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Kings County

Courtesy of Adrianne Hillman / Salt + Light Works

In most cities, people who live on the streets can find some relief staying for a night or two at a shelter. But in 2018, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found that Tulare and Kings counties have the highest rate of unsheltered, chronically homeless individuals for counties of their kind in the nation. 

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A recently published study says that Native American students in California experience suspension rates that are twice as high as the state average. The same study also found that expulsion rates of those students are particularly high in Kings County. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Steel tycoon and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie built libraries all over the U.S. with at least 14 of them in the Central Valley. Today, only a handful of those original buildings remain. One of them is in Hanford. There’s now a museum inside, but its future may be at risk.

On this week’s Valley Edition: We return to 1619, the first year enslaved Africans were brought to the shores of Virginia. Four hundred years later, what are the repercussions of this brutal institution? 

Also the National Science Foundation has picked up RadioBio, a podcast produced by students at UC Merced. Scientists at the top of their fields explain everything from flying lizards to T-cells.

And will Hanford’s historic Carnegie Museum remain open? We visit the Kings County city to learn more.

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

When Lewanne Osborn moved to the foothill community of Springville 53 years ago, the population was around 900, she said. Flip to the year 2000, and the population went up to 1,092, according to census bureau data. But 10 years later the population declined to 934. 

“In my own mind I just don’t feel like it’s an accurate number,” Obourne said. “I have seen incredible growth, houses going up everywhere, new communities that used to be just nothing but hillside and grassland.”

 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Vice President Mike Pence came to the Central Valley Wednesday to discuss the new trade deal with Mexico and Canada. The event was part campaign rally, part policy talk. 

The speech was held at the Doug and Julie Freitas & Sons Farms in Lemoore, 40 minutes south of Fresno. It was presented by America First Policies, a right-wing non-profit group. Pence was the keynote speaker to a crowd of at least 400. 

Kings Lions Club

It’s time for the Weekend, where we find out what people in the San Joaquin Valley do for fun when they have a little time off. This Saturday evening, the Kings Lions Club is hosting the Kings Brewfest. The annual 21-and-over event brings together commercial and craft breweries in Lemoore to raise money for organizations benefiting Kings County.

This week on Valley Edition: Rates of domestic violence appear to be climbing in the Central Valley. How pervasive is it, and what’s behind the increase? We bring you the story of one survivor whose abuser was a Clovis cop.

We also hear from mental health educators who work with high schoolers and other youth. Kids are learning the signs of mental illness, and if a career in mental health is for them.

Later, we talk about a festival brewing in Lemoore, and it’s all about lagers, IPAs, and ales to name a few.

Hanford Police Department

It’s November 27, 2017  at about 3 p.m. when Hanford Police Officer Jeff Davis first hears a dispatch about a deadly shooting in the small Central Valley town of Lemoore.  Minutes later, he notices a blue Dodge Charger at a traffic stop. He checks the license plate numbers against those he’s written on his hand from the BOL or Be on the Lookout.

Courtesy of Anna Armstrong

Leading up to the November election, forecasters predicted that Republican incumbent  David Valadao would win the 21st Congressional District. The District includes all of Kings County, and parts of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties.

It wasn’t until last week, as vote counts were finalized, that the race was decided in favor of Democrat TJ Cox. “We kind of flagged it as a potential upset,” says Kyle Kondik, managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball. “That said, I ultimately was pretty surprised that Valadao ended up losing.”

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Last month, business news company Bloomberg released its annual Brain Drain Index. It uses Census data to analyze which American cities are losing advanced degree holders, white-collar jobs, and STEM career opportunities. Topping that list this year is Hanford, California.

Shelsy Hutchison, a teacher with the Business Academy at Sierra Pacific High School, has a few ideas why Hanford might be at the top.

Martín Chávez

Update: 8/22/18 Officials lifted the "Do not drink" water order in Stratford on Wednesday afternoon August 22nd. However, according to Martín Chávez, only one pump is operational at this time. 

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Over 5,000 people came to the Central Valley this weekend to watch the first World Surf League team competition, live. The event took place at Kelly Slater’s world-class wave pool in Lemoore, and some think this surf ranch is the next frontier for the sport.

Chris Estep loves to watch surfing. He says he and his wife watch the competitions whenever they can, but always from their home in Fresno, via livestream video.

Faraday Future

Hanford's former Pirelli tire factory is mostly vacant today, but in a few years it could be producing some of the world's most advanced electric vehicles. That's the vision of automaker Faraday Future, which announced this past weekend that it has selected the Kings County facility as the site of its planned manufacturing plant. The company had hoped to build a $1 billion factory in the Nevada desert, but shelved those plans earlier this year amid financial problems.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Many communities in the Central Valley struggle to provide enough green space and parks. In Hanford, residents have tried to figure out what to do with an 18-acre patch of dirt next to a popular city park. A vote by the city council tonight could begin the process of making a final decision about its future. Valley Public Radio’s Jeffrey Hess reports the scrap of land is the source of a surprising amount of controversy.

At Hidden Valley Park in Hanford, families, children, dogs and ducks enjoy a picture perfect afternoon.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A new map released by NASA earlier this year shows that large portions of California are sinking. The worst of it is in the San Joaquin Valley. One of the main reasons is the over pumping of groundwater, especially in the last five years of drought.

All that sinking and all the snow melting in the Sierra has Central Valley water managers like Dustin Fuller worried.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

It’s a new year, and that means a new chapter in the ongoing saga that is California’s high-speed rail project. While construction in the Fresno area is becoming more and more visible with every month, efforts to stop the project are also picking up steam in the courtroom. The center of the fight against the rail line is in Kings County, where a number of landowners and county supervisors have challenged the rail project in court, saying it violates the voter-approved Proposition 1A.

Joe Moore - Valley Public Radio

Downtown Hanford is known for several things, like its historic town square, and ice cream sundaes at Superior Dairy. But one big part of the town's civic identity has been dark for two years - the historic Hanford Fox Theatre. Now the Fox is back, with a new ceiling and other features after structural problems closed the venerable landmark. Dan Humason joined us on Valley Edition to talk about the renovations, the theatre's history and some of the shows that are coming up at the venue. 

Ezra David Romero

Kings County is known for farmed products like cotton and milk, as well as prisons and the Naval Air Station in Lemoore. The rural county is home to four cities and dozens of small places like Kettleman City on Interstate 5.  Now a Southern California group wants to build a brand new high tech town in this agricultural county.

Many people who visit Kings County don’t even realize they’re there.

High-Speed Rail Project Wins Crucial Legal Battle - For Now

Mar 8, 2016
California High-Speed Rail Authority

California high-speed rail supporters have dodged yet another legal bullet. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, the state has won a lawsuit that threatened to derail the embattled project.

When California voters approved a high-speed rail bond measure in 2008, they included several conditions. Among them, trains must speed passengers from San Francisco to Los Angeles in two hours, 40 minutes.

Opponents sued, arguing the state can’t meet all the conditions. Now, a Sacramento County judge has essentially ruled: maybe so, but it’s too soon to say.

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