Fresno

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Supporters of Massachusetts Senator and Democratic Presidential Candidate Elizabeth Warren packed into a downtown Fresno business Monday to hear from someone who used to be her competitor.

Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro addressed around 50 people at the Fulton Street Coffee shop. The 45-year-old was also a presidential candidate, but ended his bid in January. He said running alongside Elizabeth Warren proved to him that she deserves the democratic nomination.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The San Joaquin Valley lies underneath one of the two most polluted air basins in the country. That’s why, in 2018, two communities here – one in Shafter and one in south-central Fresno – were selected among the first to participate in Assembly Bill 617, an ambitious state law that enables local involvement in air protection.

On this week’s Valley Edition: We sit down with candidates Jim Costa and Esmerelda Soria to talk policy and politics as both vye for the 16th Congressional District seat.

 

Plus, you’ve heard her as a panelist on ‘Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!’ the NPR news quiz show: this weekend, comedian Paula Poundstone is coming to Fresno. The standup comic tells us why improvisation is key to a good show. 

We also ask if community efforts to clean up the San Joaquin Valley’s dirty air are working.

To begin the first broadcast of the 2020 season of Young Artists Spotlight, we feature three talented string soloists from Fresno's Simba School of Music: Hasina Torres, cello; Izzy Knittle, violin; and Anjeli Macaranas, violin. All three are students of violinist K.C. Simba-Torres. They perform works by J.S. Bach, Elgar and Sibelius, in this broadcast hosted by David Aus. 

Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from The Bonner Family Foundation.

Christina Lopez / Valley Public Radio

A new lawsuit has been filed in Fresno County Superior Court against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno and two of its churches for negligence and sexual battery. Although the plaintiff reported abuse in 2002 and the priest was acquitted, a law that took effect this year means she can still seek damages.

The plaintiff is now 34 years old, and referred to as Jane Doe, since the alleged abuse took place when she was a minor. She says that Father Miguel Flores raped and threatened her in 2001 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church in Hanford where she worked. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Chronic absence plagues most school districts in the San Joaquin Valley. We know that students who can’t make it to school miss out on learning, and research shows that missing even three days a month over time can put students a year or more behind their peers. Thursday, the Fresno County Office of Education hosted a conference looking at ways to reduce chronic absenteeism. 

Alice Daniel

Fresno mayoral candidate Andrew Janz came to the studio to discuss his campaign strategy and vision for the city ahead of California’s March 3 primary. Janz is facing former Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer.

Kathleen Schock / Valley Public Radio

Governor Gavin Newsom stopped in Fresno on Wednesday to promote his proposed $1.4 billion plan to tackle homelessness, which includes $11.5 million in emergency grants for Fresno County. 

Speaking at a mental health crisis facility in Southeast Fresno, Newsom said the grants, to be disbursed within the next few weeks, are intended to go toward financial assistance for housing as well as emergency trailers and tents.

 

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment giving women the right to vote. The Fresno League of Women Voters is kicking off its celebration with a month-long First Ladies portrait exhibit at city hall showcasing a rare collection of oil paintings. But just how active in the suffrage movement were some of the First Ladies? Here to talk with FM89’s News Director Alice Daniel is Fresno State Communication Professor Diane Blair. She studies the communications strategies, also known as rhetoric, of First Ladies. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

A seventh suspect was arrested in relation to the mass shooting at a Southeast Fresno house party in November that left four dead and six wounded. 

 

Ger Lee of Fresno is being held in Minnesota pending an extradition hearing. 

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Police announced today that they have arrested six suspects related to the November 17 mass shooting at a house party in Southeast Fresno that left four men dead. Although police confirmed the shooting was gang related, none of the victims themselves were gang members. 

Courtesy of Christopher Moua

The arts can unite and heal us in immeasurable ways, and few people need more uplifting right now than Fresno’s Hmong Community. That’s in light of last month’s horrific mass shooting that left four men of Hmong descent dead and six others injured. Renee Ya is the co-founder of Tiger Byte Studios, which is putting on a seven day arts and media celebration in Fresno to coincide with the upcoming Hmong New Year.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

At the Fresno Fairgrounds inside the Industrial Education building, a large photo of Xy Lee holding a guitar hung above a stage. Beneath it, family and friends gathered around an open casket. There were floral arrangements in the shape of a guitar and a huge heart. 

“Right now, they are going to start playing the ritual, the Hmong ritual, to send the spirit back to its original place,” said Yeng Lee, Xy Lee’s uncle. 

Roque Rodriguez

And now for the Weekend, it’s time for Fresno’s Annual Swede Fest where amateurs and sometimes expert filmmakers take scenes from their favorite movies and remake them with friends and family using lots of household props. We hear from one of the founders, Roque Rodriquez.

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Fifteen-year-old Sandra Hernandez can’t get this one Tuesday morning out of her head.

 

“All I was thinking at that time was ‘I wanted my dad back,’” she said. “I wanted him to get in the car and for us to go to school like any other day.”

 

Her father, Hugo Hernandez, was pulled over by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers in central-east Fresno on Nov. 5. It was about 7:30 a.m. and he was taking Sandra and her 16-year-old brother Eduardo to school. Eduardo said it was just like any other day.

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.

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