Fresno

Drought
9:58 pm
Mon February 24, 2014

Voices Of The Drought: Nurseryman Jon Reelhorn

Jon Reelhorn says business is up for his nursery when it comes to drought resistant plant.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This is the second piece in Valley Public Radio's occasional series, called Voices of the Drought. This week FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero visits with Fresno nurseryman Jon Reelhorn.

Jon Reelhorn wasn’t always a nurseryman. Back when he was a student at Fresno State he spent more time in the dugout than in the greenhouse.

“I’m a city boy from Stockton that came to Fresno State on a baseball scholarship and it’s an ag school so you had to figure out what you were going to do,” Reelhorn says.

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Drought
7:52 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Obama Visits Drought-Stricken Fresno, Calls For Congressional Action

President Obama walks toward Marine One with Rep. Jim Costa
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

President Obama visited the valley today in a whirlwind tour, delivering a speech this afternoon at the Los Banos farm of Joe Del Bosque to announce his proposal for emergency drought relief. He says that while the lack of rain and snow is a concern to the Central Valley, it’s also a national issue:

Obama: “California is our biggest economy, California is our biggest agricultural producer, so what happens here matters to every working American, right down to the cost of food that you put on your table.”

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Developing
3:00 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Obama To Announce Federal Drought Relief With Fresno Trip

file photo
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

President Obama will visit the Central Valley this afternoon to announce an aid package to help farmers, ranchers and communities hit hard by California's record drought. After landing in Fresno, the President is expected to attend a roundtable discussion about the drought in Firebaugh and tour a farm in Los Banos.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the President's message will be clear:

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Government & Politics
2:32 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Is It Terrible, Or A Treasure? Fresno's Fulton Mall Debate Heats Up

Fresno's 50 year-old downtown Fulton Mall would be removed under a plan proposed by the City of Fresno (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Is Fresno's Fulton Mall a priceless piece of art, or an impediment to revitalization of the city's historic core? That's the issue facing the Fresno City Council later this month, as the debate to re-open the pedestrian mall to vehicle traffic heats up, thanks to a $16 million federal grant. 

On Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, we invited guests with two different perspectives to join us and talk about their competing visions for the future of this historic part of the city. They were:

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Commentary
11:24 am
Tue February 4, 2014

Commentary: Hmong Girls Feel Pressure To Be "Thick"

Chonny Vang, 15, is a sophomore at Edison High School.
Credit The kNOw Youth Media

Popular culture and traditional values often differ when it comes to perspective on healthy weight for girls. In this commentary, Edison High School Student Mai Chong Vang tells her story of self-acceptance while belonging to cultures that promote opposing ideal body types and how Hmong and American perspectives have challenged her to accept who she is.

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My name is Mai Chong Vang, but I go by Chonny.

I’m from East Central Fresno, my family is Hmong and we practice Shamanism.

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Community
11:13 am
Tue February 4, 2014

"Who Am I?" Hmong Youth Face Choices Between Religion And Culture

Thousands of youth flocked to the Fresno Fair Grounds for Hmong New Year. #Iamhmong
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The question of “Who am I?” is a normal insecurity for teens and it’s a no brainer that Hmong youth in Central California would face a similar struggle. They’re grappling with the tribal religions of their refugee parents, other faiths encountered in the U.S., and the pressures of conforming to popular culture. Some have clung to the tribal ways of their ancestors, while others have lost faith altogether. Valley Public Radio Reporter Ezra David Romero visits with a group of Fresno Hmong high school students to bring you a glimpse into their struggle.

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Drought
6:43 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Westside Growers Will Get To Keep Last Year's Banked Water

Congressman Jim Costa (D-Fresno) speaks to the media today about California's drought
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Westside farmers who banked excess water last year in San Luis Reservoir anticipating a drought won't have to give it up, according to an announcement today from the US Bureau of Reclamation. 

The farmers had faced the threat of losing that water to other farmers who hold senior water rights, such as the San Joaquin River Exchange Contractors. 

The Bureau was facing political bipartisan political pressure against reallocating the water. But the move could leave the door open to lawsuits. 

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Transportation
5:30 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

Fresno's Bus Rapid Transit Plan Faces Opposition

A rendering of the a proposed BRT bus for Fresno.
Credit Anil Verma Associates / Fresno FAX

The Fresno City Council is set to debate a proposal tonight to bring a hi-tech express bus line to city. But as FM89’s Joe Moore reports, the $50 million federal grant that would fund the project is generating some controversy.
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The proposal calls for new high capacity express bus service, known as Bus Rapid Transit, to be built along Blackstone and Kings Canyon Avenues in Fresno. The new bus line would replace existing FAX service on those routes and would decrease travel time for riders by as much as an hour and a half in some cases.

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Sports
4:29 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

A Tale Of Two (Hockey) Cities: Bakersfield And Fresno Face Different ECHL Futures

Ice hockey fans cheered the Fresno Falcons for only a few games in 2007 before the team went out of business.
Credit SMG - Fresno Convention Center

The last seven days have been significant ones for local ice hockey fans. Last week, the Bakersfield Condors of the ECHL announced that the team has been acquired by the NHL’s Edmonton Oliers. Fans and local officials hope the change will help give a boost to the popular franchise in many ways.

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Water
5:48 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Urge Water Bond and Drought Declaration

State Senator Anthony Canella speaks at a rally on the State Capitol steps on Thursday.
Credit Twitter account of Senator Anthony Canella / http://twitter.com/AnthonyCannella

A bipartisan group of lawmakers, farmers and farm workers gathered on the Capitol steps today to call on California Governor Jerry Brown to declare a drought.

The Latino Water Coalition also wants to see legislation that would put a water bond on the 2014 ballot. Supporters say the state is experiencing some of the driest conditions on record, and farmers livelihoods are at stake.

