Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

California Wildfires Leave Seasonal Agricultural Workers In Limbo

For more than a week, Marisol Paniagua has been living at an evacuation center. She had been scheduled to pick grapes at a vineyard near the city of Santa Rosa, Calif. But that work was canceled because of the wildfires ravaging Northern California. "It's very difficult right now because we just have a little bit of gas left in our car. That's how we are still able to drive around," said Paniagua, 37. "But the fact is, we have nothing." The wildfires in Northern California have already done...

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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Homeowners Near Yosemite Are Struggling To Stay Insured

With fires burning across California devastating entire communities, homeowners are beginning to file claims with their insurance companies. But in the mountains of eastern Madera County, many homeowners say they’re losing their insurance during a time when they could need it most. Frank Ealand lives in an area near Coarsegold in the foothills of eastern Madera County that insurance companies call a fire prone zone. He says in the past three years his homes have gone without insurance after...

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California

A Third Of California's Fire Evacuees Still Waiting To Go Home

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET Even as many of the thousands of people forced to evacuate from deadly California wildfires were being allowed to return to their homes, yet another fire has started in the Santa Cruz mountains. Authorities said 60 people were still missing on Tuesday from the fires that have killed at least 42 people, destroyed more than 6,000 homes and burned through some 200,000 acres of the state. The latest Cal Fire summary says that the Tubbs Fire affecting Sonoma and Napa...

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Downtown Fresno Property Owners Await Fulton Street Reopening

For 53 years downtown Fresno's main street was a car-free zone. But after a year and a half of construction, the six-block long Fulton Mall has been removed, and replaced by Fulton Street. Backers hope the project will kick off a wave of investment and revitalization in the area. But critics abound, with some saying it won't work, and others saying it will displace existing businesses and residents, and will set off a wave of gentrification. Others still say despite the new streetscape,...

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Is All That Wildfire Smoke Damaging My Lungs?

It's an unusually bad wild fire season in the West, and for weeks people across the region have been breathing air thick with smoke. "There's smoke from Canada, smoke from Idaho, smoke from California and Montana. There's smoke everywhere," says Greg Svelund, a spokesman for Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality. A quick look at the Environmental Protection Agency's Air Now website shows unhealthy or hazardous air conditions all over the Pacific Northwest and into Northern California,...

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Isolino Ferreira/Flickr / License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/legalcode

Short-Term Rental Boom Causes Housing Headache For Yosemite Workers

Over the past month we’ve brought you stories about how online short-term rental sites are changing the communities near Yosemite National Park. The booming vacation rental market is creating a shortage of places for locals to rent for the long-term and in some cases contributing to the area's homeless problem. And now the growing lack of long-term rentals is causing a hiring issue in Yosemite. It takes an army of people to keep Yosemite National Park’s facilities tidy from the constant...

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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Can Tulare Save Its Hospital? TRMC Board Seeks Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Protection

The future of the troubled Tulare Regional Medical Center is in doubt, as the elected board of the public hospital voted last weekend to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It's the latest chapter is a years-long fight for control of the hospital, which is run by a private company under contract with the district, Health Care Conglomerate Associates. A recall election earlier this year gave HCCA critics a boost on the board, displacing a longtime supporter of the company. Then following...

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Jeanine Evans

Valley Resident Provides First-Hand Account Of Las Vegas Shooting

Law enforcement in Las Vegas, Nevada are putting together the pieces of what lead to the most deadly mass shooting in modern American history. But already, the impacts are being felt here in the Central Valley. A number of other Central Valley residents also attended the concert, which is an annual event. Janine Evans went to the festival for the first time with her sister and her friends, who go every year. She says for the first few nights the group stood at the front of the stage. But...

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Environment

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Flight Of The Condors: Threatened Birds Are Returning to Tulare, Fresno Counties

Thirty years ago, a bird native to California was on the brink of extinction. Known for its impressive size, the California condor has been the target of recovery efforts ever since. Now, as biologists prepare to release more birds into the wild in Kern County, the recovery program is gaining new momentum. At the Bitter Creek National Wildlife Refuge near Maricopa, two adult California condors are perching on what biologists with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service call a flight pen. We’re...

