy, 61, a borderline diabetic with asthma.

She lasted there for about two weeks.

In the world of sports,  controversies over logos aren't unusual. The Washington Redskins and Cleveland Indians have long been the subject of protests from Native American groups. Even high school teams aren't immune from such issues. But closer to home there’s another sort of debate over the logo for the sports teams from Fresno State - the Bulldog. In this case the debate isn’t about alleged racism, it’s about violence, and a street gang that has appropriated the logo for its own use. 

Pages