Fresno

Government & Politics
7:37 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Fresno City Council Puts Off Measure W Decision, Asks For Study

Fresno City Hall (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno voters may get to weigh in on a referendum that would overturn a planned hike in water rates, but the final decision didn't come Thursday. 

Instead of moving forward with putting Measure W on the November ballot, or repealing the rate hikes - the city council voted to commission an expedited study on the issue.

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High Speed Rail
1:14 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

James Fallows: California's High Speed Rail Plan Is 'Better Than The Alternatives'

James Fallows

The Atlantic's James Fallows says California's high speed rail project may be flawed and expensive, but he also calls it better than other methods of accommodating the state's growing population.

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Business & Economy
8:48 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Fresno Bar Is First To Go On California High Speed Rail

California high speed rail is one step closer to becoming a reality with the demolition of this building.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The jaws of a giant excavator tore through what was the old Annie’s Hollywood Inn bar in West Fresno Monday morning.

“The excavator right there is going to hit the back of that building and because it’s so small it’s not going to take long; probably if we blink it’ll be down in five minutes,” says Jill Kroeker with J. Kroeker Inc.

The demolition of the 66-year-old bar is the first of many to be reduced to smithereens as part of construction along the first 29 mile segment of California High Speed Rail.

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Government & Politics
6:01 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Referendum On Fresno Water Rate Hike Qualifies For November Ballot

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno voters may soon get a chance to overturn the City Council's planned hikes in water rates.

Fresno City Clerk Yvonne Spence confirmed today that a referendum petition submitted in late June has over 5,500 valid signatures--more than enough to put Measure W on the ballot.

The measure aims to allow voters to overturn a water plan approved last summer by the Council.  The plan would on average double water rates over the next 3 years in order to fund a $410 million upgrade to the city's water system. 

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Valley Edition
12:04 pm
Tue July 8, 2014

Valley Edition: July 8 - Asm. Kristin Olsen; John Cox On Wells; Alex Karner On Sprawl; Joe Matthews

Valley Edition Jul 8, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero

This week on Valley Edition we talk with Assembly Republican Kristin Olsen, KVPR reporter Kerry Klein reports on turning waste water into usable water in Clovis, Bakersfield Californian reporter John Cox talks about the state ordering 11 Valley injection wells to halt work, Alex Karner chats about his latest column on 

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Environment
10:13 am
Wed July 2, 2014

As Drought Worsens, Fresno Turns Attention To Wastewater

In the aeration basins, microorganisms break down organic material. This is part of the secondary treatment process.
Marnette Federis Capital Public Radio

Jim Quist farms 700 acres next to the one of the most secure water sources in Fresno County.

“It might be providence," Quist says, about what brought his grandfather to the property in 1933. 

A portion of Quist's irrigation water was once raw sewage. Quist’s farm is just across the road from the City of Fresno’s wastewater treatment plant. It’s been giving him water for 50 years.

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Community
11:47 am
Tue July 1, 2014

Fresno Chef Gets New Start With High Speed Rail

Katch Environmental recently hired 24 men to work on lead and asbestos removal along the High Speed Rail Corridor
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.”

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Government & Politics
4:56 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Swearengin Calls Fresno 'Resilient' In Economic Recovery

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin called the city "resilient" in her annual state of the city speech on Wednesday.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the city is in the middle of a resilient economic recovery. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, her annual state of the city speech Wednesday afternoon also addressed some lingering problems.  

In what could be her last such speech as Fresno’s mayor, Ashley Swearengin told the crowd at the Convention Center the economic cloud which has hovered over the city for the past five years is beginning to lift.

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Business & Economy
2:19 pm
Tue June 24, 2014

Organizers Say Fresno Software Competition So Successful, It's No Longer Necessary

Downtown Fresno is just 163 miles from Mountain View, the heart of Silicon Valley and the home of tech giant Google, but in many ways it's a world away. But while the San Joaquin Valley may be known more for its produce than its programmers a local competition has been working for the past five years to change that.

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Environment
10:57 am
Tue June 24, 2014

CNN Journalist Aims To Kayak San Joaquin River From Fresno To San Francisco

CNN's John D. Sutter is on a quest to kayak the San Joaquin River from Friant Dam near Fresno to San Francisco Bay.
Credit John D. Sutter / Twitter http://twitter.com/jdsutter

Journalist John D. Sutter is on a quest to do something that many valley residents do, kayak on the San Joaquin River. But instead of going for a short trip from Lost Lake Park to Highway 41, he has a much longer journey in mind - Friant Dam all the way to San Francisco Bay. 

