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City of Fresno

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

While the City of Fresno tries to figure out what to do about discolored water at some homes in Northeast Fresno, some residents there are already taking drastic steps, including repiping their homes.

On a normal day, the first thing you notice when you enter the home of Faith and Buzz Nitschke is the dozens of antique clocks quietly ticking away.

But that is not the case on this day.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The news that the City of Fresno is set to receive up to $70 million from the state in the form of cap-and-trade funding is the latest issue in the Fresno mayor’s race.

Mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry Perea offered opposing visions of how to spend the money during a debate last night that focused on issue of downtown revitalization.

It's less than two months from election day and many of the local races that will be before voters in November are heating up. From city council and mayoral contests in Fresno and Bakersfield to a couple of contested congressional races, it's providing plenty of fodder for local political observers. We spoke with former State Assemblywoman and current CSUB political science professor Nicole Parra, and Clovis-based Republican political strategist Jim Verros about what's really happening in some of the most closely watched contests. 

Fresno Police Department

Community violence and a visit to the doctor might seem like two totally unrelated topics. But for people living in violent communities, and the police who patrol them, it might be more closely related than you think. In the first report in a multi-part series on the links between health care and violence in the San Joaquin Valley, we learn what happened when one man’s health care interventions became law enforcement interventions. 

Roger and Freddy Centeno were brothers and part of a big family living in Southeast Fresno. In all, there were nine kids, six girls and three boys.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new report from the Fresno Police Department appears to show a pattern of African-American residents being over-represented in interactions with police. African-Americans were disproportionately more likely to be interviewed than Hispanic or white residents in all areas of the city.

While they only make up about 6% of the city’s population, black residents made up between 20-to-25% of all field interviews according to police logs from the Office of Independent Review.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Oliver Baines has a unique perspective on the issue of Black Lives Matter and law enforcement. Currently the only African-American on the Fresno City Council, Baines also served around 12 years as an officer with the Fresno Police Department.  Speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition Tuesday, Baines recalled his own experiences with racially biased policing, while pleading for calm and understanding in the wake of recent shootings and protests.  Baines said the often heated rhetoric from people on both sides of the issue serves to distract from the goal of racial reconciliation.

Henry R. Perea - Facebook

Northeast Fresno's water problem - corroded residential pipes that have resulted in rusty water that in some cases contains lead - isn't just an issue for the residents involved, it's now the latest issue in the 2016 mayor's race. 

John Chacon / CA Department of Water Resources

Widespread concern in northeast Fresno about rusty water that can contain elevated levels of lead is the latest issue in the Fresno mayor's race, while the city continues to maintain that its water is safe to drink.

Speaking in separate events within minutes of each other, mayoral candidates Lee Brand and Henry Perea exchanged comments today about the city's response to the problem, both past and present. 

New salary numbers are out today for top City of Fresno administrators. Last year the city’s highest paid employee was retiring pension fund manager Stanley McDivitt, who was paid  $345,000, including a $150,000 leave payout, nearly equal to his entire annual salary. Former Chief Information Officer Carolyn Hogg earned $279,000, including a $100,000 severance package.

The disclosures were released this week by city officials as required by Fresno's Transparency Act.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Work is progressing on the high-speed rail project’s most visible landmark in downtown Fresno, the new Tuolumne Street Bridge. Workers today began lifting the first of 42 massive steel and concrete girders into place.

The beams are 149 feet long and each weighs 83 tons. They will one day carry vehicle traffic from both Highway 99 and downtown Fresno over the Union Pacific and high speed rail tracks. Officials with the California High-Speed Rail Authority say that construction on the bridge is ahead of schedule.

CMAC

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin delivered a message about long term changes in the city's direction Wednesday in what will be her last State of the City speech.

It was something of a victory lap for Swearengin who is nearing the end of her second and final term in office. Before a crowd at the Convention Center, she touted improvements over the last seven-and-a-half years in a number of areas, from the city’s financial health to Fresno’s shrinking homeless population. 

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Fresno police say they have made an arrest in the case of a hit and run that seriously injured a prominent local doctor. It appears a police lapel video camera helped solve the case.

Dr. William Dominic was hit and badly injured while riding his bike back home from his job at Community Regional Medical Center in February.

The case went cold until a tip came in this week pointing toward 22-year old Brianna Sandoval, who had previously been stopped by a traffic cop for an unrelated reason in April.

In one of this first speeches since securing enough delegates to win the nomination, presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump rallied supporters at the Selland Arena in downtown Fresno today.

The speech touched on familiar themes but also took on a topic important to the Central Valley.

“Wow! Thank you, everybody! What a crowd. What a crowd,” said the ever-confident Trump as he took the stage, waving, smiling at cheering supporters and giving his signature thumbs up.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin yesterday cut the ribbon for a new park in southeast Fresno. And this isn’t just any park.

Fresno skateboarders have a new skate park to play in. It’s located behind Romain Park near the junction of routes 41 and 180. And it’s unlike any other skate park in Fresno: it was designed by skateboarders. Hundreds of teenagers and young adults took part in the planning process—including Manuel Martinez.

Ezra David Romero

There’s been an arrest  in the beating of an elderly Sikh man in Fresno. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports on the case which is being called a hate crime.

With help from the FBI and home surveillance footage, Fresno Police arrested 22-year-old Daniel Wilson Jr. and a 17-year-old Tuesday  in a hit-and-run case from December. Police Chief Jerry Dyer says the two first beat 68-year-old Amrik Singh Bal and then later ran him over with a car in Northwest Fresno.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Fresno police sergeant has filed a lawsuit against the city, saying he was the subject of discrimination because he is Hispanic. In court documents, Sergeant Paul Cervantes claims that he has been demoted, targeted for workplace harassment, investigation and criminal prosecution because of his race. 

Howard Watkins - used with permission

Over 50 years after he helped his led a grassroots effort to save the old Fresno County Courthouse from the wrecking ball Doug Vagim remains a self-described government watchdog. The former Fresno County Supervisor now wants to become the City of Fresno's next mayor.

Yellowfeather Noriega / http://survivingfresno.blogspot.com/

Fresno mayoral candidate and current Fresno County Supervisor Henry R. Perea supports the idea of city sanctioned encampments for Fresno’s homeless population. 

Speaking on Valley Public Radio’s Valley Edition, Perea says city and county officials have been making progress in getting many homeless people into housing. But he adds the problem of people living on the streets has become more visible since the city closed down several illegal downtown encampments in 2013. Perea says legalized encampments should be an option. 

City of Fresno

Most people in Fresno known Lee Brand as the city council's resident policy guru. The rental property developer and manager has authored or co-authored over a dozen pieces of legislation during his seven year tenure at city hall, covering everything from negotiations with labor unions to city financial safeguards. 

Now Brand hopes to shift gears, from legislator to chief executive of California's fifth largest city. Brand says he's up for the challenge, both on both the policy and leadership sides of the job. 

H. Spees campaign

The race to become Fresno's next mayor is starting to heat up. One of the three candidates vying for the seat is a relative political outsider, Fresno pastor and community activist H. Spees. After years of work with local non-profit groups, Spees says he now wants to lead California's fifth largest city. In this interview on Valley Public Radio's Valley Edition, Spees says he hopes to reduce crime and homelessness, while ensuring that the city re-invests in older parts of town. Join us in future weeks for similar conversations with fellow candidates Henry R.

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