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Madera County

Madera County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to move forward with a plan for a new cultural and performing arts center in downtown Madera. The project would create a joint powers authority to build the facility, which includes the City of Madera, the Madera Unified School District and the Madera County Arts Council. The center would be built where probation and the district attorney’s offices are now, and would include renovation of the historic county library. It’s unknown how much the project would cost.

AARON SALCIDO / Zocalo Public Square

Could the San Joaquin River, long a dividing line in the heart of California, unite the state in pursuit a more metropolitan future for the Central Valley?

Whether that happens will be determined in Madera County, on the north side of the river from Fresno. There, a new city, consisting of multiple large planned communities, is finally under construction after decades of planning and litigation.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about plans from a Canadian company to mine for gold in Mariposa. We also talk about the local political impact of the "Nunes Memo" and learn why the Delta smelt had a bad year, despite the end to California's drought. Plus we talk with Madera DA candidate Sally Moreno and learn about a new exhibit in Kingsburg. 

The race for Madera County District Attorney is likely to be one of the more interesting local contests in 2018. It pits incumbent DA David Linn against challenger and current Fresno County prosecutor Sally Moreno. The race took on a new tone in late 2017 after allegations surfaced that Linn had made racist and sexist remarks on the job.

This week on Valley Edition, we get the latest on allegations that Madera County DA David Linn made sexual and racist remarks about employees and crime victims in the workplace. FM89's Kerry Klein reports on what Monday's move by the Board of Supervisors to censure Linn and ask for his resignation means for the county, as well as Linn's denials and claims of political retaliation. 

Linguistics professors and students at Fresno State are hard at work on a mammoth task - saving the language of the Chukchansi tribe of Mono Indians. One thing makes their task especially difficult - there are only 12 speakers of the Chukchansi language left. We talked with professors Brian Agbayani and Niken Adisasmito-Smith about their work, and the challenges of not only documenting the language for posterity but also keeping alive and in active use. 

High Speed Rail Authority

The decision by the California High-Speed Rail Authority to build the northern section of track first is having big consequences for the location of the project’s heavy maintenance facility. The facility and is highly sought after by several valley communities, and is expected to bring with it around 1,500 jobs.

In the authority’s new proposal, the first section of functional track would run from San Jose to Shafter.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Just a few decades ago Fresno used to be the center of the American Fig Industry, with orchards stretching for thousands of acres. Now most of the trees planted by J.C. Forkner almost 100 years ago are gone and are replaced by homes and shopping centers.

What do General William Tecumseh Sherman, the Greek god Zeus and Sir Lancelot all have in common? They've all lent their names to popular beers from local craft breweries. It turns out the San Joaquin Valley is in the midst of a craft beer boom, from Bakersfield to Turlock, making it one of the area’s hottest food and beverage trends. What's behind the explosive growth, and is there a definitive local style of beer?

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For years, the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust has worked to preserve the river bottom from development between Friant Dam and Highway 99. While the parkway, and its partner agency, the San Joaquin River Conservancy have amassed thousands of acres of land along the river, much of that land isn't regularly open to the public. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

It’s been nearly six months since officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for California’s high speed rail project in Fresno. But as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports construction crews Tuesday started building the project’s first bridge in Madera.

After months of underground work, it’s the obvious sign of construction on California’s $68-billion bullet train project.  Over the next eight to 10 months crews will assemble the viaduct over the Fresno River and Highway 145.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Revised vote totals are in for some of the valley’s tightest political races. New numbers released Friday evening from Merced County for California’s 16th Congressional District have Republican challenger Johnny Tacherra now leading Democratic incumbent Jim Costa by 741 votes.

Costa increased his lead in Fresno County by around 1700 votes on Friday, but that was more than offset with gains by Tacherra in Madera and Merced counties.  Tacherra ended the day increase his overall lead by five votes.

This week on Valley Edition we take two hours to look at the November election. The program begins with KVPR reporter Diana Aguilera’s story on a community displaced by a gas leak in Arvin. Valley Edition Host Joe Moore interviews Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin who is running for California State Controller. He also speaks with her opponent Betty Yee.

Voters To Decide On Off-Reservation Casino In Madera

Oct 7, 2014
North Fork Rancheria

Proposition 48 on California's November general election ballot would allow a Madera County Indian Tribe to build an off-reservation casino along Highway 99. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Creative Commons / Flickr user wollombi / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wollombi/49941220/

We all know Central California produces most of the state’s petroleum, but could another oil boom be on the horizon? Well, that’s what journalist Nathanael Johnson from the online environmental news website Grist argues in a new article that came out last week – but he’s not talking about fracking or the Monterey Shale – he’s talking about olive oil. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Some people call Fresno's Patrick Contreras a rock violinist. To others, he's a jazz musician. To others still he's a blues or a Latin music artist. His music spans categories and influences from plugged-in Jimi Hendrix inspired riffs to romantic boleros.

Johannes Hoevertsz / Madera County

For the last three days a water crisis in a small community outside Madera left its residents without potable water. FM89’s Ezra David Romero has more on how Madera County is bringing water to this parched community.

Thursday was the first day that the 2,300 residents in the community of Parkwood, just south of Madera, have had pure enough water to drink come out of their faucets. The reason? The well that supports the community failed.

Johannes Hoevertsz the county public works director helped distribute bottled water.

http://katchenvironmental.com/

Daniel Ruiz moved with his family from Seattle to Fresno to take care of his parents about a year ago. But found it really hard to find a job.

“I pretty much was on the verge of going homeless.," Ruiz says. "I’m a family man with three children."

He looked up and down the Valley for any descent paying job, but found none.   

“The job situation wasn’t looking good,”  Ruiz says.  "I started doubting myself. The jobs that were hiring were very part time at very low pay and I was starting to worry. I didn’t know where I was going to go week to week.”

Drought Speeds Up Race To Tap Valley's Groundwater

Jun 23, 2014
Marnette Federis / Capital Public Radio

Vic Bruno’s home isn’t connected to a public water system. Like most rural homeowners in Madera County, his water comes from a deep hole in the ground.  

Bruno: “It’s a three-quarter inch pipe that goes all the way down three-hundred feet.”

Bruno has lived here for 25 years. His ranch is also home to a whole gang of farm animals. So when his well started pumping up sand, he thought of them.

Bruno: "I’ve got horses, sheep, pigs. These guys need water."

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition host Joe Moore recaps the year with Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. The two discuss everything from high speed rail to law enforcement.

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