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After a nearly seven hour-long meeting, the board of the San Joaquin River Conservancy has delayed making a decision on where the public will have vehicle access to the River West open space area.

Over 100 people packed Fresno City Hall Wednesday voicing their concerns on whether a street and parking lot should access the property through a commercial development at Palm and Nees, or from a residential neighborhood via city-owned Riverview Drive, which currently ends at the top of the bluff.

Amanda Monaco / Leadership Counsel for Justice and Accountability

 

A new ride share program is bringing the convenience of services like Uber and Lyft to rural valley communities. The service known “Van y Vienen” is aiming to help residents who lack easy transportation options.

The program launched Wednesday in Cantua Creek and El Porvenir, two unincorporated communities in western Fresno County. Both lack grocery stores and medical clinics and have little cell phone service. Until recently, locals without cars have relied on neighbors to get around.

 

Ryan Jacobsen / Fresno County Farm Bureau

Monday’s heavy rain and gusty winds in the valley hurt two of the region’s largest money-making crops.

 

Fresno County is the top grower of raisins in the country, but Monday’s storm came at the worst moment for farmers growing the crop. At this time of year grapes are laid on paper trays to sun dry. Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO Ryan Jacobsen says the full damage to the crop won’t be known for months.

 

Klearchos Kapoutsis / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode

The total value of agricultural goods sold last year in Fresno County dropped in value by around $482 million compared to 2015 according to the 2016 Annual Crop and Livestock Production Report released in mid-August by Fresno County Agricultural Commissioner Les Wright.

 

Wright blames the lack of surface water supplies. Other farm goods like livestock fell by around 7 percent or $6 million dollars last year as well. Still the county produced over $6 billion in agricultural goods in 2016.

 

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Last November, 64 percent of California voters approved Proposition 57, which allows for the early release of so-called “non violent” offenders from state prison. Ahead of the vote, one of the biggest critics of the proposition was Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims, who criticized the proposal for the lack of specificity in defining how the law would be implemented. At issue – what exactly would be considered a “nonviolent” offense and what wouldn’t be.

AT&T/Ezra David Romero

On a hill overlooking Millerton Lake in Fresno County a group of workers are gathering around a cell tower. They’re watching a tiny white drone slowly circle the tower from the ground all the way to the top. Quasie Jones is with the drone imaging company Skycatch.

“So what it’s doing is taking a picture every two seconds,” Jones says. “So by the end of it it’ll basically have probably like five or 600 photos. So then our technology renders that and creates a 3D model.”

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein used a visit to the Central Valley Thursday to criticize President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess caught up with the senator at a farm in western Fresno County.

Standing beside a freshly irrigated olive orchard, Feinstein warned that leaving the international climate change initiative could make the Central Valley un-farmable.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

When you call 9-1-1, you expect an ambulance to come and quickly. But in Fresno County, health officials say a relatively small number of people had been making that difficult, so-called ambulance "super users." These are people who call for an ambulance ride frequently, sometimes hundreds of times a year, in non-emergency situations. Now five years into a project to reduce the burden of "super users" on the system, the numbers show the effort is working.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Finding enough money to pay for child care is a struggle for many Central Valley families. But last year despite the region’s high poverty rate, Fresno County returned $10 million in unspent money to the state that was earmarked for child care for low-income families.

After Massive Bee Kill, Beekeepers Want Answers From Fresno County

May 17, 2017

The Beekeeper

When Rafael Reynaga came to check on his bee colonies in a Fresno almond orchard, he found a carpet full of dead bees on the ground.

Reynaga picked up a hive and found two inches of bees at the bottom. He says most were dead, but a few were still moving.

Dead bees reek, Reynaga says, like a dead rat.

He's been working with bees since the 1980s but he says he'd never experienced a bee kill firsthand until this February.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

When local school districts aren’t performing, parents typically turn to school boards or parent-teacher organizations to bring about change. But in one small Fresno County city, education advocates are thinking bigger, trying to enact a much bolder and more ambitious kind of transformation.

Fresno County

The County of Fresno hopes to see more industrial park developments in its future. The Board of Supervisors voted today to ask county staff to explore possible sites for an industrial development of at least 1,000 acres that could be home to distribution centers, advanced manufacturing companies or other businesses. The county is considering sites in the vicinity of Highway 99 in the Fowler, Selma and Kingsburg area, as well as in the Malaga area southeast of the City of Fresno.

KMC / Kern County

Much of the focus on the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act has been on the newly insured people who stand to lose their coverage. But there could be consequences that reach far beyond just people’s health care and impact nearly every taxpayer in the Central Valley. Repealing the law without a replacement has some county lawmakers worried.

Republicans in Washington D.C. are busy figuring out their way forward on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims

Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood and Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims were among the law enforcement officials who met with President Trump today as part of the Major County Sheriff’s Association conference. 

Mims: “He pledged his support for law enforcement saying that we’re going to work together to keep our communities and nation safe.”

Mims says Trump also repeated his calls to step up deportations of individuals suspected or convicted of crimes who are in the country illegally.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Host intro: Last week, we brought you a story about the San Joaquin Valley’s opioid epidemic, which manifests in inordinately high rates of painkiller prescriptions and hundreds of overdose deaths every year. This week, we explore three strategies that health officials and advocates are using to take aim at the problem. FM89’s Kerry Klein begins at a safe space for drug users.

For over 20 years, meth and heroin users from around Fresno County have relied on the Fresno needle exchange for free medical care and all the clean syringes they need.

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