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Mountain Communities

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Near Yosemite "It's Neighbor Warring Against Neighbor” Over Short-Term Rentals

Most people in the mountain area around Oakhurst know Katie Miller as the Mountain Madam . That’s her brand. The London Properties' realtor and I are driving to an area north of Oakhurst where she recently sold a home that’s now listed on the online rental site Airbnb . “So that’s the Airbnb right here,” says Miller. “There’s a spiral staircase inside, all wood floors. They figured out how to maximize the space and put beds everywhere.” Miller says the short-term rental market in the area has...

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Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Toy Lending Library Aims To Reach Fresno's Youngest Learners

Downtown Fresno’s 116-year old ‘Helm Home’ has been a landmark for generations because of its distinctive shape. The mission revival-style home, sometimes called the Alamo House was once at risk of being condemned, but today it’s been impeccably restored to its former glory with high ceilings and flawless wooden floors. But it is the library that is getting attention because of what it lends out: toys. It’s a project of the Fresno Unified School District and the Fresno Housing Authority which...

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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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Agriculture

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

3D Orchards: UC Researcher Turns Farms Into Virtual Reality

Farmers are relying more and more on technology to help them manage their crops and often that means working with unmanned aerial systems. Using drones to make two dimensional maps of orchards isn’t anything new, but one agricultural researcher – Ali Pourreza – in Central California is taking existing drone technology to the next level. “I thought, okay, two-dimensional imaging has been around a long time and it's helped a lot, but right now we have the capability to make 3D models,” says...

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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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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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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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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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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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Now Playing

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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Valley Public Radio

Valley Edition: October 17 - Wildfires And Insurance; Fulton Mall; Brown Act; Railroad Fire; Ed Lund

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on insurance premiums going up in fire zones and about two possible violations of the Brown Act in the region. We also hear from Craig Scharton, with the Downtown Fresno Partnership, about the reopening of Fresno's Fulton Mall as Fulton Street. Later FM89's Ezra David Romero takes a ride on the Yosemite Mountain Sugar Pine Railroad that was almost lost in the Railroad Fire in September. Ending the program we hear about a rally in memory of Fresno...

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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 Taylor 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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Todd Rosenberg / Courtesy The Fresno Philharmonic

Valley Public Radio To Broadcast Fresno Philharmonic "Masterworks" Concerts

Valley Public Radio is pleased to announce that the station will broadcast recorded performances of the Fresno Philharmonic's 2017-2018 Masterworks Concert Series. This season is the first under new Music Director Rei Hotoda, and includes performances from soloists including Awadagin Pratt, Orion Weiss and Stephanie Sant'Ambrogio. The concerts will air on FM89 on the second Tuesday at 8:00 PM following the concert performance. This broadcast schedule is subject to change. “New Era Begins”

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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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Google

Where's The Fish? Is It The End Of Bakersfield's Historic "Trout's" Nightclub?

For decades Trout's Nightclub has been a fixture in the Oildale neighborhood of Bakersfield. It was the musical home of people like the late Red Simpson and others who helped make the "Bakersfield Sound" incredibly popular among country music fans in the decades following World War II. The venue was also considered one of the city's last original honky-tonk clubs. But earlier this spring the bar closed, and doesn't show any signs of reopening soon. There's also an additional loss to fans of...

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Agriculture

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Masumoto Family Farm Wants Americans To Value Petite Peaches

Before Nikiko Masumoto picks a peach she lightly squeezes it. “We want it to have some give and not be hard like a baseball, but we want it to be firm enough that it will travel to wherever it needs to go,” says Masumoto. The fruit she’s picking now is large, sweet and will be sold in the Bay Area. But a few weeks ago they were picking another variety, a tiny peach called Gold Dust. “We’re standing right now in the Flavorcrest orchard and as you can see these fruit have much more red in them,...

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The Sierra

Alicia Embrey / Sequoia National Forest

Two Years After Rough Fire, Boyden Cavern Still Sits Shuttered

In 2015 the Rough Fire burned more than 150,000 acres in the mountains east of Fresno. The blaze burned hot and fast threatening Hume Lake Christian Camps in Sequoia National Forest. But while most of the area is starting to recover Boyden Cavern has yet to reopen. But that could soon change. Usually the parking lot and picnic area at Boyden Cavern along Highway 180 in the Giant Sequoia National Monument is packed full of people. But traffic cones and caution tape have blocked the entrance...

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