Close-Up: Two Boom Towns Fresno the Last Real California

To the astonishment of its citizens, who have maintained a hangdog pride in being off the beaten path, Fresno has become one of the fastest-growing major cities in America. In Fresno people had always felt that they were in California but not of it -- a little bit of Iowa under the palm trees. Now their sleepy farm town is growing nearly as fast as crops planted in the dull, rich land of the surrounding San Joaquin Valley.

Why the great influx? Fresno, so proudly un-Californian in the past, is one of the few places in the state that have not...

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