Fresno

Valley Edition
3:07 pm
Tue June 2, 2015

On Valley Edition: Parks Controversy Extends Beyond Rejected Bus Ad

Parks in Fresno are at the center of debate.
Credit Ezra David Romero

After the City of Fresno rejected a proposed bus ad about the lack of parks in South Fresno last week, the controversy over the issue  has only grown. The ad from the group Building Healthy Communities cited city data that shows North Fresno residents have over four times the amount of park space per capita as those who live south of Shaw Avenue. 

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Government & Politics
6:58 pm
Fri May 29, 2015

Community Group Wants A New Park In Southeast Fresno

One group wants the city to turn a former USDA facility on South Peach Avenue into a new city park.
Credit Google Maps

A local organization is asking the City of Fresno to build a new park for residents in an older part of town.

Jose Leon-Barazza with the Southeast Fresno Community Economic Development Association will ask the city council on Thursday to spend $200,000 to do preliminary work to turn a largely vacant 48-acre parcel on South Peach Avenue into a park and soccer fields.

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Agriculture
5:32 pm
Thu May 28, 2015

Ooooby: A CSA-Style Food Box For Central California

The Ooooby box in the Valley will have fruits, vegetables and eggs from around the region.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new Fresno organization has joined forces with one of the state’s organic food pioneers to launch a new food box program for the valley. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The project known as “Out of Our Own Backyards” or Ooooby, is from the nonprofit Fresno Food Commons. Kiel Schmidt is with the group that is launching the new community supported agriculture box, also known as a CSA. 

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Parks
6:35 pm
Wed May 27, 2015

City Of Fresno Rejects Controversial Bus Banner

The ad in question created by the nonprofit Building Healthy Communities.
Credit Building Healthy Communities

An ad that a local non-profit group wants to run on city buses is the center of controversy, after Fresno officials say it’s too political. As FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the group wants more parkland in older parts of town.

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Valley Edition
12:58 pm
Tue May 26, 2015

Valley Edition: May 26 - Nathaniel Johnson On Drought; Paula Poundstone; Ugly Food

Valley Edition May 26, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Jeffrey Hess reports on how Fresno is leveraging big data to improve city functions. Later, Reporter Ezra David Romero goes on a Central Valley tour to find the ugly food that'll be found in a CSA-style home delivered box.

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News
8:56 am
Tue May 26, 2015

From Police to Pipes: Fresno Leveraging 'Big Data' To Improve City Functions

Chris Salazar, Traffic light specialist
Credit Jeffrey Hess

There is a growing movement in Fresno to leverage the power of big data to improve a wide variety of city services from water conservation, to street lights, to police and more. Powerful computers are now able to crunch billions of data points to provide a clearer picture of what works and what doesn’t. The city is increasingly seeing data and information as a two-way street.

I am standing on Shaw Avenue in Fresno.

This heavily traveled street sees tens of thousands of cars a day.

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Government & Politics
5:41 pm
Thu May 21, 2015

Fresno Police To Expand Body Camera Program

Fresno Police Headquarters (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Police Department is moving forward with a plan to purchase 300 new body cameras for officers. The city council approved the $2.5 million purchase today which also includes 400 TASER devices. The cameras are in addition to 100 purchased earlier this year after the city received an anonymous $500,000 donation. 

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Agriculture
8:03 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Appeals Court Gives Win To Fresno Grower In Ag Labor Fight

Protestors gathered outside the 5th District Court of Appeals earlier this year to criticize the state's Ag Labor Relations Board
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A state appeals court has delivered a legal victory to a Fresno-based fruit grower in a decades old fight with the state’s ag labor relations board and the UFW. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, it’s likely not the final ruling.

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Government & Politics
7:28 pm
Thu May 14, 2015

Fresno City Council Kills Farmland Preservation, Again

file photo
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the second time in two months the Fresno City Council has voted down a proposal to start a farmland preservation program. FM89’s Joe Moore reports. 

Mayor Ashley Swearengin’s administration had wanted to apply for a $100,000 state grant to help start the effort, which is a key part of the city’s new general plan. 

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Environment
5:36 pm
Thu May 7, 2015

New Program Brings Solar Power To Low-Income Fresnans

Solar panels were installed on a Fresno home as part of the Low-Income Weatherization Program.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new statewide program using cap-and-trade money to fund solar panels for low-income residents launched this week  in Fresno. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports.

Salvador Mendoza and his family are one of the first 1,780 households in the state to receive rooftop solar panels through California’s Low-Income Weatherization Program.

Mendoza has lung disease and lives in one of the most economically impoverished parts of Fresno.

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Education
10:47 am
Tue May 5, 2015

Does Fresno Need A New Vocational Education High School?

