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Fresno

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

A major scandal rocked the auto industry two years ago when it was discovered that the car company Volkswagen had been systematically cheating on diesel emissions tests. That scandal might soon turn into a big boon for electric cars in the Central Valley.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Police officers across the country and in the Central Valley have been under increasing scrutiny and pressure for how they deal with civilians in the field. At the same time, some departments are acknowledging that their role is morphing into one that is just as concerned with identifying and helping people who might be suffering from a mental illness as it is enforcing the law. Fresno’s Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he is making changes within his force in an attempt to separate committed criminals from people who need a softer form of help.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Fresno Police say they have made a significant arrest of a number of high-level Bulldog gang members. More than a dozen suspected gang members were arrested in an early Friday morning raids.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the arrests stem from a month’s long multi-agency investigation that included roughly 300 local, state and federal law enforcement agents.

Police have been using a wiretap to monitor the gang for months leading up to the arrests.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Immigration advocates in the Central Valley are joining protests against the decision by the Trump Administration to phase out DACA. About three dozen people rallied in Fresno on Tuesday, promising to fight.

Xavier Vasquez was 13 years old when he came to the U.S. illegally. Now, at 27 he is a college graduate and has just filed to renew his DACA status for the third time.

DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, allows Vasquez to legally work in the county and be spared from deportation.

http://www.garrybredefeld.com/

The first eight months of Garry Bredefeld's return to Fresno City Hall have been eventful. Some of his proposals, like adding a display of the nation's motto "In God We Trust" to the city council chambers, and a ban on marijuana dispensaries have either become law, or are on their way to doing so. Others, like his plan to allow city employees with concealed weapon permits to carry their guns while on the job, have met with opposition from either his colleagues on the council or Fresno Mayor Lee Brand.

Office of Rep. David Valadao

Two Valley congressmen are among a group of 6 Republicans asking President Donald Trump to maintain deportation protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children.

The president is considering ending the Obama-era program called DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That allows eligible immigrants to avoid deportation and legally work in the country if they apply with the Federal Government.

GVWire

Longtime Fresno Bee reporter, columnist and editor Bill McEwen has a new job as news director for GVWire.com, a news website run by Fresno-based housing developer Granville Homes. After 37 years in the local news business, McEwen joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his role in this new venture, plus his thoughts on editorial independence, and how GVWire will cover news stories involving the Granville company.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Downtown Fresno’s 116-year old ‘Helm Home’ has been a landmark for generations because of its distinctive shape. The mission revival-style home, sometimes called the Alamo House was once at risk of being condemned, but today it’s been impeccably restored to its former glory with high ceilings and flawless wooden floors.

Violin On Fire

Fresno rock violinist Patrick Contreras is known for his creative use of the violin and mixing it with other genres. His latest project mixes the sound of violin with mariachi, rock, soul and hip-hop. It's called El Violin.

Contreras calls this sound Chicano violin music.  He's opened for artists like BB King, Al Jarreau, Stanley Clarke and others. He's been featured on a World Star Hip Hop 3 times as Talent Of The Week and has well over a Million Views on his YouTube Channel.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on the doctor shortage in the region, a unique Fresno library for toy lending and a look in to the latest Fresno County Crop Report. We are also joined by Bill McEwen with GVWire, the groups newest news director. Ending the program we hear from violinist Patrick Contreras about his new project "El Violin."

FUSD website

The interim Superintendent of the Fresno Unified School district says they are developing a comprehensive plan to respond to the needs of LGBT students.

Interim Superintendent Bob Nelson says he is working on a plan that will include specially trained staff to help LGBT students navigate the world and graduate from school.

Nelson says concerns from some in the community about the treatment of those students, including those as young as 11 years old, pushed him to take steps to make sure they are included and safe at school.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

For much of 2017, healthcare has dominated the headlines. But while access to insurance coverage remains a national debate, here in the San Joaquin Valley, getting to see a doctor isn’t always easy, even for people who have coverage. It’s not a new problem, and it’s not unique to the valley, but this area is especially hard hit by a lack of physicians.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

With new data that suggests Fresno’s homeless population is growing, leading homeless service providers are now admitting that the City of Fresno will not meet its deadline of December 31st to end ‘functional homelessness’ in the city. At the same time, the city is moving ahead with a plan to ban public camping in the city, a move drawing both praise and criticism from those who work with homeless residents. Together, the two issues have renewed the question of how can Fresno solve this decades-old problem once and for all.

Fresno State University

Leading a healthy life is about much more than being able to see a doctor or get into a hospital. It is also about access to fresh foods, and places to go to exercise like parks. That is a major struggle for  people in many communities in the San Joaquin Valley. A new report from the advocacy organization Building Health Communities and the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State says hospitals should be doing more to improve ‘neighborhood health’.

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.

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