Fresno

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Reporter Kerry Klein visits the Tulare County community of Matheny Tract that will soon have drinking water for the first time in 10 years. KVPR's Jeffrey Hess reports on what's going to happen to all the trees being torn out of Fresno's Fulton Mall. Also on the program we hear from Karen Humphrey, Fresno's First Woman Mayor. Humphrey will speak at the Fresno chapter of the League of Woman Voters 75th anniversary on May 18.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Crews are currently hard at work cutting down many of the over 100 trees that line the Fulton Mall. They are being removed as part of the project to turn the mall back into a street. But some of the trees will find a new life.

Chainsaws reverberate down the concrete canyon of the Fulton Mall. Workers are cutting into the trunk of a 30 foot tall pine. They then push the smaller section of the tree to earth where it lands with a meaty thunk.

Courtsey of Mike Rhodes

Mike Rhodes has covered homelessness in Fresno for over a decade. He’s witnessed police taunt  homeless people, he’s called out government officials for their perspectives on those underserved and most recently he wrote a book combining those experiences.

Rhodes is a community activist and former editor of the Community Alliance newspaper. He joined Valley Edition Tuesday April 5 to talk about his book “Dispatches from the War Zone.” To listen to the interview click play above. 

Voters in California’s 31st Assembly district head to the polls tomorrow to vote in a special election to fill the seat for the rest of the year. But do voters even know its election day? Who actually turns out to vote could play a significant role in who winds up winning.

On a beautiful clear day in the town of Selma, in the heart of the 31st district, I stood in the town square to ask people this question: Do you know who is running in the special election?

Most reactions I got went something like this.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Farmers in the western part of the San Joaquin valley will receive 5% of their water allocation from the Central Valley Project. That's the word from the federal Bureau of Reclamation.

If it’s an April fool’s joke, farmers, water managers and Fresno County leaders aren’t laughing.

After two years of zero percent allocation, the Bureau announced that this year, despite El Nino conditions, many growers on the valley’s west side, will only get five percent of their promised water.

Farmer Sal Parra says the announcement is a gut punch.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Autopsy results have been released in the case of a Fresno law enforcement activist who died earlier this year, shortly after posting online that he feared for his life.

John Lang’s body was found barricaded in a burning house on Van Ness Avenue in late January.

His body also had stab wounds.

Today, the Fresno County Coroner officially ruled his death a suicide, saying that the stab wounds were self-inflicted, and that the actual cause of death was smoke inhalation.

Ezra David Romero

There’s been an arrest  in the beating of an elderly Sikh man in Fresno. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on the case which is being called a hate crime.

With help from the FBI and home surveillance footage, Fresno Police arrested 22-year-old Daniel Wilson Jr. and a 17-year-old Tuesday  in a hit-and-run case from December. Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the two first beat 68-year-old Amrik Singh Bal and then later ran him over with a car in Northwest Fresno.

COURTESY OF ANDRE YANG

A Fresno poet has won one of the nation’s most sought-after book awards. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

The Academy of American Poets has selected thirty-four year old Hmong-American Mai Der Vang as the winner of this year’s prestigious Walt Whitman Award. Each year the honor goes to an emerging writer to make possible the publication of their first book.

Vang says she was shocked by the news.

Courtesy of Good Company Players

It's always an exciting time for theatre in the San Joaquin Valley, but there's recently been some developments on that front in terms of new productions. Fresno Bee arts reporter and theatre critic Donald Munro joined Valley Edition Tuesday March 22 to discuss upcoming shows including a Broadway production coming to Fresno. 

Productions:

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Fresno police sergeant has filed a lawsuit against the city, saying he was the subject of discrimination because he is Hispanic. In court documents, Sergeant Paul Cervantes claims that he has been demoted, targeted for workplace harassment, investigation and criminal prosecution because of his race. 

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