Valley Public Radio - Live Audio
Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Didn’t Check Before You Burned? You Could End Up In This Class

If you’ve ever gotten a speeding ticket, you may have been required to attend traffic school. Likewise, cause a scene at work, you may have to take anger management classes. But what if you violate burning restrictions? The local air district runs a different kind of class intended to spark good behavior. On damp, chilly nights Patrick Smith has a tradition: He builds a fire in his fireplace. Smith lives in northwest Fresno . A gas-powered furnace heats his home, but Smith still thinks of a...

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Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Fresno’s Chinatown Faces Growing Pains With Incoming State Projects

Chinatown is one of Fresno’s oldest neighborhoods. From the city’s earliest days as a stop on the Central Pacific Railroad, to the 21st century, Chinatown has been a diverse community made up of immigrants who, in many cases, weren’t welcomed in other parts of Fresno. Locked in by railroad tracks on the east and Highway 99 to the west, the neighborhood is also the subject of renewed attention this year. Two of the state’s highest profile projects, high-speed rail and cap-and-trade, call it...

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Ventura County Fire Department

Bakersfield Hospital Welcomes Patients From Ventura Facility Destroyed By Blaze

The fire that flared up overnight in Ventura County has scorched 50,000 acres so far and burned at least 150 structures. Among those destroyed were buildings at a psychiatric hospital, which is now sending some of its patients to the San Joaquin Valley. Photos from the Thomas Fire on Tuesday showed buildings burned to the ground on the campus of Vista Del Mar Behavioral Healthcare Hospital, an 87-bed facility in Ventura for patients with acute psychiatric needs. Patients there had already...

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PHOTOGRAPHS BY TEXTLI GALLEGOS, 18, LAS FOTOS PROJECT / California Sunday Magazine

Latina Teen Boxers From The Valley Are Dominating Their Sport

Lemoore Army Flying School Class 43B yearbook

Military's Early Valley Fever Research Still Benefiting Public Health Today

In the city of Lemoore, a community of 25,000 rising out of arid cropland in California’s San Joaquin Valley, almost everyone has a story about valley fever. Take Frank Bernhardt, nursing a beer at the Fleet Reserve bar on the edge of town. He first encountered the disease just after moving here in the 1960s. “Years ago, my youngest daughter had it. She just didn't have no energy,” he said. “I had a sailor that worked for me that had it,” recalls Kevin Crownover, playing dice across the bar. ...

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Google Earth - KVPR

City Council Approves Deal For New Downtown Fresno Hotel At Convention Center

UPDATE 12/7/17: The Fresno City Council voted 7-0 to approve the sale of the lot and Inyo and M for the planned hotel development.

A long-vacant dirt lot next to the Fresno Convention Center Exhibit Hall could soon become a 200 room hotel, under a deal that is scheduled to go before the city council next Thursday. The agreement would involve the city selling the three-quarter acre lot at Inyo and "M" Streets to Metro Hospitality Services for $644,000. The sale would be contingent...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Madera DA Faces Censure For Alleged Racism, Sexism

Updated November 28: FM89's Joe Moore interviewed reporter Kerry Klein about District Attorney Linn's censure as a part of our weekly news magazine show Valley Edition. You can listen to their full interview above, or continue below for the original story posted on November 27. The Madera County Board of Supervisors voted today to censure the county district attorney. The workplace conduct of Madera County District Attorney David Linn was the subject of a special meeting this morning by the...

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Not Just A Toy Drive: This Visalia Mom Collects Hope For Parents Of Preemies

As the holidays approach, you may be contemplating the toys you’ll be getting for the children in your life or donating to kids in need. Well, this month, one woman in Visalia is holding a toy drive, but for parents—sort of. She’s working to donate toys to families affected by one of the San Joaquin Valley’s most concerning health trends. When Ami Alvarez was born, he weighed just one pound. His mother Ashlee Alvarez had been diagnosed with a life-threatening complication and had to deliver...

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Why Has Fresno Yet To Begin Its New Rental Housing Inspection Program?

Temperatures in the Central Valley are dropping as fall gives way to winter. But for many families that also means enduring another winter in substandard housing, a problem that the City of Fresno says it has been working to fix since the passage of a new rental inspection ordinance in February. That ordinance was supposed to set up a process for city inspectors to check most rental housing units in town to build a database and make sure living conditions are healthy and safe. However, 9...

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

We Still Don’t Know Why So Many Fresno Babies Are Born Premature—But Researchers Aim To Find Out

A few weeks ago, we reported that the premature birth rate in the San Joaquin Valley is rising, and that it’s especially high in Fresno County. The numbers are concerning because premature babies are born with a higher risk of health complications like breathing difficulties, heart problems and chronic disease. Decades of work have proven preterm births are tough to prevent, but a new research initiative appears to be up for the challenge. This story begins, though, in a Fresno living room,...

