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Fresno

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Something is about to happen in Clovis that hasn’t happened in nearly a decade. A small army of county employees will descend next Tuesday to administer the first city council election there since 2009. While some say it's a sign that things in the city have been running well, others say the odd election format discourages the participation of both candidates and voters.


Sara Hamilton / California Agriculture http://calag.ucanr.edu/archive/?article=ca.2016a0025

A new study says a Fresno-area summer camp may help children at risk for obesity adopt healthier lifestyles.

According to the study, families who participated in the Healthy Lifestyle and Fitness Camp in Fresno consumed more fruits and vegetables at home, and their children measured steady weight loss.

This was compared to kids who participated in non-nutrition themed summer camps. The study was published in the journal California Agriculture.

Downtown Fresno Partnership Facebook page

A year ago this Friday, Fresno leaders picked up fifteen golden sledgehammers and kicked off the project to rip out the 53 year-old Fulton Mall and replace it with a redesigned Fulton Street. It’s an ambitious project that officials hope will help jumpstart business investment on what was once Fresno’s main street, but for decades has been a struggling six-block pedestrian mall. So a year later what’s happened, both on the mall and off?

Some big changes could soon transform the Fresno State campus, if university president Joseph Castro has his way. Students next month will vote on a plan to pay for a new $80 million student union facility to replace the existing one, which is nearly 50 years old. The university is also studying the feasibility of building a new performing arts center, which would hosts events that are too big for existing on-campus theaters, but too small for the massive Save Mart Center arena.

Fresno County Sheriff

The Fresno County officials have issued a disaster declaration over concerns about a weakened levee in the western part of the county. County officials say the declaration is a precautionary step.

A portion of a levee near Tranquility has been badly damaged by heavy rains and high flows in the San Joaquin River. The levee stopped leaking last night but officials fear the situation could worsen.

Crews are currently trying to fix the damage to avoid a collapse, which could potentially flood homes and farms in Tranquility, Mendota, and Firebaugh.

Kerry Klein / KVPR

Animal shelters in the San Joaquin Valley are inundated every year with thousands of rescued dogs, cats and even pigs. But what happens to the animals that no one seems to want? While some shelters may euthanize, others go to great lengths to keep them alive. One group of animal rescuers has found a creative solution to a supply and demand problem.

National Archives / https://www.archives.gov/files/education/lessons/japanese-relocation/images/order-posting.gif

On February 19, 1942 President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Oorder 9066 which led to the forced removal of Japanese-American citizens from their homes and farms on the west coast, placing them in internment camps. Many of the families that were rounded up and sent to the camps came from the San Joaquin Valley. Many stayed there for years, and some lost their homes and farms.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The Fresno City Council has voted to enact a rental housing inspection program aimed at cracking down on slum housing in the city.

The 4-3 vote came after more than two hours of public comment. Most people spoke in favor of the program, including the influential Apartment Association of Greater Fresno which represents owners and managers, as well as tenants’ rights advocates like Matthew Gundry.

He told the council stories about homes and apartments with untreated pest infestations, black mold, and more that goes ignored by landlords.

UC Berkeley Labor Center

Politicians in California and Washington D.C. are busy trying to figure out the future of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Should it be fully repealed? What will the replacement be? Should there be a replacement at all? While the potential replacement is still a mystery, two researchers at the UC Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education took a look at the potential impact of full repeal on the San Joaquin valley’s job market. They claim job losses from a repeal of the law would be worse than job losses caused by the drought.

Gage Skidmore / Wikimedia Commons

The early days of President Donald Trump’s administration have left all manner of people scrambling to keep up and understand the local impacts of a series of executive orders. One major change is the threat to withhold federal funds from so-called “sanctuary cities”, that is cities that claim to not work with Immigration and Customs Enforcement to find undocumented immigrants. But what even is a sanctuary city and is Fresno in the crosshairs?

When he explained his executive order targeting ‘sanctuary cities’ last week, President Trump described the order this way.

Lee Brand / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand took office a little less than 30 days ago, and it’s been an eventful first month. Last week he unveiled his plan to tackle one of the city’s biggest issues – substandard rental housing - conditions that in many cases are unsafe and unhealthy. The plan, which includes a baseline inspection of the city’s existing rental apartments and homes, is one of the biggest changes in years in the way city hall works. It’s also the first big test of Brand’s new administration and his relationship with the city council as it goes up for a vote on Thursday.

Fresno State / Official Facebook Account

A new bill introduced in the California Legislature last week by Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula calls for the authorization of a new medical school at California State University, Fresno. Arambula, who is a former emergency room physician from Fresno County, says training more doctors locally is one way to help solve the valley's chronic physician shortage. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

A company with the goal of turning Fresno into the next Silicon Valley is announcing a big expansion. Bitwise, which bills itself as the entrepreneurial future of Fresno, is adding three new buildings to what they are calling a ‘technology campus’ downtown.

The additional three spaces, all within close proximity to each other in downtown Fresno, would take the space Bitwise provides from 50,000 to 300,000 square feet.Bitwise provides from 50,000 to 300,000 square feet.

Carmen Vargas

Every year in America, around 42,000 people kill themselves. Suicide is the second most common non-illness related cause of death, but prevention advocates say the issue remains hidden and stigmatized. Recently, a series of high-profile events have recently brought suicide into the spotlight in the Central Valley. Many suicide advocates are now saying that the key to prevention is talking about it.

Three Clovis West High School students, a newly elected Bakersfield City Councilmember, and a Bakersfield LGBT activist all have taken their own lives in the last six months.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

This weekend’s string of heavy rain has put a lot of pressure on families and local officials to respond to the threat of flooding, especially in mountains. Residents in some communities have even been forced to evacuate to escape the rising tide.

Many a normally small, peaceful mountain creek has now been transformed is now a broad fast moving river.

The days of heavy rains have caused the Madera County Sheriff to order mandatory evacuations in some of the low-lying areas of the town of North Fork south of Bass Lake.

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