Republican State Senator Anthony Canella from the Central Valley says increased water storage should be part of the water bond package.

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Government & Politics
5:20 pm
Thu January 16, 2014

In Fresno, Advocates & Bus Riders Call For Speedy New Bus Network

Fresno Council Member Oliver Baines is a supporter of Bus Rapid Transit.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

 

Around 40 activists, health advocates and bus riders rallied in Central Fresno Thursday urging the Fresno City Council to support an improved bus system.

Bus Rapid Transit would be a network of busses that would reduce travel time on major corridors like Blackstone Avenue by having fewer stops, pre-boarding fare collection and priority traffic signals. Fifty million dollars in federal and state funding has already been allocated which will pay for construction and the first three years of operation.

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Government & Politics
6:00 pm
Wed January 15, 2014

Federal and Local Law Enforcement Break Central Valley Mail Theft Rings

Federal and local law enforcement agencies have announced the results of a months-long operation targeting mail theft rings in Sacramento, Fresno and Bakersfield.
Credit Capital Public Radio

Federal and local law enforcement officials have announced arrests and prosecutions in a flurry of mail theft cases.  As Max Pringle reports, Sacramento, Bakersfield and Fresno were the focus of months of investigations.

Last year, U.S. Postal Service inspectors from around the country came to the Central Valley to help local police investigate an upswing in mail theft. Greg Campbell with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service says mail theft and drug abuse usually go hand-in-hand.

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Environment
10:05 am
Tue January 14, 2014

Valley Air Cleanup Targets Restaurant Charbroilers

Matt Billingsley, the general manager of Dog House Grill, says the eatery cooks up 1,200 pounds of tri-tip daily.
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

People in Central California love barbecue. From backyard grills to popular new restaurants featuring tri tip, ribs and brisket, it’s one of the biggest food trends in the valley. One Fresno destination is so popular, a line wraps around its building daily.

Fresno’s Dog House Grill is Valley famous for tri-tip, pulled pork and their family recipe barbecue sauce.

Connie Nicholson and her husband visit Dog House weekly.

“I like the Barbecue sauce, it’s really good and the tri-tip’s always just right,” Nicholson says. “I get the tri-tip sandwich every time.”

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Community
4:50 pm
Thu January 9, 2014

Renters' Rights Group Files Lawsuit Against Prominent Fresno Landlord

Malaquias Esteves, right, and his children live in a home owned by JD Homes. He is a plaintiff in the class action lawsuit.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

A statewide renters’ rights organization has filed a class action suit against JD Homes Rentals for operating what it calls ‘slum’ rental housing in Fresno. FM89’s Rebecca Plevin reports:

Jesucita Esteves grew up in one of JD Homes’ rental homes.

ESTEVES: “We were living in ugly conditions. Our rooms were full of mold. Our carpet wasn’t even carpet anymore, it was like dirt. It was nasty.” 

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Water
5:47 pm
Wed January 8, 2014

Patterson Calls For Halt To San Joaquin River Restoration Releases

Water is released from Friant Dam near Fresno into the San Joaquin River as part of the river restoration program (file photo)
Credit San Joaquin River Restoration Program

Citing a historically dry 2013, Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) is calling for the federal government to stop water releases from Friant Dam for the San Joaquin River Restoration program.

Since 2009 the restoration program has released water into the river on an interim basis in an effort to bring back salmon populations to a stretch of the channel that has been dry for decades. The restoration agreement calls for those flows to become permanent in 2014.

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10:04 am
Fri January 3, 2014

Fresno Scores High In Livability List For Those Under 35

Fresno ranks as the nation's 24th most livable city for those under 35, according to a new ranking by the website Vocativ. The city rated high for its cost of living and relatively youthful population.
The city of Fresno has been attracting a steady stream of young professionals. David Jordan FRESNO, Calif. - It's not New York. It's not San Francisco or Chicago or Miami. But there's something about this place that trumps the bright-lights-big-city allure of more notable urban hubs, especially for young people.
Environment
5:06 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

San Joaquin River Restoration Hits Snags

Friant Dam's construction in the 1940's dried up 60 miles of the San Joaquin River
State Department of Water Resources

It’s been almost eight years since the US Bureau of Reclamation began its program to restore the San Joaquin River. In the 1940’s Friant Dam and irrigation diversion dried up 60 miles of California’s second largest river. Historic salmon runs disappeared. This January is the deadline for the program to restore enough water to the San Joaquin to eventually allow runs of Chinook salmon. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the restoration program has been plagued by delays and increased costs.

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Local Government
11:48 am
Tue December 24, 2013

Swearengin: Time To Fix Fresno Neighborhoods 'On The Brink'

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin joined us on Valley Edition to talk about her priorities for the city and some of the biggest issues facing local residents, from homelessness to city finances to public safety. Here are some highlights from our conversation:

On plans to raise water rates to pay for a new surface water treatment plant and replace aging infrastructure:

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Valley Edition
10:48 am
Tue December 24, 2013

On Valley Edition: Fresno Mayor; Meditation In High School; Kern & Madera Counties Water Exchange

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition host Joe Moore recaps the year with Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. The two discuss everything from high speed rail to law enforcement.

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Community
12:00 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

Egan Shares Dust Bowl Memories With 'Worst Hard Time'

The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl - by Timothy Egan
Credit Mariner Books

California's Central Valley will be forever linked in history with the story of the Dust Bowl. Cities like Bakersfield and Fresno were the final destination for many who fled Oklahoma and nearby states during the 1930's - an era of dust storms, drought and the Great Depression. But what about those who stayed behind? And did John Steinbeck get the story right in his novel "The Grapes of Wrath?"

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