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https://encyclopedia.densho.org/sources/en-denshopd-i226-00044-1/ / Densho Encyclopedia

This year is the 78th anniversary of the signing of Executive Order 9066. That’s the order that sent Japanese Americans to internment camps in 1942. Many Japanese Americans in Fresno County were sent to the Gila River Indian Community in the Arizona desert, including local baseball legend Kenichi Zenimura. Reporter Laura Tsutsui traveled to the former site of the camp to report on Zenimura’s legacy. 

 

Listen to the interview above to hear more about the connection between Japanese Americans from the San Joaquin Valley and the camps.

Ansel Adams / Library of Congress

Back in 1927, baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig came to Fresno to play exhibition matches, sometimes playing with all Japanese-American teams. One of those players was Kenichi Zenimura, an immigrant from Japan.

 

In a 1999 documentary film about him, “Diamonds In The Rough,” narrator and actor Noriyuki “Pat” Morita says that, “He’ll always be remembered as Zeni, ‘Dean of the Diamond.’” 

Those words, “Dean of the Diamond,” are memorialized on his gravestone. 

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: The valley’s rich cultural diversity is an asset, but what if you’re a farmer, and important safety videos aren’t made in a language you understand? We hear from a team of educators producing a series of training videos in Hmong. 

Plus, the legacy of a Fresno resident who used baseball to break down barriers, even when he was interned during World War II. Now he’s been nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Also, we’ll hear from more candidates running for mayor of Fresno. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council has unanimously approved a new lease agreement with the Fresno Grizzlies baseball team for Chukchansi Park. The move could help clear the way for a new ownership group to take over the team.

 

The new lease would have the owners pay the city $500,000 a year in rent, compared with roughly $750,000 a year in the current agreement. It also includes a provision requiring both the club and the city to set aside $300,000 a year to pay for repairs and maintenance at the 15-year-old stadium, starting in 2020. 

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Minor League Baseball has been a tradition in Bakersfield for over 75 years. But it looks like it’s a tradition that will soon come to an end.

The California League announced Monday that the Bakersfield Blaze will be contracted – eliminated from the league at the end of the season. The move caps three decades of speculation and rumors about the fate of the team and its beleaguered home Sam Lynn Ballpark. But is minor league baseball gone for good?

Zach Ewing, sportswriter with the Bakersfield Californian, joined Valley Edition to tell us more on the topic. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

It's been a busy month for baseball in Central California. Last week both the Fresno Grizzlies and the Bakersfield Blaze lost their affiliation with the Major League Baseball teams that provide them players.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

In  this week's program we’ll talk about a water shortage that has left a whole Valley community waterless. FM89 reporter Diana Aguilera tells the story of Measure Z and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo.

By know you've heard that the San Francisco Giants have decided to pack up their bags and move their AAA farm team up Highway 99 to Sacramento. But the Fresno Grizzlies aren't going anywhere. Instead on Thursday they announced a new two-year agreement making them the AAA affiliate of the Houston Astros.

While many loyal Giants and Grizzlies fans greeted the news with dismay or anger, Houston Astros Director of Pro Scouting Kevin Goldstein was more than amused to learn about the city's infamous FAA airport ID code. 

Flickr user bob_in_thailand / Creative Commons License / Flickr.com

There’s a nasty California disease spreading so fast that even our baseball teams have caught it.

http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/collections/robinson/ / Library of Congress - public domain

Before he broke baseball's color barrier in 1947 for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Jackie Robinson nearly wound up as multi-sport star for the Fresno State Bulldogs.

In a move that would likely run afoul of today's NCAA recruiting regulations, the school offered the star a number of incentives in an attempt to lure Robinson to the campus, including a new set of tires for his aging 1931 Plymouth.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we  take the listener to one of the many strawberry stands that dot the San Joaquin Valley’s rural roads. But how often do these vine-ripened strawberries reach school menus? FM 89’s Rebecca Plevin explores the first partnership ever to exist between Fresno Unified School District and a Reedley farmer to bring local berries to cafeterias.

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In an effort to increase education about agriculture and sustainability, the Fresno Grizzlies have partnered with a local charter high school to build a garden at Chuckchansi Park. FM89’s Ezra Romero visited the stadium; spoke with the teenagers planting the garden and has this report.

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For the past week and a half a group of seniors from ACEL Charter High School in Fresno have been huffing and puffing at Chuckchansi Park.  But they aren’t running bases or hitting pop flies – they’re building and planting a garden.