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fresno county

Fresno County

Fresno County has released a controversial report into the 2009 death of Seth Ireland. The 10 year-old died after he was severely beaten by his mother's boyfriend. County social workers had investigated complaints regarding the family at least four times in the year before the boy's death. 

The report was an internal review of actions by the county's Department of Children and Family Services. It details how individual social workers evaluated the case, including some instances where they didn't follow protocol, or act swiftly enough. 

Courtesy of Brett Lebin

California farmers are known for producing some of the finest fruits, vegetables and nuts in the world. But what if big agriculture here also included marijuana? If the legalization of recreational pot makes it onto the November  2016 ballot and passes, local growers might have a new crop to harvest.  FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports that some Central Valley farmers are already eyeing just that possibility. 

A few years ago Los Banos Farmer Cannon Michael discovered a one-acre illegal marijuana grow on his land.

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

In light of last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino leaving 14 dead, local law is enforcement speaking out. 

The terror attack in Southern California shocked the state and has reignited the conversation about gun control.  Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims says she doesn’t think more restrictions on gun ownership will work.

MIMS: “Well, I don’t think it’s any secret where I stand when it comes to our second amendment.  I think we need more law abiding citizens out there with weapons to be able to protect themselves and other people.”

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Today marks the kickoff of “A Day With HIV” photo exhibit at the Fresno Art Museum. FM89’s Diana Aguilera visits the display.

The gallery shows 19 posters of people from around the nation that are living with HIV. It’s a snapshot of their lives and it's part of a campaign hoping to reduce the stigma related to HIV and AIDS.

Jena Adams with the Fresno County Department of Public Health helped organize this event.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s new African Adventure exhibit has officially opened to the public. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports families flocked to Thursday’s grand opening to greet the animals.

It was a day of celebration at the zoo as the 13 acre grand savannah opened to the public. As families walked around they were able to see a diverse collection of animals including African elephants, cheetahs, and rhinos, many of which weren’t previously at the zoo.

It’s a typical Sunday in the town of Mendota, west of Fresno. Here, in the cantaloupe capital of the world, the majority of residents are farmworkers. As they unwind from working all day the Westside pool hall starts filling up. 

City councilmember Joseph Riofrio owns the pool hall. This place serves as a distraction and entertainment for many men farmworkers, who are often far away from family. But Riofrio says the isolation some people feel opens the door for another type of business.

Diana Aguilera

Today state health officials arrived in Fresno for a four day meeting to tackle what local leaders are calling a chlamydia epidemic.

In a rare occasion, the state department of public health sent a team of experts to Fresno. They’re meeting with local health providers in hopes of reducing the alarming rates of chlamydia, especially in teens and young adults.

“Fresno County is a hot spot for chlamydia and for reproductive and sexual health in general,” says Heidi Bauer, a doctor with the Department of Public Health.

Ezra David Romero

Despite the ramifications of this four year drought Fresno County announced today/Monday that its farming value for 2014 increased over nine percent. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The lack of rain and snow has made it a tough few years on farmers, but according to the Fresno County Department of Agriculture 2014 Crop and Livestock Report the county’s gross value has increased from around $6.5 billion to just over $7 billion. Although, the increase doesn’t necessarily mean farmers are making more money.

Ryan Jacobsen is the Fresno County Farm Bureau CEO.

Courtesy of Steve Skibbie

Creative Fresno is on the hunt for murals. 

Murals outside of bars. Murals on random petroleum station walls. Murals in parks. 

Murals. Murals. Murals. 

The group recently began collecting data on murals throughout Fresno County in a project called the Digital Mural Map funded by the Fresno Regional Foundation. The project will feature photos of the murals and information about the artists on a mobile friendly website and later select murals will be featured in a photo book. The mural hunt will end in December and the website should be up and running in May, 2016.

Fresno County has a huge animal overpopulation problem. Very soon, the county could have a new animal control shelter and a new company running it. That group, The Animal Compassion Team, has been one of the biggest critics of the county’s animal kill rate.

Now, they says they have a plan to euthanize fewer animals.

At the Animal Compassion Team’s south Fresno shelter dogs bark and jump in a pen.

The group, which currently runs a no kill shelter, is likely to win the contract to take over animal control for the entire county later this year.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The future of the Fresno area's urban sprawl northward could soon take another step forward. The Fresno County Board of Supervisors has unveiled a draft of the long-awaited Friant Corridor Feasibility Study. It’s the first look at potential development just north of the City of Fresno.

However, environmental groups say the study is the camel’s nose under the tent toward more urbanization.

Among the high golden grasses, sparse trees and grazing deer, stands Clary Creager in the San Joaquin River bottom.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Immigrant advocates in Fresno say they’re fed up with a recent decision by the sheriff’s department to collaborate in new ways with Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE). As Valley Public Radio’s Diana Aguilera reports, activists are demanding a change. 

Just last week Sheriff Margaret Mims announced a new program that allows two ICE agents to be stationed inside the Fresno County Jail. Federal agents can now check if inmates are in the country legally and can look at their criminal history to determine whether they should be deported.

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.

KNITTYMARIE VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

Fresno County continues to be plagued with high teen pregnancy rates and even higher STD rates in some cases among the worst in the state. With that in mind  local health leaders are urging one Valley school district to bring back sex education to the classrooms. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports even former students are speaking up.

Antonio Jauregui, 18, says his freshman year at Fresno’s Duncan Polytechnical High School was all about growing up. It’s also when he had his first romantic relationship and that left him turning to the classroom for information about sex.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

 A new bill in the California Senate could make sex education mandatory for middle and high school students. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports.

If the bill becomes law, students will be required to learn about abstinence, sexually transmitted infections and contraception.

Right now, public schools throughout the state aren’t required to offer sex ed classes, but they are required to teach HIV and AIDS prevention. In recent years, Fresno Unified dropped its sex ed program due to budget cuts.

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