Fresno

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATE 12/17/15:
The Fresno City Council has approved an enhanced tax incentive plan to lure Nordstrom's fulfillment center to the city. The new plan includes up to $12 million in sales tax rebates to the company, based on the number of jobs created by the center. Fresno is competing with Visalia as possible sites for the 1 million square foot building.

ORIGINAL POST:

City of Fresno

The City of Fresno has reached an agreement with two local school districts to keep a handful of campuses open on weekends for community recreation.

The deal which was announced Monday involves both the Fresno Unified and Central Unified school districts.

The agreement aims to open seven high school campuses by March, with an additional seven to open by May. The campus grounds will be open between 9am and 5pm on weekends.

Fresno Unified School Board President Luis Chavez says the effort is a partnership between the districts and the city. 

Roger's Helicopters

The names of three of the four people killed when a life flight helicopter crashed in Kern County are now known. However, the cause of the crash remains a mystery.

Pilot Thomas Hampl, Nurse Marco Lopez and Paramedic Kyle Juarez as well as the patient all died when the helicopter went down east of McFarland in Kern County Thursday night.

The SkyLife Helicopter was transporting a female patient from Porterville to San Joaquin Community Hospital in Bakersfield.

American Ambulance CEO Todd Valeri says only about two dozen people work in the life flight division.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

A few weeks ago we brought you a report about how rare maps are shedding new light on the history of racial discrimination in Fresno. In the 1930’s many neighborhoods with high minority populations were frozen out of government backed home loans by the federal government, in a practice called redlining. But that wasn’t the only government backed segregation that happened in the San Joaquin Valley. In fact, decades ago, in some prestigious Fresno neighborhoods being white was a requirement. FM89’s Diana Aguilera visits one of them with this special report. 

Leaders in the city of Fresno are now promising tougher enforcement of city codes and the potential criminal prosecution of slum lords. The move is in response to the highly publicized problems at the Summerset Village Apartments.

Crews are still repairing the gas lines at the complex, where as many as 1,800 people lived in just 200 units.

In response, City Manager Bruce Rudd says they are hiring more inspectors, creating a code enforcement ‘strike team’, and potentially criminally prosecute landlords who refuse to fix problems with their buildings.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition Host Joe Moore speaks with The Guardian's Jon Swaine about the paper's series "The County" looking at police violence in Kern County. Also on the program KVPR's Diana Aguilera reports on the history of housing in Fresno County and how some people groups weren't allowed to buy in certain areas of Fresno. 

The Fulton Mall has been a source of controversy since before it was built decades ago. Last week, the Fresno City Council took what could be the final vote deciding its fate. But opponents says the fight is not over yet. In fact, there are still challenges facing the project.

At their most recent meeting, the Fresno City Council approved a $22,400,000 contract with American Paving to rip out the Fulton Mall and replace it with a street drawing cheers and applause from crowd of supporters.

City of Fresno

Construction on California’s high-speed rail project is set to give local drivers some headaches. Starting next month work will begin on the demolition of the Tuolumne Street bridge in downtown Fresno.

The bridge, which links Highway 99 with the central business district will eventually be replaced by a new higher bridge that will span both the union pacific and high speed rail tracks, and will accommodate 2-way traffic.

The Fresno City Council has voted 6-1 to accept a construction bid to turn the Fulton Mall back into a street. The vote is a significant, and nearly final step, in the long fight over what to do with the pedestrian walking mall in the middle of downtown Fresno.

The city hall was packed for the vote with many people wearing orange ‘I believe in Downtown Fresno’ tee-shirts appearing to greatly outnumber opponents of the project. Most of the supporters called on the council to remove the mall, which they consider a moribund drag on downtown development.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In the wake of the ongoing crisis over code violations and gas leaks at the Summerset Village apartments, the Fresno City Council is set to debate a proposal Thursday/today that would make it easier to intervene with unresponsive landlords.

The bill would authorize the city to use a process known as receivership when dealing with properties with the most severe code violations and owners who are unresponsive. City planning director Jennifer Clark says the provision is a followup to last year’s effort to toughen laws about vacant blighted buildings.

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