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Environment
6:35 am
Mon June 16, 2014

The 'Deepest Straw Wins' In Central Valley Scramble For Groundwater

Ruth Griffin says she spent her life savings building her dream home in Kingsburg, California. But she can't move in because her private well is dry.
Marnette Federis Capital Public Radio

  The California drought is becoming a source of tension between homeowners and farmers in the Southern Central Valley. Farmers are seeing unprecedented reductions in their allotments to surface water. Homeowners are watching their private wells run dry. Pauline Bartolone has more about how people in the Fresno area are tapping into underground water.  

The home where Ruth Griffin planned to retire looks like it’s an island in a sea of almond orchards.

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Community
5:30 pm
Wed June 11, 2014

Fresno Fire Department Looking Into Serial Arson in Fresno's Downtown Fires

Firefighters contain a fire at an abandoned warehouse in downtown Fresno on May 17, 2014.
Credit 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.

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Commentary
11:34 am
Wed June 11, 2014

Commentary: Forget San Francisco - Build The George Lucas Museum In The San Joaquin Valley

A rendering of the proposed Crissy Field site for the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum in San Francisco.
Credit Lucas Cultural Arts Museum

In California, we have high standards, especially when it comes to development. Whether it’s a new warehouse or an apartment building, the bigger the project, the lengthier and more complicated its gestation. Nowhere is the issue more evident than in San Francisco. Just ask George Lucas.

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Health
12:38 pm
Tue June 10, 2014

Healthy Rivers: Will Wealthy Fresnans Block Access On The San Joaquin?

The entrance of the proposed Highway 41 point of access.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

This is part of a Valley Public Radio original series on how the health of rivers impact the health of communities produced as a project for The California Endowment Health Journalism Fellowship, a program of USC's Annenberg School of Journalism.

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Community
12:20 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

On the Way to November Ballot, Fresno Chaffee Zoo Hits Funding Hurdle

Fresno's Chaffee Zoo
Credit 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.

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Valley Edition
3:50 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Can Veteran Homelessness End In Fresno By 2015?

Fresno Veterans Home. File Photo.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In what may seem like a huge task, Fresno is looking to end veteran homelessness by 2015.  Last week the city announced its participation in a nationwide program - 25 Cities Initiative - to end veteran and chronic homelessness.

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Government & Politics
12:47 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Chief Donis: Recent Downtown Fires Have Department Stretched Thin

Investigators comb through the burned out interior of the Procter's building on the Fulton Mall
Fresno Fire Department

With two major fires - one at a local recycling facility and another at a downtown jewelry store - the Fresno Fire Department found its resources stretched thin in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

While crews were battling what became a five alarm blaze at the Barrios Recycling on Orange Avenue, another fire caused severe damage at Protcer's Jewelers on the Fulton Mall at Fresno Street.

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Education
3:47 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Central Valley Students Win Big at International Science and Engineering Fair

Ashima Thusu and Japmeet Sandhu of Clovis North High School won a special award from the American Statistical Association.
Credit Jennifer Weibert

Last week, 1700 high school students from over 70 countries met in Los Angeles for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, including 5 students from Fresno and Clovis.

Beatrice Choi, a sophomore from Fresno’s University High School, brought home third place in Chemistry.

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Government & Politics
6:51 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin Announces New City Budget

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

At a press conference this morning, Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced her proposed 2015 budget for the City of Fresno.

In a departure from the major shortfalls the city has faced since 2009, the proposal emphasizes paying off debt, bolstering city services, and increasing the operating reserve to help prepare for unforeseen costs.

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Water Conservation
12:24 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Campus-Wide Collaboration Ups Fresno State's Water Conservation

A new demonstration garden promotes water conservation on the Fresno State campus.
Credit Kerry Klein

One of Fresno State’s newest additions is a broad, brown, mulchy patch of land in front of the Science II building.  Gardening specialist Fortunato Garcia leads volunteers with shovels to a lumpy mound.

Garcia: All right, so we'll put one fertilizer tab here, one here, one here, one there...

Before long, this patch will be more than mulch—it’s the start of a waterwise demonstration garden.  Grounds supervisor Michael Frick points out the low-water bulbs and saplings that are being planted. 

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