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San Joaquin Valley Town Hall

With the onset of fall comes announcements for music and entertainment. This week, we talk with and organizer from one of the Valley’s oldest public lecture series on the upcoming season for the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall. Joining us in the studio is Vice Presidents of Programming, Joyce Kierejczyk. We talk about the season’s opening event, happening next week, and highlights from this year’s lineup. Tickets for the season can be found on their website.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

People are calling 2018, “the year of the woman.” More women have filed to run for office than ever before, and are advancing to the election in November. Even in the Central Valley, about half of the races for state legislature include female candidates. But despite the enthusiasm, many say it will take more than one election to bring gender equality to government.

 

Monica Velez

The soft chatter in the waiting room at the Yarra Law Group offices in Fresno are muffled by a Food Network show playing on TV. Receptionist tap their keyboards and answer phone calls. 

A 23-year-old woman from El Salvador, who we’ll call Ana, is among the dozen people in the room. A receptionist calls her name and she goes in to see her immigration attorney, Jeremy Clason. He’s preparing documents he’ll eventually file with the immigration court in San Francisco. She speaks to him softly as she begins to tell her story.

Monica Velez

Mark Arax, who’s a journalist and author, says he remembers when William Saroyan would come over to his grandfather’s house in Fresno for dinner. And when he finally got a driver’s license, he recalls picking Saroyan up at his home on Griffith Way for those dinners.

Brian Turner

Brian Turner is perhaps best known in Central California, and across the country as a poet whose art has been fused in a time of war. Author of the acclaimed collection Here, Bullet, Turner is one of the many literary giants to come from the San Joaquin Valley. Yet with his new project, he has turned his focus in two different directions: first in pursuing his musical visions, and second to showcasing the poetry of his late wife Ilyse Kusnetz.

Fresno Philharmonic

The Fresno Philharmonic has launched its new season of concerts, the second under music director Rei Hotoda. Now Hotoda is also receiving another honor - an award from the Fresno League of Women Voters for her work leading the orchestra into a new era. She joined us to talk about the new season and the award on Valley Edition. 

Jocelyn Dettloff

On April 13th 1997, Jocelyn Dettloff’s life changed forever. On a camping trip in Sub-Saharan Africa, an accident left her paralyzed. It also put her life on a new path, inspiring others, as she describes in her book “It Rained in the Desert: One Woman's Story of Spirit and Resilience”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

One perception of homeless individuals might be that they’re alone, dealing with substance abuse or mental illness. But that’s not always the case. Sometimes a homeless person has family nearby, and just a strained relationship.  We reported on a Fresno County program that helps house parents and children, usually after they’ve been separated by the courts. This week, we meet one parent who used that emergency housing. Her name is Christina Montalvo, and she spent some time on the streets alone, while her kids lived with family.

Marc Benjamin

If you’ve been to Disneyland, Cambria, many parts of Los Angeles, then you most likely had a swig of highly treated recycled water. Recycled water meaning, yes, it was once in a sewage treatment plant.


For many years this recycled water has helped Orange County meet the needs of its growing population and reduce the toll on its declining aquifers. Soon, the same kind of water may be coming to Clovis and Fresno’s drinking water.
 

Monica Velez

Jose Robles scrapes up handfuls of dried chilies into a bag for one of his customers at the Cherry Avenue Auction in Fresno County. He’s been selling chilies and other vegetables at flea markets in the San Joaquin Valley for 19 years.

But business has gone down, he says, mostly because people are scared to leave their homes.

LA Master Chorale

It’s being billed as the largest choral event in the history of California – 10,000 singers in six venues across the state, at the same time. It’s called the Big Sing California and it’s coming to Fresno’s Paul Shaghoian Concert Hall this Saturday. Anna Hamre of the Fresno Community Chorus joined us on Valley Edition to talk about this innovative statewide concert taking place Saturday at 2:00 PM. 

Courtesy Eater.com

It's not as famous - or as spicy - as the jalapeno or the habanero, but the humble Fresno chile is starting to get its due. A new piece in the online food magazine Eater extolls the virtues of this "little pepper that could," by digging into its history and searching out those who love its intriguing, yet approachable flavor.

UCSF Fresno

For years, local medical and political leaders have been calling for a medical school in the San Joaquin Valley. Now the long-running UCSF Fresno graduate medical education program is getting a boost towards that goal. The university has announced that it is upgrading the Fresno program’s status to that of an official branch campus of UCSF. As Dean Michael Peterson told Valley Public Radio, the move is an evolution of the San Joaquin Valley PRIME medical education program, which had been run by UCSF, UC Davis and UC Merced.

Table Mountain Casino Environmental Evaluation

Gaming tribes in the San Joaquin Valley are working different angles to seek your betting dollar.

Several projects are on the drawing board between Kern and Madera counties. There are expansions and new casinos. The first new gaming facility that will likely open is Table Mountain’s proposed casino, hotel and resort near Friant.

But with other proposals pending, when will there be too much gaming? Or is the Valley approaching oversaturation already?

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council voted 5-1 today to put a tax on marijuana dispensaries and related business before voters this November.

The tax proposal comes at the same time that the city is studying a change to zoning laws to allow a limited number of medical marijuana dispensaries to operate in the city.

Police Chief Jerry Dyer says he’d like to use some of the money from the tax to step up the city’s enforcement of illegal marijuana dispensaries, other drug dealers and human traffickers.

Courtesy of Brett Lebin

Voters in Fresno could have the opportunity in November to vote on taxing medical marijuana businesses. But first, the Fresno City Council would have to approve the measure to go on the ballot next week. 

On Thursday the Fresno City Council is expected to decide if people can vote on November 6 to add a tax to medical cannabis businesses.

The legislation is sponsored by three council members and needs at least five votes to pass. Clint Olivier representing District 7 is a sponsor of the measure and is confident the vote will pass.

University of Arizona Press

Five years ago, Valley Public Radio brought you the story of one man’s search for names that it seemed had been lost to history. Fresno author Tim Z. Hernandez was searching for the families of the 28 passengers who died in a plane crash in western Fresno County in 1948. The passengers on the U.S. Immigration Service flight were Mexican nationals en route from Oakland to El Centro.

USGS photo

The recent images from Hawaii of the eruption of the Kilauea volcano have been captivating.  But closer to home, a much larger eruption once took place not that far from Fresno. Some 765,000 years ago - the blink of an eye in geologic time - a volcanic eruption created the Long Valley Caldera near present day Mammoth Lakes and forever transformed the eastern Sierra landscape. It's just 76 miles from Fresno, and it created a caldera 20 miles long and ten miles wide. While no eruptions are anticipated in the area anytime soon, Mammoth is still a hotbed for geologic activity.

Tanya Nichols

A new novel from Fresno-based author Tanya Nichols tells the story of an attorney, her young client, and how they both must deal with tragedies in their lives. The Circle Game is Nichols' second novel, and is set here in the San Joaquin Valley. She recently joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the process of writing the book, teaching creative writing at Fresno State, and about the inspiration for the novel.

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