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http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/robinson/ / Library of Congress - public domain

Before he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson nearly wound up as multi-sport star for the Fresno State Bulldogs.

In a move that would likely run afoul of today's NCAA recruiting regulations, the school offered the star a number of incentives in an attempt to lure Robinson to the campus, including a new set of tires for his aging 1931 Plymouth.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Sergio and Ashley Cortes knock on a door in a run-down apartment building near downtown Fresno.

Sergio Cortes greets the young woman that cautiously cracks open the door. Ashley Cortes stands behind her husband, clasping a clipboard, ready to take notes.

“We’re basically doing canvassing of apartment complexes owned by JD Homes, and we want to talk to the tenants to see if they have any problems with JD Homes, like any stuff that’s not being fixed, anything that’s broken,” Sergio Cortes says.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Army National Guard is deploying about 50 soldiers as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.  

About a hundred medics, pilots and mechanics from California, Nevada, and Washington are flying out today. This is the third such deployment for Sylvester Wilson. He’s from Rancho Cordova, near Sacramento.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Author Tim Z. Hernandez was digging through old newspapers at the Fresno County library when a dramatic headline from the late 1940s captured his attention.

“I stumbled upon this headline that said, ‘100 people see a ship plunge to the earth’ or something like that. It was just really a captivating headline. I instantly realized after reading it that it had to be tied into Woody Guthrie’s song, says Hernandez. 

Ezra Romero / Valley Public Radio

The food truck, once known for dreaded boring prepackaged sandwiches or carne asada tacos, has taken a turn for the better. The trucks have gone gourmet.

They no longer do boring. In fact, many food trucks across the nation have created infusions of local produce with a unique and somewhat international flare.

The evolution of the roach coach hit Fresno in 2012 in the form of what locals call CartHop. The traveling band of six local gourmet food vendors meet in three locations for lunch across Fresno and plan to open the door even wider to foodies in 2013.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A national expert on public markets toured Fresno today to explore the potential of creating a year-round indoor market for the valley’s agricultural and prepared food products. 

The bottom two floors of a downtown parking garage, once home to the Gottschalks department store, could become the home of a new indoor public market for produce, baked goods and other food items, according to officials with the city of Fresno.

New Report Gives A Snapshot of California

Jan 2, 2013

California has the ninth largest economy in the world, its workers are staying unemployed longer and home prices are rising. These are a few of the tidbits in a new report by the state’s non-partisan Legislative Analyst.  

The Legislative Analyst gives us California in a snapshot.  The state’s economy is number nine, right between Italy and Russia.  

Most people know Bakersfield's Doug Davis as one of the San Joaquin Valley's top jazz musicians and educators. And while he's written music ranging from jazz to classical, his latest project takes him away from the keyboard of his grand piano, and instead to a keyboard of a different sort. 

Caltrans

Plans to connect Bakersfield's Westside Parkway across Highway 99 to Highway 58 are becoming clearer today, as Caltrans has selected what it calls a "preferred alternative" for the proposed Centennial Corridor freeway.

The alignment, known as "Option B" would travel west from the current Highway 58 interchange across Highway 99 though the West Park neighborhood. The freeway's path would then turn northwest, crossing both Stockdale Highway and Truxtun, in order to connect with the Westside Parkway near Mohawk Street.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Downtown Fresno's Fulton Mall has a different look this season, as a new outdoor ice rink is earning rave reviews from residents of all ages. Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore has this report. 

Just a few days before downtown Fresno's newest winter attraction was set to open, Christy Gordon didn't think it would happen. 

"You know on Wednesday it was just so hot. Just walking to the office which is right by here, I thought, 'I don't know how they're going to pull that off.'"

Three people are dead following a shooting at the Valley Protein Plant in Central Fresno, including the alleged shooter.

The shooting took place at around 8:30 a.m. at the meat processing plant located near Blackstone and Hedges Avenues. The facility is also known as Apple Valley Farms.

The shooter, 42 year old Lawrence Jones, died of what is being described as a self inflicted gunshot wound. 

Fresno mayor Ashley Swearengin issued the following statement on the shooting:

Hundreds of California first responders and utility crews are on the East Coast helping in the recovery efforts after Superstorm Sandy. 

More than four million people on the east coast are still without power. But utility crews from PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric are helping in the restoration efforts. Tim Bedford is Incident Commander with PG&E. He and 162 workers are helping restore power in Flushing New York. Bedford says it may take longer than the original two weeks they anticipated.

Moule & Polyzoides, Architects and Urbanists

The City of Fresno's effort to draft a vision for a revitalized downtown hit a roadblock on Tuesday, after the Fresno City Council rejected a proposal to allocate an additional $70,000 to the project on a 4-3 vote. 

A 5.3 magnitude earthquake struck central California late Saturday night, according to the U.S. Geologic Survey. The quake, which was felt in Fresno and throughout the Central Valley struck at 11:55 p.m. and was centered 30 miles northwest of Coalinga.  Info from the USGS:

http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/eventpage/nc71863625#summary

The Los Angeles Times reports that a Fresno police investigation into the alcohol related death of 18-year-old Fresno State student Philip Dhanens is focusing on allegations of hazing. The Times reports that members of the Theta Chi fraternity, who held the party at which Dhanens reportedly consumed alcohol, are not cooperating with the investigation.

Courtesy Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park officials announced today that missing 23-year-old park employee Jessica Garcia has been found alive. 

Search and rescue crews located the missing employee on Tuesday in a rugged area around two miles from the South Fork Drainage of the Merced River.

Garcia was reported missing after she failed to show up to work on Sunday. She was last seen near Wawona on Saturday. 

From the official press release:

National Parks Service

President Obama announced today that he will visit Kern County next Monday to declare the headquarters of the late United Farm Workers union co-founder César Chávez a national monument. The Chávez compound in the small community of Keene, located in the Tehachapi hills east of Bakersfield served as the home for both the UFW and Chávez for several decades. 

Fresno County's efforts at integrating new immigrants into the overall population fall short when compared with the rest of the state.

That's the finding of a new report by the University of Southern California's Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration. 

The study measures a variety of indicators including the economic impact of immigrants in the local economy, educational performance, the warmth of welcome by the community at large, and civic engagement.

Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user locomotion / http://www.flickr.com/photos/locomotion/3556879530

Bakersfield may become the latest California city to consider loosening laws against raising chickens in residential backyards.

The Bakersfield Californian reports that the city's Legislative and Litigation Committee discussed the idea at a meeting on Tuesday. It's currently illegal to keep chickens in most residential areas in the city.

The Hanford Sentinel reports that one of the San Joaquin Valley's last drive-in movie theatres may close after the end of the summer season, thanks to a rash of vandalism, and pressures for development.

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