Kings County

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,”

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
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
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. 

Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Anna Martinez was standing on a street corner in the tiny farmworker community of Kettleman City when she heard the familiar sound of a truck engine roaring to life.

She pointed to a diesel truck parked on a lot next to three others. The lot was just one block from State Route 41, and another block or so from a huge agricultural field.

“We’ll see how long he’s going to idle,” said Martinez, a community organizer with Greenaction for Health and Environmental Justice. “He’s just now starting his truck - see all the emissions and black smoke.”

California Sentencing Institute / Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice

A new report from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice shows that Valley Counties on average send more people to jail and state prison than the rest of the state. Kings County topped the list with the state's highest per capita population in state prison, over 1,500 adults for every 100,000 people. Tulare and Kern counties weren't far behind.