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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

As Short-Term Rentals Boom, Homelessness Remains A Problem Near Yosemite

When people think of homelessness, they often think of big cities like Fresno or Bakersfield. But in the mountains of Madera County it's a lingering problem. And as the short-term rental market grows, some fear the housing shortage in the communities just outside Yosemite will only get worse. Serenity Village is a seven-unit affordable apartment complex in Oakhurst targeted at helping homeless people get back on their feet. “Everything is furnished when they move in,” says Jody Ketcheside,...

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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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Visitors to Yosemite leave behind 2,200 tons of garbage per year. That is equal to 3,919 dumpsters full of trash.
Yosemite National Park

INTERVIEW: Yosemite Has A Trash Problem. What's Being Done About It?

Yosemite National Park has a trash problem. The more than 4 million people who visit every year and those that live in Yosemite leave 2,200 tons of garbage there annually. The park service is working to decrease the amount of that trash that ends up in the Mariposa County Landfill. To find out more about the park’s Zero Landfill Initiative , FM89’s Ezra David Romero interviewed Yosemite National Park Ranger Jodi Bailey and Wildlife Biologist Caitlin Lee-Roney. Listen to that interview by...

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Pharmacists Are Now Poised To Ease Physician Shortage—If Only They Could Get Paid For It

When we consider medical providers, what comes to mind may be doctors, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. But what about pharmacists? A new law has allowed them to greatly expand their role to become providers—which could be good news for patients struggling to access doctors. But one major obstacle still stands in the way of pharmacists taking on patients. This latest installment of our series Struggling For Care begins with the story of a community pharmacist in Kern County...

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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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Community Hospitals / UCSF Fresno

With Limited Federal Funding, Valley Struggles To Expand Medical Training Programs

As we reported earlier this summer, the Fresno area could soon be home to two medical schools. While that may seem like a great opportunity for creating home-grown doctors, research suggests local residencies and fellowships could be more important for keeping doctors here. But the Valley lags behind the state in those training opportunities, too. In the second installment of Struggling For Care , we learn how local health leaders are working hard to expand those positions—despite a 20-year...

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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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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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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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Joe Moore/KVPR

The Old Fresno Water Tower At Risk Of Closing

On the first Thursday night of every month, the Old Fresno Water Tower is typically full of people checking out local art that lines the walls and shelves of the historic building. But while dozens of Art Hop patrons visit the gift shop, gallery and visitors center in one of Fresno’s most recognizable buildings, the future of the downtown landmark is uncertain. The Fresno Arts Council, which runs the gallery space in the city-owned building, says it is short on cash, and may have to shut the...

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Steve Brandau - Facebook

Amid Homeless Concerns, Brandau Wants Fresno To Ban Camping

A Fresno City Councilmember has a new idea on dealing with the city’s homeless population – a law that would ban camping in the city. Councilmember Steve Brandau is set to take the proposed ordinance before the city council Thursday August 17th. If adopted, the law would ban camping on both public and private property in the city. Brandau says he’s been getting complaints for months from constituents about people camping in the cooking, bathing and even defecating in public. “I really believe...

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Blue River Technology

Could Robots Replace Farmworkers In Valley Fields? Silicon Valley Hopes So

Let’s face it farmers are usually slow to change their practices for a couple reasons. Change usually comes with a high price tag – a new tractor can cost a half million dollars. And farmers want to minimize risk by only investing in things that have been successfully tested and in the end don’t reduce profits. But robots are slowly changing that perspective. “At the end of the day robots can go into really harsh environments where people really don’t want to work and in turn it will create...

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

Author Interview: Climate Change, Forest Mismanagement Fuel 'Megafire' Epidemic

Wildfires have always been a part of the Central California landscape. But in recent years blazes like the Detwiler Fire (2017) and the Erskine Fire (2016) have been different. In each case, veteran firefighters who have been on wildland blazes for decades say they saw the fires demonstrating "extreme" behavior like they haven't seen before. They burned hotter, faster, and didn't die down at night as fires typically do.
As Michael Kodas describes in his new book "Megafire: The Race to...

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Valley Public Radio

Valley Edition: September 19 - Homelessness; Dolores Huerta; Clovis Cottages; Highway 99

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on homelessness in the Oakhurst area and about concealed weapons in Kingsburg. We are also joined by NPR's Felix Contreras in an interview with Dolores Huerta. Later we hear all about the City of Clovis' plan to build tiny alley cottages. We also learn all about the Tejon Indian Powow in the south valley and hear about a new book focused on the history Highway 99.

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Kerry Klein / KVPR

Memorial For Abandoned Babies Heals The Living, Too

Last month, you may have heard about Miranda Eve, a mysterious baby who was uncovered in San Francisco and identified more than a century after she died. The organization that kickstarted that investigation was the Garden of Innocence , a non-profit that provides burial services to unclaimed children across the state. Over the weekend, the Fresno chapter held a service for babies abandoned in Fresno County—but the garden serves more than children. Ryan Murry was 31 when his wife gave birth to...

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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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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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My Valley, My Story

Kerry Klein / KVPR

My Valley, My Story: Surviving With Spina Bifida

The birth defect spina bifida is not easy to live with. It impairs the development of the spine and can lead to lifelong disability. Spina bifida is rare, but data suggest that Tulare County has the disease’s highest rate of incidence in the San Joaquin Valley. As part of our first-person series My Valley My Story, we travel to a spina bifida fundraiser in Tulare where volunteer Maria Muñoz shares how the disease has affected her life. "In my childhood, I went to a school where there was a...

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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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