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Fresno

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new audit claiming the City of Fresno may have misused millions of dollars in community development block grant money.

 

The audit claims the city misspent or failed to properly track money intended improving living standards in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

 

Steve Brandau - Facebook

A Fresno City Councilmember has a new idea on dealing with the city’s homeless population – a law that would ban camping in the city. Councilmember Steve Brandau is set to take the proposed ordinance before the city council Thursday August 17th. If adopted, the law would ban camping on both public and private property in the city.

Brandau says he’s been getting complaints for months from constituents about people camping in the cooking, bathing and even defecating in public.

Joe Moore/KVPR

On the first Thursday night of every month, the Old Fresno Water Tower is typically full of people checking out local art that lines the walls and shelves of the historic building. But while dozens of Art Hop patrons visit the gift shop, gallery and visitors center in one of Fresno’s most recognizable buildings, the future of the downtown landmark is uncertain.

The Fresno Arts Council, which runs the gallery space in the city-owned building, says it is short on cash, and may have to shut the space down within months.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The first major piece of construction for high speed rail in downtown Fresno is complete. On Friday, officials cut the ribbon on a brand new Tuolumne Street bridge.

The massive bridge is designed to carry traffic over the existing railways and create enough space below for the high speed trains.

HSR Board Vice Chair Tom Richards says the bridge is an important symbol of progress that shines far beyond Fresno.

The Kern County District Attorney is dismissing the charges filed against a black teenage woman who was mistaken for a black adult male suspect by Bakersfield Police.

Wednesday, District Attorney Lisa Green announced she would drop all charges filed against Tatyana Hargrove including resisting arrest and use of force against a police officer.

Valley Public Radio

The next time you go to Fresno City Hall or see a city employee looking for people watering their yards on banned watering days, that employee might be carrying a concealed fire arm. That's if the Fresno City Council approves a new proposal from council member Garry Bredefeld.

There are more than 1,500 people in the city of Fresno who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Among that group, some almost certainly are city employees working everywhere from behind a desk to doing code enforcement on abandoned properties.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Professional soccer is coming to Fresno. The creation of the Fresno Football Club was officially announced at Chukchansi Park Wednesday 

The Fresno Fire Squad fan club was on hand today to celebrate the creation of a new professional team playing in the United Soccer League.

Team owner and luxury car dealer Ray Beshoff says Fresno has demonstrated that there is a market for soccer through its support for the amateur teams, the Fuego and the Freeze.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Residents around Mariposa are picking up the pieces left behind in the wake of the Detwiler Fire. For many, that means returning to homes damaged or completely destroyed by the fast moving blaze.

This week Valley Public Radio spoke with a wide range of people who were affected in some way by the fire to find out how they are feeling and what their plans are going forward.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Residents of the town of Mariposa are free to return to their homes. Cal Fire has lifted the evacuation order caused by the Detwiler Fire that sent the town’s roughly 2,000 residents scrambling. As of Friday morning, the fire has burned 58 single family homes.

Cal Fire officials say that while the fire continues to burn it is no longer a threat to enter the city.

Andy Isolano with Cal Fire says cooperation from the weather and an influx of firefighters helped to protect the historic mining town.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

As the Detwiler Fire continues to grow, residents in the surrounding area are growing increasingly nervous. Many residents are already making preparations to evacuate if necessary.

One of those residents is Jack Wass. Wass is a lifelong resident of Bootjack which is just a few miles southeast of Mariposa on the edge of the evacuation zone on Highway 49.

Wass and his friend are trying to jumpstart his truck to make sure it is ready to roll in case they get word they have to leave.

Last week it made national headlines: a company with ties to Google is releasing 20 million mosquitoes in Fresno. It might sound like a bad idea, but it's actually part of an innovative plan called "Debug Fresno" that aims to stop the local spread of the Aedes aegypti mosquito, which can spread dengue fever and the zika virus.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

On Tuesday morning, construction crews slowly lifted the old Fulton Mall clock tower into the clear Fresno sky and moved the delicate structure to a new home, just a few feet away. Moving the iconic structure, which has stood in downtown since the mall was built in 1964, signals the home stretch of turning the pedestrian mall back into a street.

The city also used the occasion to announce the official grand opening of the completed project is set for October 21st, 2017.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

When new presidential administrations come into office, they often make changes to agencies and appoint people who share their political outlook. The same is true under the leadership of President Donald Trump.

However, one seemingly obscure reorganization involving leadership of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development program is sending shockwaves throughout Central California and beyond. One of those concerned is Farmersville Mayor Paul Boyer.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

It’s not usually easy to get the state of California to quickly adjust how it spends money in places like the Central Valley, especially after the Governor Jerry Brown himself comes to town for a major bill signing.

But that’s exactly what a group of activists in Southwest Fresno were able to do, convincing the state to make their part of town eligible for $70 million in cap-and-trade funding.

Joe Moore/KVPR

The Fresno Police Department says their gunshot detection system, known as ShotSpotter, recorded thousands of incidents of illegal fireworks being set off on the Fourth of July.

Mark Hudson with the FPD says shot spotter microphones, which are placed mainly in central Fresno, record all explosions but are able to distinguish between what is a firework and what is a gunshot.

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