Fresno Unified Board Trustee Brooke Ashjian wants the district to build a new high school that focuses on vocational classes
Credit Brooke Ashjian

Local schools have a lot on their plate, preparing students for life, a job and the possibility of a college education. But what about students who likely won't attend college? The answer used to be in vocational education classes, things like auto shop and wood shop. But increasingly those classes have disappeared from schools with the emphasis on standardized testing and college readiness.

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Community
3:48 pm
Fri May 1, 2015

Gallup Poll: Valley Cities Don't Feel Safe

Credit Gallup

A new national survey indicates three Central Valley communities are among the worst in the nation when it comes to resident’s perception of safety.

A Gallup poll recently released shows that Fresno residents say they are the least likely to feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods. The Stockton-Lodi region and Bakersfield ranked second and third.

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Government & Politics
7:10 pm
Thu April 30, 2015

Fresno's Anti-Blight Ordinance Passes First Test

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has voted to move forward with an ordinance that aims to crack down on vacant blighted properties throughout the city. FM89’s Joe Moore reports backers hope the effort will improve struggling neighborhoods. 

No more boarded up windows. A new five person city “blight team” to assess the problem and daily fines for continued violations. Those are some of the measures of the new anti-blight ordinance that passed its first vote Thursday. 

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Environment
11:37 am
Thu April 30, 2015

Drought In Calif. Creates Water Wars Between Farmers, Developers, Residents

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

(SOUNDBITE OF NEWS MONTAGE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER #1: California going back to the drawing board to deal with their drought.

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Government & Politics
5:49 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Fresno Aims To Clean Up Blighted Homes, Residents Ask For Interior Inspections

Fresno officials estimate the city has around 2,000 vacant and blighted residential properties
Credit Faith in Community

In many of Fresno’s older neighborhoods, blighted properties and boarded up homes are a big problem. FM89’s Joe Moore reports a proposed new law aims to crack down on those property owners.

Residents say abandoned, boarded up buildings drive down property values and often attract  illegal activity. That’s why the Fresno City Council is set to vote on a new ordinance tomorrow to crack down on vacant blighted buildings throughout the city.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin:

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Government & Politics
3:20 pm
Tue April 28, 2015

Despite Smart & Final Setback, Swearengin Says Blackstone Vision Remains Sound

Fresno's Blackstone Avenue may be an eyesore today, but Mayor Ashley Swearengin hopes a new transit line will spark a rebirth with multi-story buildings mixing housing, retail and office uses.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno's Blackstone Avenue has seen better days. A drive down the six lane strip of asphalt that stretches from downtown past ramshackle used car lots and abandoned storefronts all the way to the booming River Park area on the northside, can tell you a lot about where the city has been and where it is headed. 

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Government & Politics
4:43 pm
Thu April 23, 2015

Woman Arrested For Starting Blaze That Injured Fresno Fire Captain

Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis announced the arrest at the press conference at Fire Department Headquarters on Thursday.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Authorities have arrested a woman in connection with the structure fire that seriously injured Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern last month. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports. 

Julia Harper is facing charges of unlawfully causing a fire which causes great bodily injury. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis announced the arrest at a press conference Thursday.

Donis: “During the investigation, Harper admitted to her responsibility for starting this fire.”

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Valley Edition
1:13 pm
Tue April 21, 2015

Valley Edition: April 21 - Gerawan; Fresno PD; Apps For AG; Armenian Genocide; Delta Smelt

Valley Edition April 21, 2015
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our reporters tackle the issues of rights for farm workers and the decline of officer involved shootings in Fresno, as well as the first hackathon for agriculture

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News
9:44 pm
Mon April 20, 2015

Fresno's Not Ferguson: Why Are Police Shootings and Complaints Down?

Police Chief Jerry Dyer (Center)

After years of community complaints about the Fresno Police Department, the numbers of complaints and officer-involved shootings are trending down. It has been roughly six months since there was an officer involved shooting in the city. Both police and community activists say a shift in the national mood about law enforcement is driving the change but question whether the change will last.

Fresno Police used to average one officer involved shooting every month and log dozens of complaints of excessive force and racial profiling among other concerns.

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Community
6:04 pm
Fri April 17, 2015

Gas Pipeline Blast In Fresno Injures Nearly A Dozen People

A natural gas pipeline explosion near Highway 99 and Herndon Avenue in Fresno injured over a dozen people on Friday afternoon at a local shooting range.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATE: Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has confirmed that two Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies were also injured, and has revised the injury total to 11 people.

ORIGINAL POST:

A natural gas explosion at the peace officers gun range in Fresno has left 14 injured, three critically. FM89's Joe Moore reports. 

A gas pipeline at the range ignited at around 2:30 PM this afternoon, shooting a massive wall of flames into the sky and shutting down traffic on Highway 99 near Herndon Avenue. 

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