Valley Public Radio - Live Audio
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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Valley Fever

Henry Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

Disease Experts Split On Benefits Of Valley Fever Bills Introduced This Week

Advocates for valley fever research give California Assemblyman Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) an “A” for effort for what they call the most robust legislative effort to address the disease in California history. But public health officials and disease experts are split on whether the remedies proposed by Salas will bring improvements. Salas’ package of bills takes aim at disease reporting standards, physician training and workplace safety with promises of a budget resolution to bring more...

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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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Saturdays at 10:00 AM; Wednesdays at 7:00 PM

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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