Community

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Do you know that moment when you’re driving north on Interstate 5 through the Tehachapi Mountains when the wide expanse of the San Joaquin Valley comes into view?

On a clear day, it’s an impressive sight. But next time you’re there - look around. Most of what you see, from the hills down to the valley floor is a part of the Tejon Ranch –the largest privately owned piece of land in California.

And it’s here – right at the base of the mountains, where Interstate 5 and Highway 99 meet that developers from the ranch are planning a new town – known simply as Grapevine.
 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Generations of Fresno residents have heard stories about the mysterious underground world of Fresno's 19th century Chinatown. Was it a world of illicit activity, with a network of subterranean tunnels? Archeologists with the state's high speed rail authority are hoping to shed some new light on this dark and forgotten part of Fresno's history. 

Last week archeologists gathered in Fresno’s historic Chinatown to sift through soil with a hope of unearthing century-old artifacts just yards from the future bullet train.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Up and down the valley, many cities have historic signs or archways which welcome visitors to town. Modesto's arch promotes a city filled with "Water Wealth Contentment and Health." Clovis proudly proclaims itself as the "Gateway to the Sierras," and Bakersfield makes a bold statement with its arch off of Buck Owens Boulevard. Fresno has its own historic archway, but as FM89's Joe Moore reports, it may soon need a new home.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

 Cinnamon has lived in a make-shift structure near the grain silos, west of Palm Avenue and H Street, for more than two years. She says the homeless encampment there is different from others that have cropped up in downtown Fresno.

“We’re not a camp, we’re a neighborhood, a family,” she said. “We all look out for each other.”

The encampment has rules. For example, the residents decide – together – if a new person could move in.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The City of Visalia is known to many as the small town with the good restaurants on the way to the giant sequoias. Its bustling downtown district is home to a thriving music scene and dozens of shops and entertainment venues. But less than a mile to the north, in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Lincoln Oval Park is home to a much different Visalia. It’s ground zero for the city’s homeless population.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The first of two long awaited California Veterans Home’s opened today. Over 200 veterans, advocates and their families toured the Fresno Veterans Home. A similar event will be held in Redding next Friday.

Construction of the Fresno veterans home began during the spring of 2010, but the project stalled due to a lack of funds.

In 2011, Henry T. Perea introduced The Veterans Home Savings Act to restore funding to the project. The Fresno home cost an estimated $250,000.

Road Trip To Collect Dust Bowl Stories on 75th Anniversary of 'Grapes of Wrath'

Oct 2, 2013
Dorothea Lange / National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Bureau of Agricultural Economics

A group of artists is gearing up for a cross-country road trip that will end in California. It's part of a project to mark the 75th anniversary of John Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath." Steve Milne reports.

The trip starts Friday in Oklahoma, retracing the path the Joad family took along Route 66 in "The Grapes of Wrath" with stops in New Mexico, Arizona and Texas.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For most of the past century, the building that sits on the southwest corner of Fresno and G Streets in downtown Fresno has been passed down from generation to generation.

“My family has owned the property since right after the turn of the century,” says Gary Lanfranco , owner of the Cosmopolitan Bar and Grill. His father passed along the restaurant to him in 1968.

“In 1933 when prohibition was repealed my father and uncle came here and started The Cosmopolitan Tavern, previous to that it was a boarding house.”

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A fire and explosion inside a food vendor's trailer at Fresno Christian High School sent two men to the hospital and injured another on Friday night. 

Just before 6:30 p.m. a blast from a 20-gallon propane tank sent shrapnel as far as 150 feet across Alluvial Avenue. The explosion ripped off the roof and the sides of the trailer, where vendors were serving food prior to the start of a football game on campus. Officials with the Fresno Fire Department say that prior to the explosion employees detected a propane leak and a fire.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

On Monday morning, Pastor Ray Polk comforted a man who was packing up everything he owned.

“You alright?” Polk asked. As the man expressed his pain and frustration, Polk replied, “I know, I know, I know, we got to keep going forward.”

Along H Street in Downtown Fresno, the homeless were stuffing their possessions into plastic bags and shopping carts, as city workers bulldozed and raked the debris left behind.

Yesterday, City of Fresno workers dismantled the third homeless encampment in three weeks. Overall, the effort has displaced a total of about 250 people.

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