Community

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. 

NPS Photo

A group of disabled veterans is paying tribute to 9/11 today—not at the memorial in New York, but in Yosemite National Park.

Lasting injuries and prosthetic limbs won’t hold these thirteen veterans back.  They’re hiking and rock climbing to the tops of iconic peaks like El Capitan, Royal Arches, and Ranger Rock—and they’ll all reach the summit today. Some of the ascents, like El Capitan, are known to be extremely challenging even for climbers at their prime.

Gerawan Farming

The ongoing dispute between the United Farm Workers union and a major valley farming company has reached a new level.

Earlier today the General Counsel of the Agricultural Labor Relations Board filed a complaint alleging that Gerawan Farming forced workers to participate in an effort to decertify the union.

In the complaint the counsel alleges that the company’s unfair labor practices have unlawfully tainted the decertification process.

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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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?

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.

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.

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