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Covered California Insurance Plans Could Be More Affordable This Year. Here's Why:

For years, one of the most powerful and consistent Republican criticism of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, is that the monthly premiums are going up so fast that they are quickly becoming unaffordable and that the whole law was on the verge of collapse. President Donald Trump, in part, rode a wave of anti-Obamacare sentiment all the way to the White House. While Republican plans for full legislative repeal have stalled, that has not stopped the President from taking...

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Google / Aclima

New Project From Google Tracks San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Using Street View Cars

An online tool from tech giant Google is giving California residents a new look at ground level air pollution in their neighborhoods. The company announced this week new air pollution data collected by its fleet of Google Street View cars. The mapping took place in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and the San Joaquin Valley. The company has several produced data visualizations based on Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) pollution levels. Together with technology partner Aclima, Google says it plans to offer...

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Are The Planning Stars Finally Aligned For Southwest Fresno?

A new chapter in the history of a long-neglected Fresno neighborhood could be just around the corner. Some residents in southwest Fresno say they are seeing a critical mass of plans falling into place to unlock the neighborhood's long trapped potential. The approval of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, moving the Darling meat rendering plant, and the expected influx of tens of millions of dollars in state development funds have all been approved this year. And some believe this confluence...

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Fresno To Update Bus System Routes—But Will Everyone Benefit?

Just as Fresno’s downtown and southwest areas are preparing for makeovers, so is its transportation system. The city announced last month that it plans to restructure its bus system for the first time in decades—with public input. But there are bound to be limitations—and some community members are concerned. Dave Alcanzar lives in central Fresno. He’s in his 70s and in a wheelchair, and he relies on Fresno Area Express, or FAX, to get everywhere. Today, to go grocery shopping, he’s at...

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Fears Of A Black Market After Calif. Bans Some Commercial Breeding

California is now the first state to ban pet stores from selling animals from commercial breeders, thanks to a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown in October. Animal advocates say it will reduce what they claim is the needless suffering of animals like puppies, kittens, and rabbits bred for sale. But critics say it will hurt pet store owners and force consumers to go underground. The law goes effect in January 2019. Pet industry and commercial breeders oppose the measure, as does the American...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Farmers Search For Answers As California Mulls New Restrictions Over Chlorpyrifos

One of the most widely used insecticides in America is the subject of a regulatory battle. Earlier this year the Trump administration chose not to move ahead with efforts to ban chlorpyrifos , first put in place by the Obama administration. Now, California is in the process of tightening its own regulations of the insecticide, and that has some farmers searching for answers. David Doll is testing soil for a project on cover crops, which could help limit the use of some pesticides by...

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Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Tulare County Law Enforcement Double Down On Domestic Violence

Today marks the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Across the United States, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, law enforcement agencies receive 15-20,000 reports of domestic violence each year. In an effort to reduce these crimes in Tulare County, the sheriff’s office earlier this month announced a new strategy for fighting domestic violence—one they hope will aid not just in...

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Changing Immigration Policies Could Spell Bad News For Valley's Doctor Pipeline

As the San Joaquin Valley struggles with a shortage of primary care physicians, one group in particular is stepping in to fill in the gaps: doctors born or trained in foreign countries. And while the planned repeal of the DACA program is President Trump’s most recent immigration policy change, he’s hinted at others that could influence the flow of foreign physicians into the Valley. This installment of our series Struggling For Care explores the valley’s complicated relationship with...

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Struggling For Care: The Valley's Doctor Shortage

Kerry Klein / KVPR

When It Comes To Doctor Access, The San Joaquin Valley Is Being Left Behind

For much of 2017, healthcare has dominated the headlines. But while access to insurance coverage remains a national debate, here in the San Joaquin Valley, getting to see a doctor isn’t always easy, even for people who have coverage. It’s not a new problem, and it’s not unique to the valley, but this area is especially hard hit by a lack of physicians. This story kicks off Struggling For Care , a new series about doctor shortages produced as part of a project with the USC Annenberg School of...

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Contaminated: Dirty Water In the San Joaquin Valley

In Bakersfield, Complex Web Of Water Systems Makes Pollution Cleanup Difficult

From Keith Pickett’s front yard just east of Bakersfield you can see the trees of where the official city begins. He’s on the board of a tiny water system with less than 30 homes. It’s called the East Wilson Road Water Company and the water he’s washing his dishes with is polluted with nitrates. “It doesn’t taste funny, but because it’s high in nitrates we do not cook with it, we don’t drink it,” says Pickett as he loads his dishwasher with a mug. “But we shower and use it for everything else...

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Now Playing

SPECIAL EVENT - FEBRUARY 24TH

Valley Public Radio presents NPR White House correspondent Tamara Keith at Clovis Community College February 24th 5PM

Valley Public Radio Launches New Mobile App

Whether you're an Apple or Android user, you can now take Valley Public Radio with you wherever you take your smartphone or tablet. The station has launched its first-ever mobile app - known as "KVPR" which is currently available for download in both the iTunes App Store and the Google Play marketplace. The app features one-touch access to Valley Public Radio's live audio stream, making it even easier to listen to the station. Users will also find the latest news coverage from the station's...

