Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

It’s one of the most maligned stretches of road in Fresno, Blackstone Avenue. With a reputation for being dangerous, unwelcoming, and rundown. But city leaders say they have a plan to fix it, and it starts with a bus. However, not everyone is convinced the avenue can be improved.

It’s not hard to get a sense of what many people think of Blackstone Avenue.

Just ask one simple question of people in Fresno: Would you take a walk down Blackstone?

“No, because I don’t want to be considered as one of those little street walkers,”

Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics /

A coalition including the ACLU and Equality California held a forum in Fresno Thursday evening to talk about certain state laws, they say criminalize people living with HIV. Including, the possibility of being charged with a felony for donating blood while HIV positive, for soliciting and for exposing others to the disease. And most often that means jail time.

Craig Pulsipher is with the AIDS Project Los Angeles.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council could carve out an exemption from water conservation rules for backyard fruit and vegetable gardens. The goal is to encourage more urban farming.

The exemption, proposed by Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria, would allow for daily drip irrigation of backyard gardens.

Soria says current watering rules are too restrictive, and could be deterring people from growing their own food especially in poor areas.

Today marks the first day of class for Fresno State students. As FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports the university is now offering services specifically for undocumented students.

The Dream Outreach Center is a place where undocumented students, known as "dreamers", can go to get help in their journey to and through college. It’s the first time Fresno State is offering this type of help to incoming and currently enrolled students, whether it’s filling out applications or financial aid paperwork.

Raul Moreno is the coordinator.

As students head back for another year of school, one small district in the valley is on the cutting edge of education. The Lindsay School district has eliminated grades and grade levels. School leaders say the scheme has transformed education.

Its 7:30 a.m. on the first day of school and students at the Lindsay High School re-connect with friends and wait for the bell to ring.

The roughly 1,000 students are part of just a handful of districts in the country using a system called Performance Based Grading.

The falling price and exploding popularity of consumer drones are causing growing concern about the nation’s newest consumer craze. Rouge drone operators are becoming a nuisance, invading sensitive and private air space, and regulators are nearly powerless to stop them.

In a dusty field in central Fresno, wedding photographer and hobby drone enthusiast Chris Geiger fires up the electric motors on his small four propeller helicopter.

The two-foot wide white and black robot leaps into the air and hovers for a moment, perfectly steady.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

There’s been a lot of noise around El Niño in the news lately. We don’t know if it’ll cure California’s drought, but in places prone to flooding officials are already prepping for the worst.  FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on why officials hope to dig deep to prevent flooding and restore the aquifer.

At the moment the mood is hopeful at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in Hanford.   

"National Weather Service, this is Jerald How may I help you," says Jerald Meadows, warning coordination meteorologist with the San Joaquin Valley Weather Forecast Office. 

Fresno’s Planned Parenthood clinics are the latest target in a series of controversial videos about the clinics and their practices. A former employee claims she was pressured to collect fetal body parts without the mother’s consent.

“It really wore me down. The environment is morbid. You can feel it,”

That’s Holly O’Donnell a phlebotomist who says she used to work at Planned Parenthood clinics in Fresno.

The video is the sixth released by the anti-abortion group Center for Medical Progress.

Phil Welker, DRS Technologies

The aging air fleet the U.S. Forest Service uses to fight fires in California is posing a deadly danger to the pilots and the firefighters on the ground. Now, for the first time in decades, new planes are coming into service to help battle the blaze and make firefighting safer.

The planes are re-purposed Coast Guard planes turned into air tankers that spray fire retardant. That slows the speed and intensity of the fires. Jennifer Jones with the U.S. forest Service explains how the planes will help and why it took so long for get bring them into service.

Fresno County has a huge animal overpopulation problem. Very soon, the county could have a new animal control shelter and a new company running it. That group, The Animal Compassion Team, has been one of the biggest critics of the county’s animal kill rate.

Now, they says they have a plan to euthanize fewer animals.

At the Animal Compassion Team’s south Fresno shelter dogs bark and jump in a pen.

The group, which currently runs a no kill shelter, is likely to win the contract to take over animal control for the entire county later this year.