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Fresno

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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.

The Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a new audit claiming the City of Fresno may have misused millions of dollars in community development block grant money.

 

The audit claims the city misspent or failed to properly track money intended improving living standards in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

 

Steve Brandau - Facebook

A Fresno City Councilmember has a new idea on dealing with the city’s homeless population – a law that would ban camping in the city. Councilmember Steve Brandau is set to take the proposed ordinance before the city council Thursday August 17th. If adopted, the law would ban camping on both public and private property in the city.

Brandau says he’s been getting complaints for months from constituents about people camping in the cooking, bathing and even defecating in public.

Joe Moore/KVPR

On the first Thursday night of every month, the Old Fresno Water Tower is typically full of people checking out local art that lines the walls and shelves of the historic building. But while dozens of Art Hop patrons visit the gift shop, gallery and visitors center in one of Fresno’s most recognizable buildings, the future of the downtown landmark is uncertain.

The Fresno Arts Council, which runs the gallery space in the city-owned building, says it is short on cash, and may have to shut the space down within months.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The first major piece of construction for high speed rail in downtown Fresno is complete. On Friday, officials cut the ribbon on a brand new Tuolumne Street bridge.

The massive bridge is designed to carry traffic over the existing railways and create enough space below for the high speed trains.

HSR Board Vice Chair Tom Richards says the bridge is an important symbol of progress that shines far beyond Fresno.

The Kern County District Attorney is dismissing the charges filed against a black teenage woman who was mistaken for a black adult male suspect by Bakersfield Police.

Wednesday, District Attorney Lisa Green announced she would drop all charges filed against Tatyana Hargrove including resisting arrest and use of force against a police officer.

Valley Public Radio

The next time you go to Fresno City Hall or see a city employee looking for people watering their yards on banned watering days, that employee might be carrying a concealed fire arm. That's if the Fresno City Council approves a new proposal from council member Garry Bredefeld.

There are more than 1,500 people in the city of Fresno who have a permit to carry a concealed weapon.

Among that group, some almost certainly are city employees working everywhere from behind a desk to doing code enforcement on abandoned properties.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Professional soccer is coming to Fresno. The creation of the Fresno Football Club was officially announced at Chukchansi Park Wednesday 

The Fresno Fire Squad fan club was on hand today to celebrate the creation of a new professional team playing in the United Soccer League.

Team owner and luxury car dealer Ray Beshoff says Fresno has demonstrated that there is a market for soccer through its support for the amateur teams, the Fuego and the Freeze.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Residents around Mariposa are picking up the pieces left behind in the wake of the Detwiler Fire. For many, that means returning to homes damaged or completely destroyed by the fast moving blaze.

This week Valley Public Radio spoke with a wide range of people who were affected in some way by the fire to find out how they are feeling and what their plans are going forward.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Residents of the town of Mariposa are free to return to their homes. Cal Fire has lifted the evacuation order caused by the Detwiler Fire that sent the town’s roughly 2,000 residents scrambling. As of Friday morning, the fire has burned 58 single family homes.

Cal Fire officials say that while the fire continues to burn it is no longer a threat to enter the city.

Andy Isolano with Cal Fire says cooperation from the weather and an influx of firefighters helped to protect the historic mining town.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

As the Detwiler Fire continues to grow, residents in the surrounding area are growing increasingly nervous. Many residents are already making preparations to evacuate if necessary.

One of those residents is Jack Wass. Wass is a lifelong resident of Bootjack which is just a few miles southeast of Mariposa on the edge of the evacuation zone on Highway 49.

Wass and his friend are trying to jumpstart his truck to make sure it is ready to roll in case they get word they have to leave.

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