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courtesy Benjamin Boone

A new project from Fresno-based jazz artist Benjamin Boone is getting national attention. It combines original compositions by the Fresno State professor and saxophonist, with the poetry of the late Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. It also features some of the top names in the jazz world as guest stars including Branford Marsalis and Tom Harrell, as well as Valley Public Radio’s own David Aus. Levine was known for his love of jazz and recorded with Boone's band shortly before his death in 2015.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Last week news broke that California’s High-Speed Rail Authority is facing another setback - increased costs and a delayed timeline as indicated in the authority's new 2018 Draft Business Plan. The effort to connect Los Angeles and San Francisco with bullet train running through the Central Valley will now cost over $77 billion. On top of that, phase one of the project will not be fully operational until the year 2033.

Cindy Quezada / Central Valley Immigrant Integration Collaborative

The 2020 U.S. census is just around the corner, and a new project shows a significant number of Fresno’s residents could be overlooked.

The U.S. Census Bureau maintains a Master Address File of every registered postal address in the country. Don’t have a registered address? You probably won’t be counted.

A new pilot project found 600 housing units in low-income areas of Fresno that weren't listed in the Master Address File—representing 6 percent of residences in those areas.

Harper Collins

A new biography of billionaire investor Kirk Kerkorian tells the story of how a young boy from Fresno went on to become one of the richest businessmen in America. From airlines to film studios to the auto industry and casinos, Kerkorian was the consummate dealmaker, but he was also a quiet philanthropist, supporting Armenian causes through his Lincy Foundation. We recently spoke with journalist William C.

Rollin Pickford

A new exhibit at the San Joaquin River Parkway's Coke Hallowell Center For River Studies showcases the works of famed local artist Rollin Pickford. For much of the 20th century, Pickford was acclaimed for his paintings of the landscape of Central California. The new exhibit "Rolling Pickford: California Light" showcases works exclusively depicting the San Joaquin Valley. On display now through April 29th at the River Center at 11605 Old Friant Road in Fresno.

Google Street View

In 2010, architect Julia Morgan became the first woman to win the prestigious Gold Medal from the American Institute of Architects. It was a landmark achievement for the native Californian, who is most famous for designing Hearst Castle for newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. It’s the institute’s highest honor, and one shared by icons of the industry like Frank Lloyd Wright, Mies van der Rohe, and Frank Ghery. Even more remarkable – Morgan was awarded the honor 57 years after her death. The award was an attempt in part to correct a longstanding omission by the male-dominated AIA.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council is dealing with a good problem, an $8.6 million windfall. The council voted Thursday to spend the net balance of the funds - $5.8 million - on a variety of items, from repairs at parks and city owned parking garages to body cameras for police officers. It also includes $1.3 million for a down payment on a planned headquarters building for the fire department. The funding came from carryover items from the last budget year, as well as higher than anticipated hotel and sales tax revenues. 

This week's Young Artists Spotlight features performances from the guitar students of Central Unified School District instructor Brian Garcia. These Fresno-area students are making a return visit to the Barmann-Chaney Performance Studio. 

Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from The Bonner Family Foundation, Dr. Alice Martinson and Carole Sturgis. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio


Fresno is California’s largest city without a light rail system. With the city’s sprawling nature and ample parking lots, efforts to bring rapid transit to the area have never taken off. One other reason – light rail is really expensive. Now, Fresno officials hope to bring some of the elements of those commuter trains to the city’s bus system at a much more affordable price tag. It’s a concept that around the world is called bus rapid transit – or light rail on wheels. We looked at the latest addition to Fresno Area Express service by talking to the people who use it.

AARON SALCIDO / Zocalo Public Square

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Last week we brought you an investigative story about a secretive building in downtown Fresno that’s being used to process individuals coming into custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. There’s no sign on the building, its address is not listed on the agency’s website, and immigration attorneys are concerned about the detainees’ access to due process.

Brittany Greeson/GroundTruth

Critics across the globe are starting to pay attention to the music of one young valley artist – Omar Nare. The Sanger native was recently profiled on Public Radio International and the New York Times for his fresh take on mariachi traditions. He’s taking traditional songs and re-inventing them with hints of jazz, soul and funk.

CA High-Speed Rail Authority / Office of Asm. Jim Patterson

For the first time since 2012, the state legislature is giving the California High-Speed Rail Authority a thorough audit. This comes just weeks after the agency’s top consultant revealed that the project’s Central Valley section is now nearly $3 billion over budget due to delays and additional design expenses. The audit comes at the request of Assemblymember Jim Patterson. The Fresno Republican has been one of the rail authority’s staunchest critics for years. Now he's asking state leaders to consider a “Plan B” for the ambitious but troubled project.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio


A few weeks ago we told you how new high-tech, low-cost air quality sensors are helping valley residents monitor air pollution right outside their homes. But the devices aren’t just being used by homeowners, they’re also being adopted by some of the world’s top scientists. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory is testing the devices here in the valley, in preparation for investigating pollutants from space.  


Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Update Tuesday 2/13:

Nunes for Congress

Tulare Republican Congressman Devin Nunes may be one of the most unlikely national political figures of the past year. The chair of the House Intelligence Committee was already in the news for his role in the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Now with his controversial classified memo about alleged wrongdoing by FBI officials in a FISA warrant for Trump aide Carter Page, Nunes is back in the headlines. Is it a real scandal, as House Republicans have claimed?

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Back in September, President Trump announced that the Obama-era DACA program would end in six months. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gave many immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the opportunity to pursue higher education and work in America. Congress is struggling to agree on a replacement, and DACA recipients have little to fall back.


One such DACA recipient is Antonio Jauregui.


This week on Valley Edition we learn about new technology that is allowing valley residents to monitor the air quality right outside their homes. We also talk about the plans for new e-commerce centers in Fresno. Mayor Lee Brand says the plan to approve a major new industrial development could create hundreds of new jobs. But critics say the distribution warehouses would also generate more air pollution. 

CIty of Fresno

This Thursday the Fresno City Council will vote on a proposal for a major new industrial development in south Fresno. Covering 110 acres at Central and Cedar Avenues, the development would allow up to 2,000,000 square feet of new construction for heavy industry. However, developer Richard Caglia is likely to target a very specific type of tenant for the project – warehouse operations known as distribution or fulfillment centers.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

California High-Speed Rail Authority will soon have a new leader, just as cost estimates for the project’s Central Valley portion have risen by nearly $3 billion. The authority’s board announced Tuesday that Brian Kelly will take over the job starting next month. Kelly is currently the secretary of the California Transportation Agency, which oversees CalTrans, the Highway Patrol and other agencies. He’ll earn a salary of $384,000 a year.