Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

fresno county

Francisco Letelier

People in the Central Valley have painted murals for decades. They’ve represented civil rights and worker equality as well advertisements for companies. But FM89’s Ezra David Romero found that many murals painted today in places like Fresno have taken on a very different tone than murals painted just a few decades ago.

 

In the 1960s John Sierra started painting murals in the Fresno area.

His paintings had a strong political bent and many were mobile because of the lack of available walls.

California Endowment

New data from an on-going study about mortality rates in Central California reveals that alcohol, drugs and suicide are fueling significant increases in the mortality rate among white residents. The data are staggering: deaths from accidental drug poisoning in Fresno County are up over 200 percent since 1990, while suicides by hanging and strangulation are up over 120 percent in the region.

New American Media

Back in November, Fresno County residents may remember a phone scam following the accidental shooting of Sheriff’s Deputy Rod Lucas. Residents were receiving calls asking for donations on the deputy’s behalf—even though the sheriff’s office said it would never solicit donations by phone. Consumer fraud like this isn’t new, but research suggests that some San Joaquin Valley communities are prime targets. New efforts from law enforcement aim to stem the tide.

coveredca.com

The debate over the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is a hot topic in Washington. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of Central Valley residents have found insurance under the law. With the Republican replacement plan still very much a mystery, Valley Public Radio decided to take a look back at the raw data to see what has changed in the Central Valley.

Before the law’s insurance coverage expansion provisions took effect in the fall of 2013, all five of the Central Valley counties from Merced to Kern had uninsured rates of around 25%.

http://www.fresnosheriff.org/admin/sheriff.html

The fate of undocumented immigrants is the subject of intense conversation nationally. Deporting millions of people is at the heart of president-elect Donald Trump’s immigration policy. Mr. Trump now says he wants to start by focusing on undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.  But how to go about finding them? One prominent local leader thinks she has the answer and is already putting it to work.

When you are arrested and booked into the Fresno County Jail a couple of things happen.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Fresno County Sheriff is explaining in more detail the circumstances surrounding the apparently accidental fatal shooting of a deputy.

 

Sergeant Rod Lucas, a 20 year veteran of the department, was shot and killed by a fellow deputy at a satellite office near the airport yesterday.

 

Sheriff Margaret Mims says in a standard course of work the two deputies were discussing their weapons when Lucas was shot.

 

California High-Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno City Council could act this week to bolster the city's push to be chosen as the home for the heavy maintenance facility for California’s high-speed rail project. 

On Thursday, the council is set to vote on a proposal that would set aside $250,000 to secure the rights to property at the proposed site in Southwest Fresno. That money would be used to put non-refundable deposits on the land which is currently owned by several private parties. 

The city has identified the lack of control over the land as a major hurdle in their push to attract the project.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Over the last few weeks, Valley Public Radio has aired a series of reports looking at how life in violent communities can affect the health of area residents, and how the lack of health care can contribute to some of that violence at times. But there’s another side of this story – the one of the police who patrol those streets.

The San Joaquin Valley is home to two of the nation's 100 largest cities with Fresno and Bakersfield. But it's the small towns like Kerman that make this part of the state such a unique place. Now Kerman farmer and community leader Paul Betancourt has written a new book about the history of this small farm town. He joined us to talk about the town's origins and unique history in the days of riverboats and steam engines. 

It has been one year since the Fresno Sheriff’s Office began allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents into the county jail to check for undocumented immigrants. Now, immigration advocates are calling for an end to the practice.

Rallying outside the county courthouse, a small group of advocates held signs reading “ICE out of Fresno”.

Luis Ojeda, who himself is living in the country without documentation, says the practice sows fear in the Hispanic community that leads to fewer people reporting crimes.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the first time in nearly a decade, Fresno is not one of the top ten cities in the nation for auto theft. 

The study released this month from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows that at least when compared with other cities, Fresno is faring better when it comes to vehicle theft. As recently as 2011, Fresno led the nation in stolen cars. Last year it dropped to number nine, and this year all the way to 13.

Andreas Borgeas For Supervisor campaign

It's been 25 years since Fresno County last considered making changes to the charter that essential acts as the constitution for the county. Now after Fresno Superior Court judges placed county probation chief Rick Chavez on administrative leave, the Board of Supervisors is considering making some significant changes to the document. Among them is a provision that would let the county's Chief Administrative Officer responsible for hiring and firing the probation chief, not the court. That change and others could wind up before voters in a future election.

Clovis Community Medical Center could soon be home to a new state of the art cancer treatment facility. The Community Medical Centers board voted recently to proceed with design work on the planned $65 million facility adjacent to the current hospital.

 

Paul Ortiz is vice president of cancer services for Community. He says the goal is to consolidate all of Community’s outpatient cancer services in the new building, including those currently offered at CRMC in downtown Fresno and the California Cancer Center in north Fresno.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Fresno County Superior Court judge is allowing a lawsuit against the county public defender's office to move forward. 

The ACLU claims the office is underfunded and that violates the rights of defendants to due process and a speedy trial.

The ACLU’s Novella Coleman says budget cuts mean attorneys in the office are struggling with massive workloads. 

Yellowfeather Noriega / http://survivingfresno.blogspot.com/

Fresno mayoral candidate and current Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea supports the idea of city sanctioned encampments for Fresno’s homeless population. 

Speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition, Perea says city and county officials have been making progress in getting many homeless people into housing. But he adds the problem of people living on the streets has become more visible since the city closed down several illegal downtown encampments in 2013. Perea says legalized encampments should be an option. 

Pages