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In-Depth

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Chinatown is one of Fresno’s oldest neighborhoods. From the city’s earliest days as a stop on the Central Pacific Railroad, to the 21st century, Chinatown has been a diverse community made up of immigrants who, in many cases, weren’t welcomed in other parts of Fresno. Locked in by railroad tracks on the east and Highway 99 to the west, the neighborhood is also the subject of renewed attention this year. Two of the state’s highest profile projects, high-speed rail and cap-and-trade, call it ground zero.

Military's Early Valley Fever Research Still Benefiting Public Health Today

Dec 5, 2017
Lemoore Army Flying School Class 43B yearbook

In the city of Lemoore, a community of 25,000 rising out of arid cropland in California’s San Joaquin Valley, almost everyone has a story about valley fever.

Take Frank Bernhardt, nursing a beer at the Fleet Reserve bar on the edge of town. He first encountered the disease just after moving here in the 1960s. “Years ago, my youngest daughter had it. She just didn't have no energy,” he said.

“I had a sailor that worked for me that had it,” recalls Kevin Crownover, playing dice across the bar. “He probably missed about a week's worth of work.”

Google Earth - KVPR

UPDATE 12/7/17: The Fresno City Council voted 7-0 to approve the sale of the lot and Inyo and M for the planned hotel development. 

A long-vacant dirt lot next to the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall could soon become a 200 room hotel, under a deal that is scheduled to go before the city council next Thursday. The agreement would involve the city selling the three-quarter acre lot at Inyo and "M" Streets to Metro Hospitality Services for  $644,000.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Updated November 28: FM89's Joe Moore interviewed reporter Kerry Klein about District Attorney Linn's censure as a part of our weekly news magazine show Valley Edition. You can listen to their full interview above, or continue below for the original story posted on November 27.

The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted today to censure the county district attorney.

Temperatures in the Central Valley are dropping as fall gives way to winter. But for many families that also means enduring another winter in substandard housing, a problem that the City of Fresno says it has been working to fix since the passage of a new rental inspection ordinance in February.

That ordinance was supposed to set up a process for city inspectors to check most rental housing units in town to build a database and make sure living conditions are healthy and safe.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

As the holidays approach, you may be contemplating the toys you’ll be getting for the children in your life or donating to kids in need. Well, this month, one woman in Visalia is holding a toy drive, but for parents—sort of. She’s working to donate toys to families affected by one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most concerning health trends.

Google Earth

After a nearly seven hour-long meeting, the board of the San Joaquin River Conservancy has delayed making a decision on where the public will have vehicle access to the River West open space area.

Over 100 people packed Fresno City Hall Wednesday voicing their concerns on whether a street and parking lot should access the property through a commercial development at Palm and Nees, or from a residential neighborhood via city-owned Riverview Drive, which currently ends at the top of the bluff.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

A few weeks ago, we reported that the premature birth rate in the San Joaquin Valley is rising, and that it’s especially high in Fresno County. The numbers are concerning because premature babies are born with a higher risk of health complications like breathing difficulties, heart problems and chronic disease. Decades of work have proven preterm births are tough to prevent, but a new research initiative appears to be up for the challenge. This story begins, though, in a Fresno living room, where a mother and son enjoy some quiet time together.

For years, one of the most powerful and consistent Republican criticism of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that the monthly premiums are going up so fast that they are quickly becoming unaffordable and that the whole law was on the verge of collapse.

President Donald Trump, in part, rode a wave of anti-Obamacare sentiment all the way to the White House. While Republican plans for full legislative repeal have stalled, that has not stopped the President from taking executive action to undermine it.

Kern County Announces New Awareness Campaign For Valley Fever

Nov 7, 2017
Center for Health Journalism Collaborative

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood grew up in Kern County. He hikes here, he rides horses here and he golfs here. He remembers elementary school field trips to Shark’s Tooth Hill to dig for relics here. He has done just about everything that could put him at risk for breathing in the coccidioidal fungal spore that causes valley fever, the insidious respiratory disease endemic to the area.

