Fresno

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This past weekend’s El Nino caused storms brought needed rain to the region and as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports enough fell in the Valley to mark a milestone in California's drought. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

It’s the end of an era in downtown Fresno.

After years of hard fought battles over the fate of the Fulton Mall, demolition is underway. Dozens turned out for an official ground breaking on a project to pull out the six-block pedestrian walking mall in downtown Fresno and turn it back into a street.

Music blared and Fresno Fuego fans banged drums to celebrate what many see as a new chapter in the history of downtown Fresno. The vision of supporters is to revive the downtown corridor by opening up the corridor to vehicle traffic.

Leaders of the City of Fresno have officially broken ground on one of the biggest public utilities projects in city history.

Although trucks are already working on the 58-acre site in southeast Fresno, city leaders celebrated the start of the nearly $200 million project Wednesday by signing a section of the 6-foot diameter pipe that will carry water from the Kings River to the plant.

Once the surface water treatment plant is fully operational it is expected to deliver as much as 80-million gallons of drinking water a day to the city.

H. Spees campaign

The race to become Fresno's next mayor is starting to heat up. One of the three candidates vying for the seat is a relative political outsider, Fresno pastor and community activist H. Spees. After years of work with local non-profit groups, Spees says he now wants to lead California's fifth largest city. In this interview on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, Spees says he hopes to reduce crime and homelessness, while ensuring that the city re-invests in older parts of town. Join us in future weeks for similar conversations with fellow candidates Henry R.

Rogue Festival

The Rogue Festival gathers artists, musicians, actors and comedians from around the county for a fringe festival unlike any other. The first festival had two venues and 47 shows. Today it's grown to over 70 performers with 300 plus performances.  The festival runs from March 3 - 12. 

To learn more about what to expect from this year's festival Valley Edition Host Joe Moore spoke with Rogue Festival Programmer Jonathon Hogan. To listen to the interview click play above.

For more information visit www.roguefestival.com.

Lyft Press

For the first time, a ride-hailing company will be allowed legally to pick up and drop off riders at the Fresno Yosemite International Airport.

On Friday, the city of Fresno reached an agreement with the Ride-hailing company Lyft to allow their drivers to run to and from the airport.

Previously, because of Public Utility Commission rules only taxi companies had official permission to operate at the airport. Lyft is now agreeing to follow all the same rules. The deal takes effect immediately.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we hear from KVPR Reporter Jeffrey Hess about how the Fresno Bridge Academy is helping Valley families out of poverty. We also hear from Dean Florez who was recently  appointed to the California Air Resources Board. Reporter Jeffrey Hess also explains the poppy super bloom taking place across California.

High Speed Rail Authority

The decision by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to build the northern section of track first is having big consequences for the location of the project’s heavy maintenance facility. The facility and is highly sought after by several valley communities, and is expected to bring with it around 1,500 jobs.

In the authority’s new proposal, the first section of functional track would run from San Jose to Shafter.

Christopher Rocha - http://www.vintagefresno.com/ - used with permission

UPDATED 2/26:

A long-awaited development project near Chukchansi Park has earned the Fresno City Council’s unanimous approval.

The city authorized more than $1 million dollars in public money to enable developers to construct a mixed use commercial-residental building at the corner of Fulton and Inyo streets next to the park.

Council member Oliver Baines, whose district includes the project, urged support for the deal.

Nader Assemi

Right now, Central California’s rolling mountain foothills are painted in brilliant orange flowers. After years of drought, California poppies are back with a vengeance.

Standing on the side of highway 168, Sandy Kowallis uses a knife to spread sky blue oil paint on a fresh canvas to capture the beauty of two poppy covered hillsides.

“And that should make it even more interesting. Because if you put a complement next to each other, like orange and blue, each will intensify the other,” Kowallis said.

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