Fresno

U.S. Forest Service InciWeb

Forest service officials say a juvenile is suspected of starting the Willow Fire near Bass Lake which has now burned more than 2,000 acres and is 30% contained. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports the fire may prompt more evacuations.

Residents in the Cascadel Woods community are already under a pre evacuation advisory but fire officials announced today that if the fire spreads they will issue a mandatory evacuation within 12 to 24 hours.

Cody Norris is a spokesman for the Sierra National Forest.

U.S. National Forest Service

The Willow Fire near Bass Lake in Madera County has grown to 1700 acres and is just 5% contained as of Tuesday afternoon. The fire has not brought activity at the lake to a stop, but it does have businesses and vacationers concerned.

Gordon Barker and his wife drove from Fresno to see the fire.

He pointed out the dead trees on the hillside killed by prolonged drought and beetle infestation turning the area into a tinder box.

Thousands of residents in the valley are working through the process of having their previous felony convictions dropped to misdemeanors. It’s an element of Proposition 47 intended to help provide people with a clean slate and re-integrate more easily back into society. Advocates and the public defender in Merced are working hard to get the word out.

For years, Jesse Oralas lived the life of a drug addict, being homeless and piling up felony drug convictions which made him, in his words, ‘unemployable’.

What’s the difference between a smiling mascot and a stern warning? More than 2. 5 million gallons of water a month in Fresno. That’s according to a social experiment the city ran to encourage greater water conservation.

Fresno used data from the city’s water meters to target people watering on non-approved days and sent each home one of two different fliers.

One is black and white and appears very serious. The other is in color and features a playful mascot.

proterra company website

By this time next year, two brand new all electric buses will be rolling down the streets of Porterville. The move away from diesel and hybrid buses is part of efforts to clean up the valley’s air.

For the cost of just under 1-million dollars, Porterville is replacing two of their existing buses with a new generation of clean, emission free all-electric vehicles.

Richard Tree, Porterville’s Transportation Manager, says the decision to go all electric was an easy one.

Flickr- eyeliam

The Fresno City Council has voted to ban the display or sale of the confederate flag on city property. The vote sparked debate about where to draw the line when banning historical objects.

While the city is not currently displaying or selling the flag, the ordinance approved by the council today makes it clear that it cannot.

Council president Oliver Baines wrote the ordinance and says in the wake of the Charleston, South Carolina church massacre, it’s time to make a statement against what many consider to be a sign of racist hate.

Flickr- eyeliam

The Fresno City Council could vote Thursday to ban the city from displaying the confederate flag on all city owned property.

The ordinance, proposed by council president Oliver Baines, would prohibit the city from displaying or selling of the Battle Flag of the Confederacy, often known as the confederate flag.

It would also ban the sale of items that bear the flag unless it is in a book or city museum that serves an educational or historical purpose.

The ordinance says the flag now represents a symbol of racism and hatred to many people.

VINOTHCHANDAR VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

  African-American infants in Fresno County are three times more likely to die within their first year than white infants, largely because of premature birth, low birth weight or birth defects.

The alarming rates of African-American infants dying in their first year in the county are prompting public health officials to dig deeper.

“Over the last few years ever since 2008 Fresno has experienced a dramatic growth in infant mortality rates particularly for African-American women,” says Dr. John Capitman, executive director of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute.

Raman Bath / Fresno County Library

World renowned author William Saroyan is being honored as a great native son of the Central Valley with a an en exhibit by the The Fresno County Public Library.

The William Saroyan Gallery at the Central Library in Downtown Fresno opens Saturday, July 18th, at 2:30 PM for a ribbon cutting ceremony. Featured at the gallery are manuscripts, drawings, books and other memorabilia documenting Saroyan’s career as an author. 

The Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno website

Local religious, education and law enforcement leaders recently gathered in Fresno for a talk about ISIS and Islam. Hosted by the Islamic Cultural Center, the event sought to dispel myths about the local Muslim community. Two guests from the panel joined us on Valley Edition to talk about concerns over homegrown extremist groups, efforts to work with law enforcement, and interfaith relations.

