Fresno

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Authorities have arrested a woman in connection with the structure fire that seriously injured Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern last month. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports. 

Julia Harper is facing charges of unlawfully causing a fire which causes great bodily injury. Fresno Fire Chief Kerri Donis announced the arrest at a press conference Thursday.

Donis: “During the investigation, Harper admitted to her responsibility for starting this fire.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our reporters tackle the issues of rights for farm workers and the decline of officer involved shootings in Fresno, as well as the first hackathon for agriculture

After years of community complaints about the Fresno Police Department, the numbers of complaints and officer-involved shootings are trending down. It has been roughly six months since there was an officer involved shooting in the city. Both police and community activists say a shift in the national mood about law enforcement is driving the change but question whether the change will last.

Fresno Police used to average one officer involved shooting every month and log dozens of complaints of excessive force and racial profiling among other concerns.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATE: Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims has confirmed that two Fresno County Sheriff's Deputies were also injured, and has revised the injury total to 11 people.

ORIGINAL POST:

A natural gas explosion at the peace officers gun range in Fresno has left 14 injured, three critically. FM89's Joe Moore reports. 

A gas pipeline at the range ignited at around 2:30 PM this afternoon, shooting a massive wall of flames into the sky and shutting down traffic on Highway 99 near Herndon Avenue. 

Fresno Grizzlies

The Fresno Grizzlies will open their 2015 season tonight at Chuckchansi Park. But for the first time in 18 years, the AAA team won’t be stocked with players from Major League Baseball’s San Francisco Giants. FM89’s Jason Scott reports that team owners hope the new affiliation with the Houston Astros will mark a reboot for the club and its fan base.

When the Fresno Grizzlies take the field tonight for the opening day fans will witness a team with a new look.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has rejected a proposal to move forward with an effort to preserve area farmland from development.

The council voted down the proposed grant application today to start a farmland preservation program, which is key part of the city’s newly adopted general plan.

The program would require developers to offset the loss of farmland from urbanization by agreeing to preserve farmland elsewhere.

Council member Lee Brand says he wants more public input before committing to such a program.

FLikr- Brett Levin

The Fresno City Council is reversing course on an ordinance that would have allowed limited indoor cultivation of medical marijuana. The deal appeared to satisfy no one.

The ordinance would have allowed people with a medical marijuana prescription to grow up to four plants in their homes, something that is currently prohibited.

It had previously passed the council two weeks ago, but today died on a 4-to-3 vote.

Councilmember Steve Brandau, one of the no votes, says the city should work with Fresno County to have one unified set of growing standards…

Rocklin Fire Department - Lights On for Pete Dern Facebook

Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern who was seriously injured last month when he fell through the roof of a burning building has helped inspire an international movement on social media.

The campaign called “Lights On For Pete Dern” has dozens of departments from across the nation posting videos to Facebook and Twitter of their engines fully illuminated in his honor.

Kerri Donis is the Fresno Fire Chief:

Fresno Fire Department Annual Report / Fresno Fire Department

The Fresno Fire Department is concerned that requests for aid from state and federal agencies during wildfires could wind up hurting the department's finances.  FM89's Joe Moore reports.

California's drought has resulted in more forest fires in recent years. That's put a strain not only on state and federal fire crews, but also on firefighters in cities like Fresno, that often assist through mutual aid agreements. 

Photo Flikr: Frank Bonilla

The Fresno City Council could be poised to cut the rent on its minor league baseball stadium in half in an effort to attract a new buyer for the team.

Brittani Fanciullo

There's a new documentary about homelessness in Fresno. "Our Lives: Surviving the Streets of Fresno" not only tells the stories of 10 people directly affected by homelessness, it was shot by them. 

Lisa Lindsay joined Valley Edition host Joe Moore for an interview  about the documentary. She directed the film and also is a supervising librarian for the Fresno County Public Library.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we discuss drought, almonds and much more. The program begins with a piece by KVPR Reporter Jeffrey Hess on how the implementation of high speed rail in California is affecting businesses and homeowners in Central California. 

While agriculture is California’s largest consumer of water, Governor Jerry Brown wants to increase the focus on commercial and resident users. Jeffrey Hess with Valley Public Radio reports they are a big focus of Brown’s new mandatory water restrictions.

Golf course, cemeteries and other large plots of land will soon be required to reduce their usage under the new rules.

Governor Brown also wants to remove 50-million square feet of lawn around the state and replace it with drought resistant landscaping.

Governor Jerry Brown announced Wednesday the first mandatory water restrictions in the Golden State’s history. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports on how farmers in the Central Valley are reacting to the plan.

With the lowest snow pack in history Governor Jerry Brown says the drought demands unprecedented action. He’s mandating new conservation methods including new agricultural water use reporting guidelines.

Cannon Michael farms 10,000 acres of tomatoes and corn in Central California. He says the impacts on agriculture from the edict are limited.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at several issues surrounding a difficult topic, death and dying. We’ll learn about a movement to help spur conversations about end of life decisions, a new report on palliative care in California, and a new bill that would bring physician assisted suicide to the Golden State.

Fresno Deputy Police Chief Arrested For Dealing Drugs

Mar 26, 2015
Fresno Police Department

One of Fresno's highest ranking law enforcement officers was arrested Thursday on drug charges. Fresno Deputy Police Chief Keith Foster is charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, marijuana and oxycodone.

Five other Fresno residents were also charged in the case, including two men the FBI believes are related to Foster. 

Foster has been placed on administrative leave by the department. The arrests are part of an on-going, year-long investigation by the FBI and ATF.

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the arrest is totally unexpected...

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council is moving forward with a plan to modify the city's medical marijuana law. But as FM89's Joe Moore reports, the change could be short lived. 

The new law would amend another passed last year by the council that banned all marijuana cultivation in the city. If the new proposal becomes law, residents would be allowed to grow up to four marijuana plants indoors, for their personal medicinal use.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has approved a request by Police  Chief Jerry Dyer for funding to install gunshot detecting microphones in a three square mile section of the city.

The system, called ShotSpotter, uses the microphones to triangulate the location of gunshots so police can respond. 

Company CEO  Ralph Clark says the system greatly improves a department’s ability to respond to gunshots.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Art Museum is one of the valley's cultural gems, with exhibits and educational programs at its facility in Fresno's Radio Park. For the past year however, the museum was without an executive director. The museum also has faced hard times in recent years with a declining economy and an aging facility. 

Now the museum has a new executive director, Michele Ellis Pracy, who joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her background in museums, and her vision for one of Fresno's most vital cultural institutions. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This weekend a new project aims to blend art forms and genres in Fresno. The brainchild of Fresno-based multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Omar Nare, Dos Mundos mixes sounds of traditional mariachi with flamenco rhythms and dance.

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