Fresno

Diana Oliva

This year, the Reel Pride Film Festival is celebrating its 30th year in Fresno. It’s the sixth largest and sixth longest running LGBTQ film festival in the country. 

"Year 30 is extremely important because it shows the perseverance and persistence of our community,” said Kathleen Arambula Reyna, the director and board president of Reel Pride.

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

After months of community meetings and a nationwide search, city officials said today that the next man to lead Fresno's police department already works there. Protesters outside the press conference said the city’s efforts to include citizen input seem disingenuous.

Inside the City Hall Annex, Jerry Dyer’s successor as police chief was announced as Deputy Chief Andy Hall. He’s a veteran officer with more than 40 years in the department.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

For the Weekend, we’re bringing you poetry from writer, poet, and Fresno State professor Brynn Saito.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The California Public Utilities Commission is holding forums around the state to get feedback from Pacific Gas & Electric customers about the company’s proposed rate hike. It’s a process most utilities undergo every three years.  

PG&E is asking its regulator, the CPUC, to approve a rate increase that would add a billion dollars to the company’s revenue in 2020. The utility says the increase is to cover operating costs and to fund a wildfire safety program. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Across Fresno and Madera Counties, about 2,600 kids are currently in foster care. Although foster parents, attorneys, social workers and judges work together to move cases through the court system, some needs fall through the cracks. An organization called CASA connects foster youth with volunteers to try to make sure that doesn't happen. The volunteers are also known as CASAs, which stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates. But the organization argues there aren’t nearly enough volunteers to fill the need.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In early July, a downtown Fresno non-profit called Common Space teamed up with local health organizations to run a mobile clinic designed specifically for LGBTQ+ individuals – a community that’s at elevated risk for HIV, mental health problems and suicide. Patients could gain access to specialized care such as hormone replacement therapy and training for how to self-administer injections, but providers also offered HIV testing and basic preventive screenings.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

A Japanese American man from Baton Rouge, Louisiana visited Fresno for the first time in 78 years Tuesday to see where he and his parents had to report in 1942 after President Franklin Delano Roosevelt issued Executive Order 9066.

Walter Imahara was 4 years old at the time. The now-Fresno Fairgrounds was formerly the Fresno Assembly Center. It’s where Japanese Americans from around the state arrived before being transported to internment camps. 

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

The female, Latinx co-founder of Bitwise Industries says the company’s recent $27 million funding milestone means it can train more people in underserved communities, and expand south. But amidst the optimism in Bakersfield, there’s also some ambivalence.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition:  Why is it so difficult to find childcare in the Valley? One university looks to high school students as part of the solution.

Sometimes it’s hard to find good healthcare too, especially if you’re living in a rural area. We look at one local hospital’s efforts to increase rural access to doctors. We also talk about what it means that Fresno State’s nursing master’s program just lost its accreditation. And we catch up with three Valley teenagers lobbying their representatives in Washington, D.C. for climate change reform.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last week we brought you a story about high schoolers in Merced asking for a mental health class, and getting one. This week, moderator Kathleen Schock digs deeper into youth and mental illness with Christina Valdez-Roup, executive director of the Fresno National Alliance on Mental Illness, and teacher Abraham Perez from Edison High School. Perez has spent the last two years teaching a mental health class as part of the school’s bio-med career technical education pathway.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Two Fresno City Councilmembers made an atypical move at a press conference today by throwing in their support for a clean water drinking fund—as long as it doesn’t involve a tax.

At Gaston Middle School in South Fresno, community members and advocates met to urge lawmakers to support the Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Fund, a pot of money the legislature is considering creating in order to provide drinking water cleanup in disadvantaged communities.

Courtesy of Balch for Mayor 2020

Another candidate has thrown his hat into the ring to be the City of Fresno’s mayor. Elliott Balch, Chief Operations Officer of the Central Valley Community Foundation, filed to run Wednesday. Last year Balch helped lead the campaign for Measure P, a sales tax that would have funded city parks.

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer announced his run for mayor Wednesday as protestors rallied outside his press conference at the Manchester Center.

 

About a dozen protesters chanted “Dyer is a liar” and booed him as he spoke about combatting homelessness, bringing more high-paying jobs to Fresno, and uniting the city.  

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

 

The City of Fresno once again remains near the bottom in terms of park access, according to the latest ranking of the nation’s largest cities.

This year, the Trust for Public Land ranked Fresno 92 out of 97 cities for its parks -- that’s up two notches from last year’s score of 94, but hardly worth celebrating, says Elliott Balch with the Central Valley Community Foundation.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

We’ve looked at how redlining has influenced the development of certain regions in the city of Fresno, but what about the history of a particular neighborhood? One tract of homes in the Tower District is turning 100 this year. Those homes, in the so-called “Wilson Island”, have been recognized for their architectural significance and the social influence of their early inhabitants.

Jeannine Raymond lives in the Tower District today, and just published a book about those homes called “Fresno's Wilson Island, and Rosanna Cooper Wilson, the Woman Behind It.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

On May 2, hours before the M Street Art Complex opened for ArtHop, Marina Santos gave her students stage directions. Santos is an English teacher at McLane High School. She’s been working with her senior class all year to understand one issue.

“What they're doing tonight is bringing alive the voices of the voiceless,” Santos says. “They're kind of illuminating all sides of those that are human trafficked and those who do the human trafficking.”

Monica Velez

Andrew Janz, a prosecutor with the Fresno County District Attorney's Office, made national headlines in 2018 when he challenged Devin Nunes for his congressional seat. Last week, he announced his run for Fresno mayor.

Listen to the above interview to hear more about why he isn't challenging Nunes again and why he thinks he can be the candidate to bring change to Fresno. 

John Walker / The Fresno Bee

Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula’s criminal trial continued Friday in Fresno County Superior Court with opening statements and testimony from one of his children.

With her grandfather next to her, Arambula’s seven-year-old daughter answered the prosecutor’s questions before a packed courtroom. She is the alleged victim in a misdemeanor child abuse charge against Arambula.  

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

In most places in California, there’s a liquor store for about every 2,500 people.  But in the city of Fresno? There's one liquor store for every thousand residents. Nearly half of the liquor stores selling alcohol are in violation of city or state laws, according to a recent investigation from the city. While residents have complained about the high concentration of liquor stores for years, some council members are finally taking a stand.

Rudy Diaz / Central California Women's Facility

There’s a garden in Chowchilla off of Road 22 that’s surrounded by miles of farmland. Only women tend to this garden. There are wildflowers, succulents, lavender, thyme, and perennials to name a few.  

 

Sol Mercado helped build and design it a year and a half ago.

 

“We had mulch in our eyes, we had dirt. It was really hot, but we still pushed through and we got it done,” the 33-year-old says. “We were all working as a team and it was really nice.”

 

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