A relative got sick and died from the disease years ago after he was misdiagnosed. Then, a few months ago, Youngblood’s significant other got sick. Youngblood decided to get tested.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Just as Fresno’s downtown and southwest areas are preparing for makeovers, so is its transportation system. The city announced last month that it plans to restructure its bus system for the first time in decades—with public input. But there are bound to be limitations—and some community members are concerned.

Dave Alcanzar lives in central Fresno. He’s in his 70s and in a wheelchair, and he relies on Fresno Area Express, or FAX, to get everywhere.

A new chapter in the history of a long-neglected Fresno neighborhood could be just around the corner. Some residents in southwest Fresno say they are seeing a critical mass of plans falling into place to unlock the neighborhood's long trapped potential. The approval of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, moving the Darling meat rendering plant, and the expected influx of tens of millions of dollars in state development funds have all been approved this year. And some believe this confluence of events will be the tipping point toward growth and revitalization.

Joe Moore / KVPR

Valley Public Radio hosted a special live broadcast performance and interview with clarinetist Mark Nuccio and pianist Wendy Chen on Friday November 3rd. Nuccio is one of America's most acclaimed clarinetists, and is principal clarinet of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He is in Fresno for a performance Saturday at Fresno State's Concert Hall Saturday at 7:30 PM, marking the 30th anniversary of the university's clarinet program. Host Joe Moore interview Chen and Nuccio as they played selections from their upcoming concert. 

Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Today marks the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Across the United States, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, law enforcement agencies receive 15-20,000 reports of domestic violence each year.

In an effort to reduce these crimes in Tulare County, the sheriff’s office earlier this month announced a new strategy for fighting domestic violence—one they hope will aid not just in responding to reported crimes, but also in preventing future ones.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

One of the most widely used insecticides in America is the subject of a regulatory battle. Earlier this year the Trump administration chose not to move ahead with efforts to ban chlorpyrifos, first put in place by the Obama administration.  Now, California is in the process of tightening its own regulations of the insecticide, and that has some farmers searching for answers.

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Earlier this month the Fresno Teachers Association voted to authorize a strike. They have been bargaining with the Fresno Unified School district for over a year. Today both groups met for a marathon bargaining session. Laura Tsutsui reports on what the groups are hoping for, and how some parents feel about the potential for a strike.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

You’ve probably heard of a school library, public library, or even a toy lending library, but what about a human library? A local community college held its first event of this kind, where readers take out much more than books.

Browse the shelves at a more typical library and you’ll find titles like Good Night Moon, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, and The Grapes of Wrath. At a Human Library, though, these are the books: Danny Kim, a genocide survivor; Briana Sawyer, a black student; and Bertha Reyes, an immigrant.

Joe Moore / KVPR

Thousands gathered this weekend for a festival to mark the reopening of six blocks of Fulton Street that once made up the pedestrian-only Fulton Mall. The multi-million dollar reconstruction project was one of the most controversial in recent local memory, with critics on all sides. Some claim the new street won’t help revitalize the area, at the same time as others say it will cause gentrification, driving away existing businesses that cater to the largely Latino shoppers who never left downtown.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Cities across the country are vying for the chance to be the site of Amazon’s second headquarters. Fresno officials sent in their pitch today.

Most cities flirting with Amazon are highlighting tax incentives and existing amenities like international airports. But mayor Lee Brand says Fresno’s offer may seem counterintuitive.

“Fresno is not offering any tax incentives to Amazon,” Brand says.

For more than a week, Marisol Paniagua has been living at an evacuation center. She had been scheduled to pick grapes at a vineyard near the city of Santa Rosa, Calif. But that work was canceled because of the wildfires ravaging Northern California.

"It's very difficult right now because we just have a little bit of gas left in our car. That's how we are still able to drive around," said Paniagua, 37. "But the fact is, we have nothing."

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