Fresno

Community
11:17 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Could Fresno's Ventura Avenue Transform Into a "Better Block?"

Ventura Avenue in Southwest Fresno was transformed Saturday into a "Better Block."
Credit PLACEWORKS

There’s a lot of talk in Fresno about revitalization of downtown. But residents in other parts of the city, including Southeast Fresno also are eager to see an injection of new life and revitalization.

Recently a coalition of organizations held an event that sought to show what a revitalized Ventura Avenue and Kings Canyon Road would look like. 

Their project created pop-up “parklets” and temporary crosswalks, landscaping and other amenities to demonstrate how small changes can make a streetscape more pedestrian friendly.

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Business & Economy
8:58 pm
Mon November 17, 2014

New Buyer, Restoration Plan Emerges For Historic Hotel Fresno

The hotel was designed by noted architect Edward T. Foulkes who also designed the iconic Oakland Tribune Tower. (file photo)
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

The historic Hotel Fresno, a landmark on the city's skyline since 1912, could soon be reborn as the latest residential development in the downtown district.

The Fresno City Council is set to vote Thursday on a plan that would allow potential new owners APEC International, LLC to move forward with the $21 million restoration project. Their vision would transform the vacant hotel into a 70 unit apartment building.

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Arts & Culture
6:12 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

Kuchar To Step Down As Conductor Of Fresno Philharmonic in 2016

Theodore Kuchar, conductor and music director of the Fresno Philharmonic. (file photo)
Credit Fresno Philharmonic

The Fresno Philharmonic will soon be looking for a new conductor and musical director. Theodore Kuchar, who has led the orchestra for the past 13 seasons announced on Thursday that he plans to step down following the conclusion of the 2015-2016 season. 

In a written statement Kuchar praised the orchestra's performances:

Kuchar: "I have no reservation in saying that the Fresno Philharmonic and I have often delivered performances that are not typical of a regional American orchestra but those of a standard to be expected in a major musical capitol."

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Community
3:45 pm
Wed November 12, 2014

Fresno City College OAB Earns National Historic Preservation Honor

The historic Old Administration Building at Fresno City College was restored in 2011after sitting vacant for decades.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Long abandoned and once nearly demolished, Fresno City College's newly restored Old Administration Building (OAB) is now the recipient of a prestigious national award. The National Trust For Historic Preservation announced Wednesday that it has awarded the project its Preservation Honor Award. It is one of 17 projects nationwide to receive the award, which is one of the nation's top historic preservation honors. 

Tim Mikulski with the National Trust says the OAB is significant both in Fresno's history, and in the development of school architecture nationally:

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Veterans
9:31 am
Tue November 11, 2014

A Veterans Day Love Story, From Sea To The Courtroom

Jason Trupkin is in his first semester of law school in Clovis, Calif.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This report is the second piece in the Valley Public Radio series "Common Threads: Veterans Still Fighting The War.Support for this series comes from Cal Humanities, as part of the War Comes Home initiative. 

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Government & Politics
6:26 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

Tacherra Continues To Lead Costa In CA-16

Incumbent Democrat Jim Costa and Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra are locked in a close race for California's 16th Congressional District
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Revised vote totals are in for some of the valley’s tightest political races. New numbers released Friday evening from Merced County for California’s 16th Congressional District have Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra now leading Democratic incumbent Jim Costa by 741 votes.

Costa increased his lead in Fresno County by around 1700 votes on Friday, but that was more than offset with gains by Tacherra in Madera and Merced counties.  Tacherra ended the day increase his overall lead by five votes.

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Arts & Culture
11:38 am
Thu November 6, 2014

Fresno Native To Donate $500 Million In Art To LA Museum

Jerrold “Jerry” Perenchio was awarded an honorary doctorate by California State University Fresno in 2011.
Credit California State University

The LA County Museum of Art has announced an estimated $500 million gift from Fresno native Jerry Perenchio. Born in Fresno in 1931, Perenchio is the former owner of the Spanish-language broadcast network Univision. Among the works in Perenchio's bequest are pieces by Degas, Monet, and Picasso.

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Government & Politics
4:11 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

State Controller Hopeful Ashley Swearengin on Valley Edition

Ashley Swearengin
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In most years, the race for state controller is largely overshadowed by contests for other statewide offices. But this year, the contest between Betty Yee and Ashley Swearengin has attracted wide interest, especially in the San Joaquin Valley.

Yee, a Democrat and a member of the Board of Equalization narrowly edged out John Perez for second place in the June primary. And with Democrats splitting their vote between two candidates, Swearengin, who is in her second term as Fresno’s mayor, finished in first.

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Government & Politics
6:01 pm
Thu October 2, 2014

Swearengin Voices Support For Gay Marriage

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin speaking at Fresno City Hall for a recent campaign event.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has announced that she now supports gay marriage. Swearengin, a Republican who is running for state controller had been a supporter of Proposition 8. She announced her new position last week at a meeting of an LGBT conservative group in Southern California. 

Kevin Gilhooley is the president of the Orange County Log Cabin Republicans. Swearengin spoke to his group last week and took questions from the audience.

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Community
10:56 am
Thu October 2, 2014

Teatro Azteca: Dreaming Up Spanish Language Theater In Fresno

Laura Barboza has dreamed of opening a theater since she was a child.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

The United States is dominated by box office hits played at megaplexes with sometimes as many as 21 plus screens, but no more than a few decades ago film venues looked very different especially for the Latino community. But today in Fresno, one young woman has taken on the task to reopen the region’s only Spanish language theater.

