Fresno

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Central Valley native Juan Felipe Herrera was recently  appointed for a second term as the U.S. Poet Laureate. In his first year he traveled the states with a focus on diversity through his online project "La Casa De Colores." 

Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. Last year he joined the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

The City of Fresno is getting the first round of results from expanded testing of discolored water in the northeastern part of the city. Dozens of homes have tested positive for high levels of lead.

Early test results of nearly 300 homes found 41 had fixtures that tested positive for levels of lead above the level considered safe set by the EPA. 

Another 71 homes also had levels of lead, but they were below the EPA threshold. 

Taser

The phrase ‘seeing is believing’ takes on a whole new meaning in a world full of cellphone videos and police body cameras. Every officer in the Fresno Police Department now wears a camera that records the majority of their work. However, what footage is or isn’t released to the public is a murky subject.

Police body camera video captured the fatal shooting of 19-year old Dylan Noble in graphic detail. It was eventually released to the public to answer questions about why the unarmed man was shot.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new report from the Fresno Police Department appears to show a pattern of African-American residents being over-represented in interactions with police. African-Americans were disproportionately more likely to be interviewed than Hispanic or white residents in all areas of the city.

While they only make up about 6% of the city’s population, black residents made up between 20-to-25% of all field interviews according to police logs from the Office of Independent Review.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

The last time we reported about the Fresno Needle Exchange, it was an illegal program, operating without support from policymakers and under threat of police intervention. It became legal in 2012 under a state law. Now, the program is more popular than ever, and new research suggests it’s making the community safer.

Michael lives in north Fresno. He’s 56. He studied social work and he’s now self-employed. He has a daughter in nearby Dinuba. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Oliver Baines has a unique perspective on the issue of Black Lives Matter and law enforcement. Currently the only African-American on the Fresno City Council, Baines also served around 12 years as an officer with the Fresno Police Department.  Speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition Tuesday, Baines recalled his own experiences with racially biased policing, while pleading for calm and understanding in the wake of recent shootings and protests.  Baines said the often heated rhetoric from people on both sides of the issue serves to distract from the goal of racial reconciliation.

Race, police involved shootings, and the Black Lives Matter movement have captivated the Valley’s media attention over recent weeks. The case of the fatal police shooting of 19-year-old Dylan Noble, an unarmed man from Clovis, rocketed back into the news last week with the release of police body camera footage of the shooting. The video was released, in part, due to public pressure to see the informative but graphic scene.

But some are questioning the motives for the intense media scrutiny.

Fresno Police Department

Fresno Police have arrested the organizer of a Black Lives Matter protest that shut down a major street in Fresno and Clovis on Saturday. Authorities say 20 year-old Clovis resident Justice Medina was cited for blocking streets without a permit. Police say Medina directed several hundred marchers to block traffic on Shaw Avenue. The protest began at Blackstone and Shaw in Fresno and continued east into Clovis. 

Henry R. Perea - Facebook

Northeast Fresno's water problem - corroded residential pipes that have resulted in rusty water that in some cases contains lead - isn't just an issue for the residents involved, it's now the latest issue in the 2016 mayor's race. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Have you ever called your doctor or hospital seeking an appointment and been told the wait will be weeks or maybe months? You have been affected by the Central Valley’s doctor shortage.

Now more than one group is pushing a potential solution, locally sourced doctors from a new medical school.

Being in a waiting room at the doctor’s office isn’t the most pleasant place to be.

But waiting to get into that waiting room can be even worse.

That is what health care experts call a ‘doctor shortage’ and in the valley it’s bad.

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

Widespread concern in northeast Fresno about rusty water that can contain elevated levels of lead is the latest issue in the Fresno mayor's race, while the city continues to maintain that its water is safe to drink.

Speaking in separate events within minutes of each other, mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry Perea exchanged comments today about the city's response to the problem, both past and present. 

Federal and local officials have signed an agreement that could bring the Temperance Flat Dam project one step closer to reality.

On a windswept hill overlooking Millerton Lake, local and federal officials signed an agreement to begin a feasibility study of the project.

The study is necessary to draw down money from the state’s water bond as well as federal matching dollars for the multi-billion-dollar dam.

Fresno mayoral candidate Lee Brand has earned the endorsement of one H Spees, of his former rivals in the June primary. Spees came in third place behind both Brand and Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in the June 7th election.

Fresno mayoral candidate Lee Brand has earned the endorsement of one H Spees, of his former rivals in the June primary. Spees came in third place behind both Brand and Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in the June 7th election.

Michael Conner

The water crisis in Flint Michigan has led a lot of people across the country to ask what’s in their water.  Residents of Northeast Fresno are growing increasingly frustrated with their own water problem that’s been a decade in the making, one that they say is threatening their health.

When you walk into Mari Rose’s modest northeast Fresno home, you are greeted several friendly cats and given a warning ‘don’t drink the tap water’.

“There it is. Like a yellow…looks like pee,” Rose says.

It has been one year since the Fresno Sheriff’s Office began allowing Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents into the county jail to check for undocumented immigrants. Now, immigration advocates are calling for an end to the practice.

Rallying outside the county courthouse, a small group of advocates held signs reading “ICE out of Fresno”.

Luis Ojeda, who himself is living in the country without documentation, says the practice sows fear in the Hispanic community that leads to fewer people reporting crimes.

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