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Good morning, and welcome to the Fresnoland Lab newsletter. Today is Monday, Nov. 23, 2020.
Last week in Fresnoland, Monica and Dayana hosted a Facebook Live event on Wednesday, Nov. 18 on The Fresno Bee Facebook page to answer questions for private well owners who are concerned about their water quality and supply.
Big change in Fresno neighborhood
It’s Dayana Jiselle, engagement reporter for Fresnoland, here.
If you ask residents in southeast Fresno where to buy flowers for Mother’s Day or Valentine’s Day, or where to grab tacos on a Friday night with your friends, or sell your homemade knick knacks to make extra income, they’ll point you to the corner of Cedar and Tulare avenue.s
I know because I grew up visiting this empty lot for all the above reasons. The area has served many different purposes in the last 30-40 years.
That is why when news of a new development on the property spread, residents of 93702 listened closely. A proposal to build a 7-Eleven liquor store and a gas station was floated in 2019.
Residents were not happy with the news and felt they did not need another liquor store in their neighborhood. The area has more convenience stores than it needs, and there is one as close as half a mile from the lot.
The developer, Illinois-based SKW Capital Management, resubmitted the proposal, leaving out the request for an alcohol license. Still, the community wrote petitions, asking for a park for the neighborhood youth or a community center.
The developers say the 7-Eleven will “enhance the area” and provide “fresh fruit and healthy snacks” for the students at the nearby Roosevelt High School. The project is set to be completed in six months to a year.
“We don’t need another store,” one resident after another wrote in protest. On Nov. 5, the Fresno City Council passed the proposal, with only Councilmember Nelson Esparza and Council President Miguel Arias opposing.
I’m working on a story, coming next week, that shares more about this development.
As a lifelong southeast Fresno resident (I just bought a home there, too!), I’m always curious about how decisions are made about what stores, housing, or parks are — or aren’t — coming to the neighborhood.
What stories do you want to hear about in southeast Fresno? Send your ideas and tips to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And now, the week’s top reads
(For the most recent local coronavirus updates, visit fresnobee.com/coronavirus.)
Housing, Transportation, and Land Use
OPINION: Downtown Fresno needs a bold vision and more housing – but not this eyesore. Fresno Bee
Clovis City Council explores changing land use around private California Health Sciences University from offices to residential and student housing, at the request of the developer. Clovis Roundup
Black and Latino residents in California are disproportionately affected by programs designed to help keep neighborhoods safe, especially in areas with drug- and gang-related problems. Although the rules draw strong support from police, prosecutors and politicians, they make it harder for these groups to rent apartments and also leaves them at greater risk of eviction. Los Angeles Times
Two contrasting views on the future of California’s high-speed rail project with the incoming Biden Administration. Ralph Vartabedian at the Los Angeles Times is characteristically pessimistic; Streetsblog California sees a brighter future with a train-loving president at the helm.
The 2020 Castle Fire could end up having restorative effects on sequoia groves in the national forest. Foothill Sun-Gazette
Water and Air Quality
Well water throughout California tainted with ‘forever chemicals’. CalMatters
Ignoring mega-flood risk — like California did with wildfires — may spell disaster, experts say. Capital Public Radio
An unlikely group — the American Farm Bureau — joined a coalition of environmental and forest organizations to lobby Congress and the incoming Biden administration on reducing carbon emissions and providing incentives for farmers to do so. Inside Climate News
A 20-year push for Valley water storage ends, as Temperance Flat calls it quits. Agri-Pulse
Economy and Neighborhood Inequality
Fresno City Council unanimously adopts police reform report – and creates a new seven-member Police Reform Implementation Team to review the individual recommendations and what it would take to implement them. Fresno Bee
Are more Trump-era family separations coming to California’s immigrant communities? Fresno Bee
The coronavirus pandemic is creating extreme difficulties on California’s smaller farms, forcing their owners to explore more creative ways of surviving. Los Angeles Times
Black workers in California have been hit very hard by the economic downturn associated with the pandemic. Four out of five Black workers in the state sought unemployment benefits during the covid pandemic — a rate nearly twice the state average, according to a new report from the nonpartisan California Policy Lab. Sacramento Bee
How Bank of America fueled California’s unemployment meltdown. CalMatters
Approximately 12 million unemployed workers in the United States will see their jobless benefits disappear by the end of the year because two federal programs created by Congress in March under the CARES Act are set to expire unless Congress acts to extend them. A new aid package will most likely have to wait until Joseph R. Biden Jr. becomes president on Jan. 20. New York Times
State Auditor Elaine Howle accused the state’s Employment Development Department, the agency that manages the state’s unemployment insurance program that they continue to place Californians at risk of identity theft because of its policy of including Social Security numbers in mailings. This is despite warnings last year that this policy puts people at risk. Sacramento Bee
California plans to prioritize Latinx and Black communities in the early rounds of the distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine shots because they have been disproportionately affected by the disease. Sacramento Bee