Thirty years ago, the main hall of Teatro Azteca in Fresno’s Chinatown was filled with the sounds of famous Spanish language actors, singers and comedians.

Think Cantinflas, the Mexican Charlie Chaplin. 

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Music
2:57 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Fresno Philharmonic Kicks Off The 2014-15 Concert Season

Credit http://www.fresnophil.org/

The Fresno Philharmonic begins its 61st season this weekend. This year the orchestra will feature a diverse  mix of concerts, with programs dedicated to Armenian contributions to classical music, and a complete cycle of Beethoven’s five piano concertos.

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Government & Politics
2:38 pm
Tue September 23, 2014

Ten Years Later, Will Fresno County Voters Keep Zoo Tax?

Visitors fill up the underwater viewing area at the Sea Lion Cove exhibit.
Diana Aguilera Valley Public Radio

After struggling to keep its accreditation back in 2004, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo got a boost from voters with a special sales tax. Now a decade later the zoo is again asking voters for their help on the November ballot. But as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, some say Fresno’s zoo is already being saved.

Nearly eleven years ago Angel Arrellano wrote a letter to her local newspaper.

“Dear Fresno Bee. My name is Angel and I am nine. I heard that the Chafee Zoo is having money problems.”

Along with her letter, Angel sent something extra.

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History
5:35 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Old Fresno County Courthouse Relic To Get New Home At Fairgrounds

Representatives of the Big Fresno Fair and the Fresno Historical Society gather to announce the restoration of the cupola and plans for the new museum.
Big Fresno Fair

The cupola that once sat on top of the dome of the old Fresno County Courthouse from 1895 to 1966 will soon have a new home. Representatives of the Big Fresno Fair and the Fresno Historical Society announced Tuesday that the relic will be restored and placed on top of a planned expansion of the Big Fresno Fair Museum at the fairgrounds. 

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Robert Oliver said the project will preserve an important part of Fresno County's historic and it's judicial system. 

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Valley Edition
4:02 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Valley Edition: September 9 - Fifty Years On The Fulton Mall; Café Scientifique

Valley Edition September 9, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we explore Fresno's Fulton Mall fifty years after its opening. FM89's Joe Moore takes a look at how the once innovative and bustling outdoor mall transformed over the years. The documentary style piece is filled with the memories of those who shopped there, the minds behind the mall and those who still visit the mall today. 

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Community
12:50 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Fulton Mall At 50: When Things Don't Go According To Plan

Fresno's Fulton Mall was once a national model for urban revitalization. But the dream for a new Fresno unraveled quickly.

Fifty years ago this month, Fresno captured national headlines by closing its main street to the automobile and opening the Fulton Mall. This six-block long pedestrian only plaza was supposed to be the centerpiece of an ambitious plan for urban renewal, and the growth of the entire region. It was supposed to save Fresno from the evils of urban decay, suburban sprawl, and air pollution. Yet the result was exactly the opposite. How and why did that happen?

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Environment
5:25 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Bow Hunter Accused Of Starting Rim Fire Pleads Not Guilty

The blaze engulfed more than 250 thousand acres, costing around $127 million to fight the Rim Fire.
Credit Mike McMillan / US Forest Service

The hunter accused of starting the massive Rim Fire last year in the Stanislaus National Forest and Yosemite National Park surrendered to federal authorities today.

Wearing a white t-shirt and jeans with his wrists and ankles cuffed, Keith Matthew Emerald pleaded not guilty on a four count indictment today in federal court in Fresno.

He turned himself over to U.S. Marshals Service this morning prior to his afternoon arraignment on charges that his illegal campfire grew beyond his control and sparked the largest wildfire recorded in the Sierra Nevada.

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Valley Edition
11:46 am
Tue August 12, 2014

Valley Edition: August 12 - The Perfect Peach; Gerald Haslam; Jazz With Karen Marguth

Valley Edition August 12, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look into our vault to three of what we consider the best segments on the program over the last year or so.

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Agriculture
5:09 pm
Tue August 5, 2014

'Fig Fest' Celebrates A Tasty Valley Tradition

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno and figs have a long history together. Nearly 100 years ago,  real estate developer J.C. Forkner purchased thousands of acres of hardpan soil miles north of the city of Fresno. 

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Government & Politics
7:24 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Faced With Measure W, Fresno Council Revokes Water Rate Increase

Fresno City Hall (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to repeal a city water plan they introduced in 2013, after a referendum petition known as Measure W threatened to put the repeal before voters.

Measure W began as a grassroots campaign and eventually collected 5500 signatures, enough to become a ballot measure. The water plan it helped repeal involved increasing Fresno residents' water bills to pay for a $410 million-upgrade to the city's water infrastructure. City Councilmember Steve Brandau:

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Government & Politics
3:32 pm
Thu July 31, 2014

Kashkari Takes Poverty Message To Fresno, Spends Week Living On Streets

Neel Kashkari posed as a homeless person in Fresno looking for work as part of a new campaign video released this week.
Credit YouTube/ Kashkari for Governor

Update: 8/5/2014
Neel Kashkari spoke with Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore for the program Valley Edition about his Fresno video and his thoughts on poverty in the San Joaquin Valley. 

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Original post:

Neel Kashkari has taken his campaign to become California's next governor to the streets of downtown Fresno in a viral video attacking Governor Jerry Brown's message of a "California comeback."

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