Guests:

Imam Seyed Ali Ghazvini, Imam of the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition KVPR Reporter Diana Aguilera interviews a Fresno teenager about the lack of sex education in Fresno Unified schools. Later in the program Valley Edition Host Joe Moore speaks with Shana Alex Charles with the UCLA Center For Healthy Policy Research and the California HealthCare Foundation about gaps in care for Valley Medi-Cal recipients

For the first time since his dramatic fall through the roof of a burning garage, a Fresno firefighter is speaking publicly. Fire captain Pete Dern walked out of the hospital Friday to speak to a crowd of press and supporters.

“Hi. I’m am Pete Dern,”

That’s the voice of the Fresno Fire Department captain who in March was caught on cell phone video falling through a garage roof into a blazing inferno below. It took crews nearly two minutes to rescue him.

Dern’s head and hands are still heavily bandaged. Burn scars and skin grafts are clearly visible on his arms.

Fresno Unified Website

The superintendent of the Fresno Unified School District says their use of a procedure known as lease-leaseback to build new schools is legal.

The district has come under fire for selecting a local construction firm, Harris Construction, to build the $37 million Gaston Middle School without going through a competitive bidding process.

Harris was chosen through a process known as Lease-leaseback where the district can hand pick a company who agrees to front the construction cost and then be paid back over time.

http://www.watkinsphotoarchive.com/photoindex.html

Some artists are truly prolific. Composer Franz Joseph Haydn wrote over 100 symphonies. Science Fiction writer Isaac Asimov wrote over 450 books.

Our guest is nowhere near as famous as those two men, but he is just as prolific. He has taken over 300,000 photographs of life in Fresno since 1973. He is retired Fresno attorney Howard Watkins, and some of his best work is part of a new exhibit at Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library Elipse Gallery. It’s his first solo show, and it’s on display now through August 14th.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about how bad fire season could be in California, drought-friendly homes, and changing electricity rates. We also talk photography in Fresno with a local photographer with a show at Fresno State and talk about a documentary about the Masumoto Family Farm in Del Rey. 

GUESTS:

Commentary: Does Fresno's Parks Problem Make Inequality Worse?

Jul 7, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Every year, The Trust for Public Land analyzes the 75 largest U.S. cities and gives them a score based on how well they are meeting the need for parks. This year, the city of Fresno, California, tied for last place.

Flickr- Baron Valium

Officials with the Valley Air District are warning about Fourth of July fireworks worsening air quality and threatening residents' health.

Fireworks can cause damaging air pollution to spike to five times the level considered safe.

When fireworks are set off, they burn, explode and release large amounts of dangerous particulate matter into the atmosphere.

Heather Heinks with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says the tiny particles of soot, ash and metal can bury themselves deep in the body causing short and long term problems.

The City of Fresno has officially rolled out its complaint reporting app called ‘Fresgo’. The smartphone app lets people take pictures and report issues like pot holes, downed stop lights, and other problems throughout the city.

The app, called Fresgo, is intended to replace the cumbersome and sometimes confusing process of filling out paper work or contacting the appropriate city department to report issues.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the app lets people take a picture, tag their location, and send it straight to the city to fix their complaint.

Joe Moore, KVPR

With the implementation of Proposition 47 central valley law enforcement leaders warned about its potential to drive crime up. They argued that fewer people facing felonies gives people less chance to recover from addiction and change their life, while leaving them on the street to re-offend. But now even some in law enforcement are questioning if that is the case.

Valley Public Radio took a close look at the data from Fresno city and County to see if, six months into the experiment, the warnings are coming true.

Same-sex marriage supporters in the Central Valley are celebrating today after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry nationwide.

Gay and lesbians already have the right to marry in 36 states, including California, and the District of Columbia. But the court’s 5-4 ruling strikes down bans on same sex marriage in 14 states in the south and Midwest.

Jason Scott with Gay Fresno has been advocating in the Central Valley for this ruling for more than 10 years.

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