Valley Public Radio - Live Audio
Christina Lopez / KVPR

Kern County Residents March For Gun Safety Following Florida School Shooting

Tuesday marks six days since a 19-year-old man walked onto a South Florida high school campus, opened fire, and murdered 17 people. Many students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School have spoken out for stricter gun laws. Now students in Kern County are doing the same. On Monday afternoon, students from Bakersfield High School organized a rally in southwest Bakersfield in support of gun safety on high school campuses. FM 89’s Christina Lopez brings us this story. On Presidents Day,...

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San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority

Valley Amtrak Routes On Track To Meet Safety Standards

The operator of Amtrak service in the Central Valley says they plan to put positive train control in place by the end of this year. This comes a day after the CEO of Amtrak said routes without the safety feature could suspended. Amtrak CEO Richard Anderson told the U.S. House Transportation committee that they are working to put PTC on routes throughout the nation by the end of 2018. But Amtrak doesn’t directly operate every route in the country. Some of their partners are behind on...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Fresno County Addresses Psychiatry Shortage With New Training Program

A study published last week by UC San Francisco argues the San Joaquin Valley has some of the lowest ratios of behavioral health providers like psychiatrists and licensed clinical social workers in the state . The study also predicts that if nothing changes, California is on its way to a statewide behavioral health worker shortage. One of the authors’ recommendations, however, is a medical training program that began three years ago at the University of California and just recently gained...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

New Developments In KVPR's Investigation Of Downtown Fresno ICE Facility

Last week we brought you an investigative story about a secretive building in downtown Fresno that’s being used to process individuals coming into custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE . There’s no sign on the building, its address is not listed on the agency’s website, and immigration attorneys are concerned about the detainees’ access to due process. Since running that story last week, we’ve received a lot of feedback— including from ICE itself . Listen to the interview for...

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Brittany Greeson/GroundTruth

Reinventing Mariachi: Omar Nare On His Vision For A New Sound

Critics across the globe are starting to pay attention to the music of one young valley artist – Omar Nare. The Sanger native was recently profiled on Public Radio International and the New York Times for his fresh take on mariachi traditions. He’s taking traditional songs and re-inventing them with hints of jazz, soul and funk. It’s a cultural fusion which will be on display at Bitwise in downtown Fresno on Saturday. In an excerpt from a piece that originally aired on The GroundTruth Project...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio News

Attorney General Becerra To Discuss Immigration Policy With Local Growers

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra met with local officials from across the San Joaquin Valley in Fresno today. After addressing DACA and criminal justice reform, Becerra said that over the weekend he plans to meet with employers, like growers, to discuss what to expect from federal immigration authorities now that California is officially a sanctuary state. "I want to make sure employers understand what their rights are but also what their responsibilities are toward their employees,...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno Detention Facility ICE Doesn't Want You To Know About

Update Tuesday 2/13: Since publishing this original story, a representative of Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed that this facility is a sub-field office of the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations division , and that it does contain a facility represented in ICE data as the Fresno Hold Room. In response to the story, the agency has also posted a sign on its office door. For a full update on the story, listen to this interview with reporter Kerry Klein on 2/13....

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California Citrus Mutual

Valley Citrus Grower Loses 90 Workers Ahead of ICE Inspection

The law enforcement agency Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, may be ramping up its inspections of worksites—and a Valley grower is one of the first to feel the consequences. Fowler-based Bee Sweet Citrus says it may have lost a fifth of its workforce in anticipation of an inspection by ICE. The federal agency notified Bee Sweet that later this month, it would conduct an I-9 inspection. Meaning the company will need to hand over the forms that verify the identity and employment...

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Google Maps

Potential Deal Emerges For New Soccer Park In Southeast Fresno

The City of Fresno has reached a tentative agreement with an outside group that could result in a new park on city-owned property in southeast Fresno. FM89’s Joe Moore reports the partnership could resolve an issue that has concerned city officials and residents for over a decade. Back in 2006, the federal government gave the City of Fresno 49 acres on Peach Avenue south of Butler in southeast Fresno. There was one catch however – the city had to use the former USDA research site for a new...

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Ian Faloona, UC Davis

Valley Soil A Major Air Pollution Source, Says New Study

When you hear about air pollution, you may think of vehicle emissions, industrial smokestacks and wood burning. But a new study reveals another major source right below your feet in the Central Valley. The pollutants in question are nitrogen oxides, a family of harmful gases known collectively as NOx . They’re precursors to ozone and particulate matter, which can lead to a litany of short and long-term health problems. The study, published today in the journal Science Advances , asserts that...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Exploration Company Eyeing Mariposa County Gold Faces An Uphill Battle

This month marks the 170th anniversary of the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill. The legacy of the gold rush is ever-present in northern California, particularly in Mariposa County. It’s visible in mining museums, at roadside historical sites, and in county buildings on Bullion Street. What hasn’t persisted in this region is gold mining itself. But one Canadian company wants to change that. Sam Long works on a few thousand acres in the Mariposa County foothills. He doesn’t have to go far to...

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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

What's In Your Air? New Low-Cost Devices Monitor Valley Air Pollution

In this age of smart homes and electronic assistants, your appliances can now order refills automatically and you can manage your home security system using an app. But can the so-called “internet of things” be used to solve community problems? Some San Joaquin Valley residents think so: They're trying to address one of the region’s perennial public health problems with a new low-cost device. It’s after hours at Malaga Elementary School in southeast Fresno. On this gray January day, air...

