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Fresno County Considers Shifting Strategy To Prevent Child Abuse

Many communities across the country are working to not just respond to reports of child abuse, but to prevent them. Now the Fresno County Department of Social Services is looking to catch up to the national trend, and the potential model for the way forward could come from a very unlikely place. In Huron, a remote farming town of about 8,000 people, you can find two trailers that house the Westside Family Preservation Services Center, run by Jeannemarie Caris-McManusis. The community center is filled with a constant buzz of people young and old looking to connect. Sometimes, the question is as simple as "can my husband come here to study?" Sometimes it is more severe, like women fleeing an abusive husband, or handling reports of neglected children. The center is also ground zero for what the county calls "differential response", which is a fancy way of saying intervening with a family before suspected child abuse or neglect begins. Caris-McManusis believes you can prevent child abuse

Election 2016: Lee Brand On Experience, Leadership Style In Fresno Mayor's Race

For the last seven-and-a-half years, Lee Brand has been the Fresno City Council's resident policy expert. He's helped write and pass laws about city debt and finance that many say helped the city recover from a deep financial crisis. Now he wants to lead the city from the office of mayor, squaring off against current Fresno County Supervisor Henry Perea in the November election. So how would a Brand administration differ from that of current mayor Ashley Swearengin? What do his ties to the apartment management industry mean for the city's efforts to regulate that sector and prevent "slumlords" from taking advantage of renters? And how does Brand's knack for detail on policy measures and financial reports translate to being the leader of the largest city in Central California? Brand joined us on Valley Edition to discuss those questions and more, just two weeks before election day.

Election 2016: Lee Brand On Experience, Leadership Style In Fresno Mayor's Race

Election 2016: Karen Goh Wants To Improve Bakersfield's Image

For the first time in over a decade, Bakersfield will soon have a new mayor. Kyle Carter and Karen Goh both are vying for the spot to lead Kern County's largest city. While it's largely a ceremonial job, as the office of mayor has little official power, Goh says she wants to use the position to improve Bakersfield's image. Goh joined us this week on Valley Edition to talk about her agenda, which includes boosting local business and creating a safer community. We also asked her about recent community controversies, like the allegations of corruption in the Bakersfield Police Department, and tensions between Kern County and the city.

Mexican Activist Argues In Fresno For Migrant Rights

A prominent migrant rights activist from Mexico spoke at Fresno State on Monday with insight into why Latin Americans flee and what can be done about it. Father Alejandro Solalinde is a Catholic Priest from Central Mexico. He's known for his dogged advocacy for the rights of Latin American migrants, who commonly suffer harassment, abuse and rape on their journey to the United States. He runs a shelter in the state of Oaxaca for migrants and was exiled from the country for two years following death threats. At a talk at Fresno State on Monday, he said spoke about the need to address the core reasons why people flee Latin America, which he refers to as "the south." "The solution is not that the south come to the north," says Solalinde in Spanish. "The solution is reconstruction of the south." That reconstruction, he says, includes better education, less government corruption, and more adherence to church teachings.

Report: California Needs More Latino Doctors

A new report demonstrates the need for more Latino doctors in California. Nine percent. That's the proportion of Latino students in California med schools, even though Latinos make up almost 40 percent of the state's population. The percentage of doctors that are Latino is even lower – around five percent. The report, written by the advocacy group Latino Physicians of California, says that an overwhelming majority of Latino doctors supports promoting health careers for Latino youths and attracting more Latino physicians to the state. Modesto family doctor Silvia Diego says doctors from different backgrounds than their patients can do harm. "The doctor may not be sensitive to their culture, they may be even dismissive of their beliefs and their values," she says, "and this definitely tarnishes the patient-doctor relationship." According to the report, reducing ethnic disparities in medicine will involve better outreach from medical schools, incentivizing Latino doctors to stay in