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Reporting Projects Tackle Big San Joaquin Valley Issues

Two new reporting projects launched this year by Valley Public Radio's news team are helping to highlight pressing issues facing residents across the San Joaquin Valley, including water pollution and the regional shortage of doctors. "We think it's important to take the time to do real in-depth reporting on some of these issues. And while a lot of our coverage is focused on illustrating problems where they exist, we're also looking to focus on possible solutions too," says Valley Public Radio...

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Left, Right and Center Expands To 1-Hour Broadcast

In response to an unprecedented political news cycle, and a seemingly-insatiable appetite for more reliable news analysis, we are excited to announce that KCRW’s "Left, Right and Center" will become a one-hour program starting in July. Listeners can now hear the program from 6:00 – 7:00 PM on Saturdays, following Weekend All Things Considered. The program will continue to be hosted by Center Josh Barro. Rich Lowry will continue to be our Right, with Katrina vanden Heuvel and others on the...

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New Hosts Join Philosophy Talk Team

Philosophy Talk has added two new voices to its broadcast team, with co-hosts Debra Satz and Joshua Landy. Both Stanford professors, Satz and Landy will join host Ken Taylor on alternating weeks. John Perry will become host emeritus. The program producers write: We've heard you asking, "Where's John?" Our beloved co-host has been working hard to meet looming publisher deadlines and other academic commitments. The fact is that hosting a weekly radio show is extremely time consuming, requiring...

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Laura Tsutsui Joins FM89 News, On-Air Team

All Things Considered Sunday listeners may noticed a new voice on the FM89 airwaves. Laura Tsutsui is a reporter, on-air announcer and production assistant for Valley Public Radio, and is now heard every Sunday as local host on All Things Considered. She first joined the station as a news intern, and now contributes to both the news and production teams. A Fresno native, Laura graduated in the spring of 2017 from California State University, Fresno as a member of the Smittcamp Family Honors...

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CONTAMINATED

Kerry Klein / KVPR

In California, Quest For Clean Drinking Water Often Delayed By Paperwork

Drive through the pomegranate and pistachio orchards between Highways 41 and 99 and you may stumble upon Valley Teen Ranch , a cluster of residential homes where juvenile offenders come to be rehabilitated. Today, a few men are in their living room playing a basketball video game and making small talk with Connie Clendenan, the ranch’s CEO. “I'm for the Warriors, don't we have them?” asks Clendenan. “I'm from Oakland, so yeah,” one of the men laughs. In an ideal world, Clendenan would spend...

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Technology

Faraday Future

Electric Automaker Faraday Future Selects Hanford For Manufacturing Facility

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. Reporter Sean O'Kane of...

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Entertainment

Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra

Stilian Kirov Looks Ahead To New Season With Bakersfield Symphony

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra begins its new season this weekend, and it marks the third season under the leadership of music director and conductor Stilian Kirov. He joined us this week on Valley Edition to talk about Friday night's opening concert, Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, a stage play by Tom Stoppard with music by Andre Previn. We also talked about upcoming concerts featuring a centennial tribute to Leonard Bernstein, and Romantic-era composers like Dvorak, Brahms and Strauss.

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Author Interviews

Heather David / Cal Mod Books

New Book Highlights Mid-Century "Motel California" Era

Sixty years ago, taking a road trip in California was a lot different than it is today. In the days before superhighways, Airbnb and navigation software, a family vacation likely included a stop at a roadside motel. Hundreds of these "mom and pop" establishments popped up along the highway in places like Fresno and Bakersfield, offering a clean room, a swimming pool, and maybe even something exotic, like a faux-Polynesian tiki-themed cocktail lounge. Flashing neon signs and space-age...

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Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

As Possible Strike Looms, Fresno Unified And Teachers' Union Still At Odds

Earlier this month the Fresno Teachers Association voted to authorize a strike. They have been bargaining with the Fresno Unified School district for over a year. Today both groups met for a marathon bargaining session. Laura Tsutsui reports on what the groups are hoping for, and how some parents feel about the potential for a strike. The district and FTA have been bargaining about issues including teacher compensation, school safety and class size. The FTA has put eighteen articles on the...

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Outdoorsy

Kern River Outfitters

Outdoorsy 9: Whitewater Rafting The Kern, Kayaking The San Joaquin

This summer we've been on the river a lot. Floating, some kayaking and well a lot of sunbathing. R ivers in Central California have been amazing this summer. They’ve been really high the past few months because of the record snowfall in the Sierra this winter. That’s generally a good thing, but it has made for some dangerous conditions. Earlier in the season, local authorities closed rivers like the Kings River to swimmers and boaters. A number of people in the Valley drowned because fast...

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