Fresno

After years of delays, and ongoing lawsuits, officials with the city of Fresno say they are finally going to turn the Fulton mall back into a street. The question of what to do with the aging pedestrian walking area in the center of downtown Fresno has been a sore spot in the city for years. City and business leaders say all signs point to the project breaking ground as soon as this fall.

A piano player picks out a tune on the piano in the corner of the popular downtown bar Peeve’s.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

When you think of California’s major technology centers, you probably think of Silicon Valley, or maybe even San Diego, but Fresno probably isn’t at the top of your list.  

Joe Moore
Valley Public Radio

Fresno City leaders say construction could start on the project to turn the Fulton Mall into a street as early as this summer. Opponents of the project say they are not giving up the fight.

The city had expected to break ground on the project this month.

City Manager Bruce Rudd says they won’t make that goal, but they will begin work soon.

“We are hoping to have this go out to bid within the next 60-to-90 days. It will probably be on the street for sixty days. And hopefully back before the council in August to award a contract,” Rudd said.

http://www.traillink.com/trail/fresno-sugar-pine-trail--clovis-old-town-trail.aspx

Among the defining physical features of San Joaquin Valley cities are their irrigation canals. Some are just small ditches, while others are massive channels, but they all carry vital water to cities and farms throughout the region and have helped to make the valley bloom, and our modern economy possible.

Their banks are also un-official recreation spots for many, but a number of people want to change that, making their meandering paths part of a new network of community trails -  linear urban parks for walking, running and cycling. 

Ezra David Romero

This week on Valley Edition FM89's Diana Aguilera reports on one Fresno group's vision to tackle homelessness by creating eco-friendly shelters. John Lindt, with Sierra2theSea.net, joins the program for a conversation about the possibility of a new Central California town called Quay Valley that may have a hyper loop. 

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Fresno’s homeless problem has been at the forefront of many debates. But there’s one group in town that’s created a new model for homeless housing. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on the expansion of a housing project on Dakota Avenue.

Over a year ago Nancy Holmes had nowhere to go after she was evicted from a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno. Holmes ended up on a dusty piece of land on the west side of the city.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition reporter Jennifer Burger attends the Central Valley opening of the feature film McFarland, USA.  Reporter Ezra David Romero goes on a bus tour with 4o East Asian farmers to the Bay to discover new markets. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Many small farmers have success selling their produce at farmers markets, but selling to larger food distributors can be difficult. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on a new project that hopes to connect one group of Southeast Asian growers with Bay Area buyers.

    

Small Hmong farms dot Fresno County growing specialty crops like the red date jujube, lemon grass and bitter melon. But more often than not, these farmers lack the resources and the know how to get their produce to larger markets.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new state loan could help make the City of Fresno’s proposed water rate increase more palatable for local rate payers. 

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin announced the city’s revised water plan Thursday, which now includes a $186 million loan from the state. She says while rates would still go up, the new cash means the average monthly increase would be around $3 a month less than originally proposed.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we speak with Fresno State Political Science Professor Jeff Cummins about California politics and his new book "Boom and Bust: The Politics of the California Budget."

https://www.flickr.com/photos/ddotphotos/5638201983/in/set-72157626541197176

With the popularity of bike-share programs growing across the nation, Fresno is one step closer to a system of its own. 

In order to improve air quality and to provide another low-cost transportation option, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is helping Fresno State and the City of Fresno plan a bike-sharing system.

Fresno is one of 21 communities to receive the grant, which will help start a pilot program on the university campus. Thomas Gaffery Fresno State’s parking and transportation manager.

Fresno Grand Opera

This Sunday the stage of the William Saroyan Theatre comes alive in the Fresno Grand Opera’s production of Andre Previn’s opera “A Streetcar Named Desire.” But it’s not just a great chance to hear world class-musicians, it’s also a big moment for the company as it enters a new era.

Last year the Fresno Grand Opera and the Townsend Opera in Modesto joined forces in a partnership that at least in Central California is unprecedented. The companies now share both the same programming, and the same management staff, while remaining distinct entities. 

Fresno County Department of Public Health

On Monday a child care center in Santa Monica closed after a baby there contracted measles. It’s just the latest case in California  – at least 92 since December – that has health officials worried about a possible widespread outbreak.

Last week the measles concern hit Fresno County after officials revealed that a man with the virus visited the third and fourth floors of Community Regional Medical Center, as well as Fashion Fair Mall and Winco Foods on Kings Canyon and Peach between January 22nd and 25th.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the ongoing measles scare with Dr.

Community Regional Medical Center

The ongoing battle over pediatric services between two Central Valley hospitals reached another level Monday. 

Community Medical Centers and UCSF plan to strengthen their partnership in the valley by expanding pediatric specialty care and a pediatric medical education program at CMC’s downtown Fresno hospital.

The center’s announcement came weeks after rival Valley Children’s Hospital revealed a plan to build its own pediatric residency and fellowship programs, after working with UCSF for years.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Leaders in Fresno would like to change the way the city’s water is managed through a massive infrastructure project, but one city council members new stance on the plan could complicate its passage. 

A planned $429 million water project in the city of Fresno would replace an existing system relying on groundwater and instead treat surface water from area rivers for drinking. But not everyone is happy about the plan, which could double residents’ water bills.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

More than a thousand supporters of California High Speed Rail filled the barren lot of what is supposed to become a multistory train station in Fresno today for a symbolic groundbreaking.

Nearly two years after construction was supposed to start, and more than six years after voters approved a bond to help fund California high speed rail, state and local leaders met in Fresno’s historic Chinatown today to mark the start of the project’s construction.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look ahead to what 2015 will hold for the San Joaquin Valley in a variety of areas from the oil industry to the arts. We start with a look at the political landscape in 2015 by talking with Fresno State political science professor Thomas Holyoke.

For a preview of what the local agriculture industry has in store we talk with Ryan Jacobsen of the Fresno County Farm Bureau and Tricia Stever Blattler of the Tulare County Farm Bureau.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For many veterans life after war is anything but easy, once home veterans often find themselves isolated from the world around them. But one Fresno group’s mission is to provide a setting for veterans to come out of hiding and also learn more about their culture.

BCDOIC

Starting in 2015, the Department of Motor Vehicles expects about 1.5 million undocumented immigrants to apply for a driver license. For many, this will be their first time legally driving in the state.

Immigration advocates applaud this change but also say there's a big concern. Some are worried they will fail the behind the wheel test since it won't be offered in the native languages many immigrants speak.

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