London Gets New Public Library Branch

The Tulare County public library system is opening its 16th location this weekend. The new branch will serve the rural unincorporated community of London, located near Dinuba and Kingsburg. The community's 1,800 residents are predominately Latino, and almost half fall below the poverty line. County librarian Darla Wegener says London residents advocated hard for this branch. "People know they need it and we believe they need it," she says, "and they've been just the most wonderful community to work with during this whole process." The new building will be stocked with a core collection of classic literature, non-fiction, and books for children. "I did an outreach event in London over a year ago and the kids just went crazy for Pete the Cat," says Wegener. "So we have Pete the Cat books, and we also have Harry Potter, but we also have classic titles that they might assign in high school." A ribbon-cutting and free resource fair will take place Saturday the 15th from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. The

Work Begins Crafting New Fresno Parks Master Plan

The last time the city of Fresno re-examined its public parks Ronald Reagan was president. According to one ranking Fresno ranks 97th of out 100 cities in terms of access to public parks. Now, after much community complaint, work is underway to bring city parks into the 21st century. Last week, resident gathered at Fresno High School to share their vision for the city's parks. Standing beneath a giant sign showing where every park in the city is located, 14-year old Mia Burrell lays out what she considers to be the biggest problem with Fresno's park in stark terms. "If I were a little young kid, I wouldn't want to play in a park. It just that there is a lot of drugs out there. And they used to have needles and stuff laying around. And it smelled like weed all the time. And so it is really not a good place to play around," Burrell says. Mia's father Richard says he has seven kids in total and is just as blunt in his assessment about why he is often reluctant to take his kids to parks

Climate Legislation An Opportunity For Dairy Digesters, But Hurdles Remain

A few weeks ago we told you about concerns within the dairy industry following the state's most recent climate legislation. The new laws require livestock producers to cut methane emissions from manure by almost half before the year 2030. It seems a tall task, but a kind of facility that's popular in Europe could help the California dairy industry meet those goals—if only it were easier to build here. FM89's Kerry Klein brings us to Tulare County with more. When it comes to how Governor Brown has influenced the dairy industry, Joey Airoso doesn't mince words. "He's making it difficult for anybody to produce anything in this state," says Airoso, a dairy producer in Pixley. He's worried because, in order to keep up with methane restrictions, dairy producers may have to overhaul their manure management systems or make expensive renovations. "He's going to put people out of business," says Airoso. "A lot of them." But there is a technology that could help dairy producers meet their methane

Climate Legislation An Opportunity For Dairy Digesters, But Hurdles Remain

A Tale Of Two Hospitals Show The Challenges of Increasing Access To Mental Health Care

Sometimes in public policy, especially in health care, most everyone agrees there is an obvious problem. But more often than not, getting everyone to agree on a solution is much harder. That's what is happening right now when it comes to access to mental health care in the Central Valley and two mental health facilities are showing that gap in a stark way. First, let's get the 'thing everyone agrees on' out of the way. It's probably not a surprise that the Central Valley has a severe shortage of mental health facilities and providers. Combined with high rates of mental illness, access to care is a major concern. "It is generally scarce everywhere but in particular in this county new programs and services are desperately needed. So that is we identified this area," says Michael Zauner, the Group Director of Behavioral Health with Universal Health Systems. Zauner is interested in building a big new behavioral health facility in Clovis. They are proposing building a 102-bed, $40 million

A Tale Of Two Hospitals Show The Challenges of Increasing Access To Mental Health Care

Merced Homeless Meals Program Finds New Home, Thanks To Church

Homelessness is a big problem throughout the valley. It's not just in large cities like Bakersfield and Fresno though. Smaller towns and rural counties are facing their own challenges in serving those in need with food, shelter and often mental health and substance abuse treatment. But what happens when finding a place to do all those things runs into community opposition? That's just what happened this month in Merced. After being shut down over a week for the lack of a home, a popular program that serves food to those on the street is finally back in operation, thanks to the assistance of another area church congregation. Since 1991 the Merced County Rescue Mission has been providing shelter, services and ministry to the homeless in a leafy neighborhood just a couple of blocks off of Main Street. Bruce Metcalf runs the program: "The Merced County Rescue Mission serves about 150,000 meals every year, and we serve meals three times a day, seven days a week. And we provide meals for

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