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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero travels with a snow surveyor to measure the April 1 snowpack, we talk about new homeless laws in Fresno and Bakersfield, discuss college sports unions, drink local beer and talk with world famous pipa player Wu Man.  

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For over 60 years, a mammoth cluster of radio towers and transmitters just west of Delano beamed the Voice of America network to shortwave listeners across the globe. 

Now according to the trade publication Radio World, the property could soon get a new use as housing for the homeless.

Built in 1944, the 500,000 watt station turned off its transmitters for the last time in 2007, a victim of government cutbacks and rapidly changing technology.

This week on Valley Edition we discuss the issues of homelessness, prisons and a new book about the legacy of the Dust Bowl.

Valley Public Radio Reporter Rebecca Plevin tells the story of how two women evicted from a Fresno homeless encampment chose entirely different homes after eviction - one an eco-home and the other a field.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

For almost a year, Nancy Holmes and Sinamon Blake were neighbors in a homeless encampment in downtown Fresno.

But city employees bulldozed their camp a few weeks ago, in an effort to rid the city of illegal structures. The two friends, and the other residents of their camp, scattered. Nancy and Sinamon ended up on a huge, dusty piece of land outside the city's jurisdiction.

“I didn’t care for the path that Sinamon found us, but damn, we were safe,” says Nancy, 61, a borderline diabetic with asthma.

She lasted there for about two weeks.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

 Cinnamon has lived in a make-shift structure near the grain silos, west of Palm Avenue and H Street, for more than two years. She says the homeless encampment there is different from others that have cropped up in downtown Fresno.

“We’re not a camp, we’re a neighborhood, a family,” she said. “We all look out for each other.”

The encampment has rules. For example, the residents decide – together – if a new person could move in.

http://www.vincegill.com/

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the issues of homelessness, water, prisons and water. Starting off the program, FM89 reporter Ezra David Romero explores the issue of homelessness in the Central California City of Visalia

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The City of Visalia is known to many as the small town with the good restaurants on the way to the giant sequoias. Its bustling downtown district is home to a thriving music scene and dozens of shops and entertainment venues. But less than a mile to the north, in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, Lincoln Oval Park is home to a much different Visalia. It’s ground zero for the city’s homeless population.

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This week on Valley Edition we focus on a variety of issues that are impacting the region.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

On Monday morning, Pastor Ray Polk comforted a man who was packing up everything he owned.

“You alright?” Polk asked. As the man expressed his pain and frustration, Polk replied, “I know, I know, I know, we got to keep going forward.”

Along H Street in Downtown Fresno, the homeless were stuffing their possessions into plastic bags and shopping carts, as city workers bulldozed and raked the debris left behind.

Yesterday, City of Fresno workers dismantled the third homeless encampment in three weeks. Overall, the effort has displaced a total of about 250 people.

http://www.dignityvillage.org/

This week on Valley Edition we focus on possible solutions to homelessness in Fresno, how the Affordable Care Act will impact agricultural growers and one man’s journey into the lives of a group of indigenous migrant workers.

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Below a Highway 99 overpass, and sandwiched between the D Street homeless shelter and the railroad tracks, is an unlikely beacon of hope for Merced residents low on luck. It’s an RV that houses Golden Valley Health Center’s mobile health clinic for the homeless.

Nick Arellano, 55, has come to the mobile unit to see Dr. Salvador Sandoval, the homeless clinic’s doctor. Arellano has long hair and blue eyes that shine from his weathered face.

“How are you doing?” Sandoval asks.

Valley Public Radio

Today on Valley Edition, we talk with local author Armen Bacon about her new book "Griefland" and learn how a friendship grew out of the tragic loss of her son. We'll also talk about how tragic circumstances can change lives. Peter Nazaretian, a licensed marriage and family therapist, also joins our discussion.

Licensed under Creative Commons from Flickr user "edans" / http://www.flickr.com/photos/edans/263107082/

As early as next year, 1.5 million Californians could be eligible for 250 free cell phone minutes, and 250 free text messages a month. Assurance Wireless, an arm of mobile giant Sprint, will provide the service through the federally-funded Lifeline program. 

That program is currently limited to land lines in California. Assurance Wireless spokesman Jack Pflanz says the addition of cell phone service has made a huge difference to people in 36 other states where it’s been adopted.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about how the state's new electoral reforms worked in real life following this month's election. Did the "top two" primary make the general election candidates more moderate and contests more competitive? Or did little actually change? Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore brings us a special report. 

Segment 1: Rural homeless:
Many people think of homelessness as an urban issue, but small towns and rural communities throughout Central California are facing this issue as well. This week on Valley Edition, we talk to Matthew Macedo, a Hanford teen who has produced a documentary film called "Homeless in Hanford" about what inspired him to take on this issue. Joey Cox of the Kings Community Action Organization in Hanford, and Felix Vigil, Director of the Madera Rescue Mission also join our discussion about rural homelessness.

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