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Tulare County

Porterville Fire Department

  After a fire devastated the Porterville Public Library, the city's fire department held a processional Thursday Monring to move the body of one of their own to the Tulare County Coroner. 

25-year-old firefighter Patrick Jones’ body was recovered from the remains of the library Wednesday. He responded to the fire Tuesday afternoon, and wanted to make sure everyone was evacuated. Tulare County Incident Officer Joanne Bear says his peers remember Jones’ dedication.

 

On this week’s Valley Edition: It’s been two and a half months since the mass shooting in a Fresno backyard that killed four members of the Hmong American community. We speak to mental health providers helping family members heal. 

Casey Beck

Contaminated water has flown from faucets in Tooleville, a small community in Tulare County, since the 1980s. "The Great Water Divide: California's Water Crisis" is a new documentary that follows the residents' efforts to connect to neighboring Exeter's water supply. FM89's Kathleen Schock spoke to the filmmaker, Casey Beck, and Tooleville resident Ben Cuevas Martinez. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In January 2018, the Tulare County City of Woodlake became home to the San Joaquin Valley’s first-ever recreational marijuana dispensary. Two other businesses, a large-scale cultivator and extract manufacturer, opened in 2019.

As of early 2020, the city’s tax revenue generated by the industry topped $800,000—far more than the $20,000 per month originally projected. In this interview, FM89’s Kerry Klein sat down with Woodlake Community Development Director Jason Waters to learn about what the windfall has meant for the city and what’s in store for Woodlake cannabis in 2020.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

It’s state law that residences need heating and electricity, and the building has to be in good condition to be habitable. While this sounds straightforward, those who rent their homes sometimes struggle with landlords who are unresponsive and don’t make the proper repairs.

This week on Valley Edition: Frustration and hopelessness surround upcoming groundwater laws. Some growers feel so disillusioned, they’re selling their land and getting out of agriculture.

In Fresno, we speak with one retired Bulldog gang member who’s found a calling trying to reduce gun violence.

 

Plus: What happens when your home is so unsafe, it’s considered unlivable? A Tulare County woman describes being given only 72 hours to find somewhere new for herself and her four children.

 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Immigration lawyers in the San Joaquin Valley say they’re overwhelmed with their caseloads and it’s particularly pointed in Tulare County where the demand for services is growing. Although it’s hard to calculate the exact number of people looking for immigration attorneys, many people in the field say it’s significantly high.

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. 

Monica Velez / Valley Public Radio

Irma Medellin left Mexico in 1988 to find work in the San Joaquin Valley. When she first arrived in Lindsay, she says she mostly kept to herself. She picked olives and apples, she worked in restaurants and as a seamstress.

 

It wasn’t until Medellin joined The Immigrant Photography Project at a local school a decade later that she started really interacting with her community. 

 

Fox26

Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer stepped back into uniform Friday to announce a breakthrough in a 20-year-old murder investigation. At a press conference, Dyer announced that Visalia resident Nickey Stane is the primary suspect in the 1996 rape and murder of 22-year-old Debbie Dorian.

“We anticipate the arrest of Stane for that murder and rape in the very, very near future once some additional investigative work is comepleted by detectives,” said Dyer.

Lindsay Fox, Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

A Tulare County resident is the second person to die in California from a vaping-related illness. Dr. Karen Haught, Tulare County’s Public Health Official, says the man who died Saturday had been in the  hospital with respiratory problems. He had a history of vaping and smoking.

“The CDC has suggested that people not vape because of these risks, they’re unknown, it’s too dangerous, and I would say the same thing,” Haught told Valley Public Radio.

Kerry Klein/KVPR

In 2024, a state law will require the dairy industry to begin to significantly reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. A recent legal settlement will help Tulare County, the nation’s leading dairy producer, to meet that goal.

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.”

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

This past Wednesday, local environmental groups hosted a bus tour like no other: The theme was environmental justice, and it involved stops in unincorporated Tulare County communities including Matheny Tract, East Orosi, and Ivanhoe, where residents have been struggling to access clean drinking water and reduce exposure to harmful pesticides.

On the next Valley Edition: Fresno ranks low in terms of park access and acreage. But a grassroots movement is hoping to change that with citizens building their own parks. 

We also look at rural Tulare County as environmental justice groups showcase their efforts to improve water and air quality. And, we go on the road with some people whose California Dream is living in a van.

Later, we talk about student absence. It’s worse in rural areas, so what are some districts doing? 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Say you’re taking a walk after work and you notice a strange smell in the air. Maybe it’s nothing, or maybe it’s a chemical or a spill of some sort. Should you report it? Although many cities offer reporting apps and services, not all are available in county areas. That’s where environmental reporting comes in, and one network already being used in some San Joaquin Valley areas is now available in Tulare County.

Carla Chancellor / Valley Public Radio

 

Welcome to the Weekend, a new segment where we find out what people in the San Joaquin Valley do for fun when they have a little time off. Today we hear from Carla Chancellor. She's a retired teacher who lives in the foothills town of Springville. About eight months ago, she took up ballroom dancing. She liked it so much that she started a “Dancing in the South Valley” Meetup and Facebook page.

Listen to the interview above to learn more.

On this week’s Valley Edition: More than half of California’s olive groves are right here in the San Joaquin Valley. But Tulare County growers say that with a major olive cannery set to buy more Spanish olives, the future for olive production looks grim.   

Plus, it’s Women’s History Month. We sat down with three young, dynamic leaders to ask about the women who inspire them.

And later, we learn more about President Trump’s plans to rewrite rules that govern water allocations and infrastructure in the San Joaquin Valley.  

Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department Facebook

Two murders were allegedly committed by immigrants in the San Joaquin Valley last December, and some county sheriffs are blaming California's "sanctuary state" law for the crimes.

The day after Christmas in Stanislaus County, Newman City police officer Ronil Singh was shot and killed after pulling someone over who was suspected of drunken driving. The murder was followed by a manhunt to find the shooter. The suspect, Gustavo Perez Arriaga, was later arrested in Kern County. Arriaga was in the country illegally, and had two previous DUIs.

Tulare County

Currently, four out of the five Board of Supervisor districts in Tulare County have a majority Latino population. On the surface, it looks like Latinos should be well represented. But dig a little deeper and the story changes.   

“What you have in Tulare and in many other communities in the Central Valley are small farmworker communities where many of the residents are not U.S citizens and if they are U.S citizens they’re not necessarily registered to vote,” says Jesus Garcia, a local demographic consultant.

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