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Blue Note Records

Jazz Star Gregory Porter Reflects On His Bakersfield Roots

Gregory Porter is one of the brightest stars in the jazz world. Since he burst on the scene in 2010 with his critically acclaimed debut album Water , Porter has won two Grammy Awards for best jazz vocal album, and is one of the most in-demand artists in the genre. His new record Nat King Cole and Me has earned him spots on NBC's Today Show and Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and soon a concert at Carnegie Hall. It's been a long and unusual path to fame for Porter, who grew up in Bakersfield...

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Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Despite Uncertainty, Valley "Dreamers" Hope For A Comprehensive Replacement

Back in September, President Trump announced that the Obama-era DACA program would end in six months. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals gave many immigrants who came to the U.S. as children the opportunity to pursue higher education and work in America. Congress is struggling to agree on a replacement, and DACA recipients have little to fall back. One such DACA recipient is Antonio Jauregui . Last year, Jauregui took a trip to the mecca of American politics, where he attended a march and...

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Randi Lynn Beach / used with permission

"Westlands: A Water Story" Takes An Artistic Look At Valley Agriculture

California's mammoth feats of water engineering in the 20th century turned the barren west side of the San Joaquin Valley into the most productive farmland in the world. But in the 21st century, as society's appreciation of the environmental costs of these water diversions, many have questioned whether west side farms will last into the next century. Combined with the threats of drought, climate change, and increasing salinity, the question is fertile ground for photojournalist Randi Lynn...

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Air Pollution

San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District

As Valley Recovers From One Of Smoggiest Periods In Decades, Disagreement Continues Over Prevention

If you spent time in the San Joaquin Valley over the holidays, the recent rain probably has you breathing a sigh of relief—not just because it’s bringing much needed rain and snow, but also because it’s the first time in weeks you can safely breathe. This story looks back at one of the most severe periods of smoggy air in decades. When James Collins isn’t studying social work at Fresno State, he drives for the rideshare company Lyft. He sees a lot of open sky and bright sun. Starting in late...

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Bakersfield

California High-Speed Rail Authority

Amid Questions, High-Speed Rail Examines New Bakersfield Route, Station Site

If the leaders of California’s High-Speed Rail Authority are to be believed, by 2029 Bakersfield residents will be able to hop on a bullet train bound for LA’s Union Station or San Francisco’s Transbay Terminal. That’s if all goes according to plan, for a project that still doesn’t have enough funding to finish the job. But regardless of the pace of construction, there’s still a lot of decisions the state needs to make in the next 11 years in order to prepare – things like what route the...

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Health

Health Risks To Farmworkers Increase As Workforce Ages

That bag of frozen cauliflower sitting inside your freezer likely sprang to life in a vast field north of Salinas, Calif. A crew of men and women here use a machine to drop seedlings into the black soil. Another group follows behind, stooped over, tapping each new plant. It is backbreaking, repetitive work. Ten-hour days start in the cold, dark mornings and end in the searing afternoon heat. More than 90 percent of California's crop workers were born in Mexico. But in recent years, fewer have...

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Transportation

California High-Speed Rail Authority

High-Speed Rail Gets New CEO As Expenses Rise $2.8 Billion

California High-Speed Rail Authority will soon have a new leader, just as cost estimates for the project’s Central Valley portion have risen by nearly $3 billion. The authority’s board announced Tuesday that Brian Kelly will take over the job starting next month. Kelly is currently the secretary of the California Transportation Agency, which oversees CalTrans, the Highway Patrol and other agencies. He’ll earn a salary of $384,000 a year. Rising costs will be one of Kelly’s top concerns....

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Southwest Fresno

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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Fresno

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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Education

Christina Lopez / KVPR

Local Group Makes Ivy League University Dreams A Reality For Valley Students

High school seniors from across the country are checking their email inboxes this month, eagerly awaiting acceptance letters from colleges and universities. It can be an exciting and stressful time for anyone. But here in the valley, one group of students is ready. FM89’s Christina Lopez reports on one local program that is celebrating 25 years of helping make college dreams a reality. On this chilly December Saturday members of the local Ivy League Project, a group of 20 students from across...

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Pre-Term Births

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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Environment

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

A Rainy 2017 Benefited The San Joaquin River's Salmon, But Full Restoration Is Yet To Come

The San Joaquin River is the second largest in California. Last year, it was listed by an environmental group as the second most endangered river in America. Recent years of drought haven’t taken their toll, but an exceptionally wet 2017 spelled optimism for many involved in the San Joaquin River Restoration Program. While significant obstacles to bring back the river’s salmon remain, there’s also progress swimming right below the surface. Nearly 40 years ago, back when Peter Moyle was a...

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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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Valley Public Radio

Valley Public Radio Mourns Death Of Longtime General Manager Mariam Stepanian

Mariam Stepanian, president and general manager of Valley Public Radio died Thursday Jan. 18 in Fresno, following complications from an illness. She was surrounded by her family and closest friends. White Ash Broadcasting Board Chair David Parker issued the following statement on her passing: “Mariam was an unparalleled leader who empowered Valley Public Radio staff, board and members to unequaled successes. Her friendship, commitment and strength will be missed, but her legacy will carry-on...

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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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RTNA

Valley Public Radio Wins Four "Golden Mikes" At 68th Annual RTNA Awards

Valley Public Radio was awarded four prestigious "Golden Mike Awards" at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles, Saturday January 27. Hosted by the Radio Television News Association of Southern California, the event paid tribute to excellence in broadcast journalism. The station's reporters including Kerry Klein, Ezra David Romero and Jeffrey Hess won honors in categories including best news reporting, best investigative reporting, best hard news series reporting and best business and consumer...

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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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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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