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Kings County

Faraday Future

Hanford's former Pirelli tire factory is mostly vacant today, but in a few years it could be producing some of the world's most advanced electric vehicles. That's the vision of automaker Faraday Future, which announced this past weekend that it has selected the Kings County facility as the site of its planned manufacturing plant. The company had hoped to build a $1 billion factory in the Nevada desert, but shelved those plans earlier this year amid financial problems.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Many communities in the Central Valley struggle to provide enough green space and parks. In Hanford, residents have tried to figure out what to do with an 18-acre patch of dirt next to a popular city park. A vote by the city council tonight could begin the process of making a final decision about its future. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess reports the scrap of land is the source of a surprising amount of controversy.

At Hidden Valley Park in Hanford, families, children, dogs and ducks enjoy a picture perfect afternoon.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought.

All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

It’s a new year, and that means a new chapter in the ongoing saga that is California’s high-speed rail project. While construction in the Fresno area is becoming more and more visible with every month, efforts to stop the project are also picking up steam in the courtroom. The center of the fight against the rail line is in Kings County, where a number of landowners and county supervisors have challenged the rail project in court, saying it violates the voter-approved Proposition 1A.

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

Downtown Hanford is known for several things, like its historic town square, and ice cream sundaes at Superior Dairy. But one big part of the town's civic identity has been dark for two years - the historic Hanford Fox Theatre. Now the Fox is back, with a new ceiling and other features after structural problems closed the venerable landmark. Dan Humason joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the renovations, the theatre's history and some of the shows that are coming up at the venue. 

Ezra David Romero

Kings County is known for farmed products like cotton and milk, as well as prisons and the Naval Air Station in Lemoore. The rural county is home to four cities and dozens of small places like Kettleman City on Interstate 5.  Now a Southern California group wants to build a brand new high tech town in this agricultural county.

Many people who visit Kings County don’t even realize they’re there.

High-Speed Rail Project Wins Crucial Legal Battle - For Now

Mar 8, 2016
California High-Speed Rail Authority

California high-speed rail supporters have dodged yet another legal bullet. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the state has won a lawsuit that threatened to derail the embattled project.

When California voters approved a high-speed rail bond measure in 2008, they included several conditions. Among them, trains must speed passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours, 40 minutes.

Opponents sued, arguing the state can’t meet all the conditions. Now, a Sacramento County judge has essentially ruled: maybe so, but it’s too soon to say.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/boyce-d/2854694049/
Flickr user Boyce Duprey / Creative Commons

Today, Mussel Slough doesn't show up on many maps of the San Joaquin Valley. But in 1880, this small settlement northwest of Hanford was the site of one of the bloodiest gunfights in the Old West. It pitted a group of Kings County farmers against the powerful Southern Pacific Railroad in a fight for their land. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For years, Hanford has enjoyed one of the most vibrant downtowns in the Central Valley. However, in the last decade, the area has seen its fortunes decline as vacancies have risen. Recently the city council eliminated laws that prevented things like movie theaters and hotels to be built outside of downtown, in favor of a more "free market" approach. 

Some home and land owners in the pathway of California’s high-speed rail project are claiming the rail authority is treating them with disrespect and presenting low-ball offers in an attempt to for the project through. Those are claims the head of the rail authority strongly denies.

  A couple hundred feet behind the Kings County home of Daryl and Shawna archer are freight train.

“These are refrigerated cheese cars. They come twice a day. Once empty, once full going back,”

https://www.facebook.com/124138571000858/photos/a.124146077666774.31490.124138571000858/700246926723350/?type=1&theater

Last week, an ambitious planned development that seemingly died during the recession reemerged in rural Kings County.

The developers behind the proposed community of Quay Valley say this new city of 75,000 people would be located on a barren stretch of Interstate 5 south of Kettleman City.

While things like water, infrastructure and jobs all remain big questions, the developers have announced one other detail – a planned 5 mile test track for entrepreneur Elon Musk’s proposed Hyper Loop.

California Supreme Court Declines To Hear High Speed Rail Case

Oct 15, 2014
California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California Supreme Court has declined to hear an appeal of two lawsuits that challenged the way California plans to pay for High Speed Rail. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the decision paves the way for the project to move forward.

Judge Blocks California High Speed Rail Financing

Nov 25, 2013
Credit California High Speed Rail Authority / File Photo

 California’s High Speed Rail project may have stalled out in court. A judge ruled today the Rail Authority cannot sell $8 billion in bonds to help fund the project.

The judge also ordered the Authority to rewrite its $68 billion funding plan before moving forward with construction.

Jon Coupal is with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which opposes the project.

Kings County High Speed Rail Route Draws Opposition

Nov 8, 2013
California High-Speed Rail Authority

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is pushing forward with plans for its Fresno to Bakersfield segment. The board accepted a proposed route at a meeting Thursday. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it’s been a rough ride.

The High-Speed Rail Authority has voted to support a route that goes through eastern Kings County. Board members say it will have less environmental impact than an alternate path.

But Ross Browning, who lives in Kings County says the high speed rail project will be devastating to local agriculture. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The United States Supreme Court decision on the Voting Rights Act revolves around a county in Alabama. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, several counties in California will be affected too.

Yuba, Monterey and Kings Counties in California must currently get approval from the federal government for any election law changes. But they could eventually get some relief under the new U.S. Supreme Court decision. It orders Congress to change the formula for determining which jurisdictions require oversight. 

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