Merced Rescue Mission /

Homelessness is a big problem throughout the valley. It’s not just in large cities like Bakersfield and Fresno though. Smaller towns and rural counties are facing their own challenges in serving those in need with food, shelter and often mental health and substance abuse treatment. But what happens when finding a place to do all those things runs into community opposition?

Google Street View / Google

EDITORS'S NOTE: As of Monday October 10, 2016 the hot meals program has reopened at a new location.

Original Post: 

The Merced County Rescue Mission is looking for a new home for its hot meals program.

A new partnership between two California groups is making it a little bit easier for residents of one older Fresno neighborhood to get fresh healthy food. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports. 

For the first time in more than 15 years a new grocery store is set to open in an underserved Central Fresno neighborhood.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For the first time in nearly a decade, Fresno is not one of the top ten cities in the nation for auto theft. 

The study released this month from the National Insurance Crime Bureau shows that at least when compared with other cities, Fresno is faring better when it comes to vehicle theft. As recently as 2011, Fresno led the nation in stolen cars. Last year it dropped to number nine, and this year all the way to 13.

High-Speed Rail Authority

Supporters of California’s ambitious High-Speed rail project are making a lot of big promises about what the line can achieve, everything from less greenhouse gas emissions to fewer cars on the road. One of the most far-reaching claims is the potential to revolutionize towns where there will be stations like Fresno and Merced.

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.

State Approves UC Merced Expansion

Feb 17, 2016
University of California, Merced

The University of California has received the go-ahead from the Brown administration for a billion dollar expansion of its Merced campus. The Department of Finance approved the project today. Ben Bradford reports from Sacramento.

The University of California plans to add 10,000 undergraduates to its campuses in the next three years. As a key part of that, the UC Merced campus would double in size and expand from its current 6,700 students to an even 10,000. To pay for it, UC system chief financial officer Nathan Brostrom says the university is turning to a new funding model.

Jeffrey Hess

After nearly two decades of legalized medical marijuana in California there is a sudden mad dash among valley communities to establish local regulations and bans. But do the bans actually drive growers and dispensaries out of business? Valley Public Radio takes a look.

In a small nondescript house in Merced, Darcy Louise Johnson looks over the dozens of marijuana plants growing in the garage.

 “They are healthy. They are green. You can see some of the leaves are shimmery from an oil I sprayed on them,” Johnson said showing off her plants.

Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED: 5:56 PM - FM89's Diana Aguilera reports on what law enforcement officials know about the suspect.

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.