Fresno

Alice Daniel / KVPR

At the V-Nai Mini Mall in Southeast Fresno, a bland entrance belies the vibrancy inside. The rows of little shops sell traditional Hmong clothing, brightly colored embroidered bags, costume jewelry and hair ornaments. It’s made up mostly of female vendors, a few of them doing detailed work at sewing machines. The rhythmic sound of stitching sometimes accompanies conversations in Hmong. After all, V-Nai is not just a place to buy and sell things, it’s also a place to share, even when the news is at its worst. 

On this week’s Valley Edition: We talk with the Fresno Police Department about the mass shooting last Sunday that left four dead and six wounded at a party in Southeast Fresno. We also visit a Hmong mini-mall and bring you a postcard of remembrances from people who knew the victims.

And we talk to kids about a father who was apprehended by Immigrant and Customs Enforcement while driving his two teenagers to school. He was then sent to a detention facility.

Alice Daniel / KVPR

At a press conference following the mass shooting that killed four and wounded six others in Southeast Fresno, Fresno Police Chief Andy Hall announced he had created an Asian gang task force, despite no definitive evidence the shooting was gang-related. Many members of Southeast Asian communities have since questioned why the police made the implicit association without definitive proof, and some worry it perpetuates stereotypes from which they’ve long sought to distance themselves.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Governor Gavin Newsom highlighted the state’s economic wins today in his keynote address at the California Economic Summit in downtown Fresno, citing big investments in regional education. 

Economic growth, he said, tends to happen along the coast and is not shared statewide. 

Faith in the Valley

Thousands of people in Fresno County are evicted from their homes every year.

Keep Bakersfield Beautiful / City of Bakersfield

The Keep America Beautiful campaign, established in 1953, has motivated communities to clean their neighborhoods, and those efforts are now expanding into the City of Fresno and Kern County. To learn more, moderator Kathleen Schock talks with Mark Standriff, Director of Communications for the City of Fresno, and Heidi Carter, Coordinator of Keep Kern Beautiful.

Fresno Housing Authority Facebook Page

It’s no secret California is facing a homelessness crisis, with eviction being one way families end up without a home. However, the data on who is evicted and why has been scarce until recently. Ten years ago, sociologist Matthew Desmond began research for his book, “Evicted.” The MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, and Pulitzer Prize winner is helping decipher how eviction is not only a consequence of poverty, but also a cause. He spoke with Valley Public Radio ahead of his visit to Fresno next week, hosted by the Fresno Housing Authority.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Next week, the Youth Leadership Institute’s policy journal, Calafia, hits the newsstands. Youth Leadership Institute is an organization with offices across the state where staff work to empower youth and help them shape policy and create media. The annual journal is produced by fellows, one from each office. This year’s journal takes the shape of a magazine about intersectional feminism with pieces written, photographed and designed by the young women on the editorial board.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Bee has served the Valley for nearly a hundred years, but like so many newspapers across the country, it has lost revenue along with dozens of reporters in the past decade. Now, the paper is trying a different approach to serve and inform its public. Inspired by a similar project out of the Seattle Times, the Bee is building an Education Lab. The way the Bee is funding the project is also pretty nontraditional: with private, non-profit funding. 

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

At about 10 a.m. Aaron Foster heads to Ivy and Lorena streets in southwest Fresno. In his pickup truck, he goes around neighborhoods in this area every day, or what he calls “hitting the loop.”

 

“This is just the hood, we call it the block,” he said. “Every neighborhood got a block. This is the southwest Fresno that no one sees. The poverty is obvious.”

 

He does this to “sustain the peace” and to prevent shootings from happening.  

 

Kaiser Permanente Fresno

The San Joaquin Valley’s largest city will soon be home to a new nursing program.

Through a program offered by Samuel Merritt University in partnership with Kaiser Permanente Fresno, registered nurses will be able to obtain a Bachelor’s of Science degree in nursing. Although the private health sciences university is located in Oakland, students would be based entirely in Fresno. Each cohort of 24 nurses would continue working while taking part-time classes at a university building at Cedar and Herndon.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Dennis Hutson’s rows of alfalfa, melons, okra and black-eyed peas are an oasis of green in the dry terrain of Allensworth, an unincorporated community in rural Tulare County. Hutson, currently cultivating on 60 acres, has a vision for many more fields bustling with jobs. “This community will forever be impoverished and viewed by the county as a hamlet,” he says, “unless something happens that can create an economic base. That's what I'm trying to do.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

This year, the Tower Theatre in Fresno turns 80 years old. The theatre’s iconic marquee and tower have flashed fluorescent pink and purple since it opened in 1939. 

“The Memorial Auditorium was built then, and so the Tower Theatre was really the very last of those big, glorious, neon-lit theaters,” says Elizabeth Laval, President of the Fresno Historical Society. 

She says one of the theatre’s developers was A. Emory Wishon, who worked for the utility company San Joaquin Light and Power.

On this week’s Valley Edition: The dairy industry has been called upon to dramatically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions - and thanks to a technology called methane digesters, it’s looking like it will get there. 

We also visit one company that’s keeping the tradition of neon alive in the Valley, one fluorescent tube at a time.

Plus: We look into Kern County’s rising fees to access court documents, and we speak with a handful of the Valley’s youngest politicians about why they chose to run for office in their early twenties.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Local leaders gathered in Southwest Fresno Tuesday for the groundbreaking of the city’s newest community garden and first project funded by the Transformative Climate Communities grant

The Yosemite Village Permaculture Urban Farm and Community Garden is right next to the Yosemite Village Apartments, but locals have a shorthand: Yo’Ville.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders will no longer be coming through the Central Valley this week. His campaign reported this morning that he experienced chest discomfort during a campaign event in Nevada and has had heart stents inserted to address an artery blockage.

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

Update: On Wednesday, October 2, Bernie Sanders' campaign cancelled his visits to the Central Valley due to health concerns.

On this week’s Valley Edition: What does a 16th century Albanian village in Italy have to do with one of the longest running religious celebrations in the Valley? We find out at the annual St. Elia celebration in West Fresno.

 

We also hear how a scientific study on emotional support helped Valley women get through breast cancer - and may help reduce health disparities among ethnic groups.

Later, we explore the politics of homelessness, and why Sacramento hasn’t been tougher on vaping. 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Fresno will join more than 40 other cities across the country in a legal brief that supports three Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals cases going before the Supreme Court in November. 

 

The Fresno City Council voted Thursday to be listed in the Amicus brief that supports the plaintiffs in the DACA cases. Gary Bredefeld was the only council member to vote against the resolution and argued the program isn’t legal because it was created by executive order, instead of Congress. 

 

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