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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.  

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.”

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.

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.

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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