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Valley Groups Divided On Support For Major Drinking Water Bill

More than 300 California communities lack access to clean drinking water. A disproportionately high number of those communities lie in the San Joaquin Valley, as we reported in our 2017 series Contaminated . Last fall, a bill with a proposed solution passed the state senate but has since remained in limbo, receiving both broad support and opposition—even in the San Joaquin Valley. Last Wednesday, over a hundred Valley residents traveled to Sacramento carrying bottles of water. Bottles that...

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Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new bill in the assembly would grant the California State Parks Department authority over land along the San Joaquin River Parkway. The bill by Fresno Assemblymember Joaquin Arambula would expand the existing Millerton Lake State Recreation Area along the 22-mile stretch of public and private riverbottom land between Friant Dam and Highway 99. State management could help solve an operational and financial problem for public land along the river, such as the 500 acre River West open space area.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Ten years ago, the city of Merced was ground zero for the housing crisis in California. Just a few years before that, the University of California’s brand new Merced campus opened outside the city, which arguably drove the overdevelopment that set up the city to fall so hard during the recession. Now, a decade later, the university has invested in the city with a new downtown building—but that’s not the only new development happening at UC Merced.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio


We all know what a port looks like. There’s water and ships stacked high with shipping containers. But those are often in busy areas on the coast: Los Angeles, Long Beach, Oakland. Well, one Central Valley county has decided to get in on the shipping and distribution game. That county is partnering with the Port of Los Angeles to give their region a boost for distributing around the world.


This week on Valley Edition, a decade after the housing crash, things in Merced are looking up, in part thanks to the campus expansion now underway at nearby UC Merced. We also learn how this landlocked community hopes to become an "inland port" to help the county's economy. We also explore the controversy over voting rights in Kern County. We talk to the plaintiffs who recently scored a big victory in federal court over Kern County's drawing of supervisorial districts in 2011.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

In February a U.S. District Court Judge ruled in favor of a Latino civil rights group in a suit challenging the way the county drew supervisorial district lines in 2011. In the suit, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund argued that by splitting eastern Kern County cities between two districts, the county unfairly also broke up Latino communities in the San Joaquin Valley, instead of allowing for a second Latino-majority district, in addition to the current District 5.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

Despite California’s status as a sanctuary state, it appears to be the focus of increased immigration activity—especially after a sweep in Northern California earlier this week that drove Oakland’s Mayor to issue a warning to her residents and ultimately resulted in more than 150 arrests. Closer to home, a San Joaquin Valley resident who was recently ordered to leave the country, despite years of being allowed to stay and an appeal from a top lawmaker.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Fresno City Council is dealing with a good problem, an $8.6 million windfall. The council voted Thursday to spend the net balance of the funds - $5.8 million - on a variety of items, from repairs at parks and city owned parking garages to body cameras for police officers. It also includes $1.3 million for a down payment on a planned headquarters building for the fire department. The funding came from carryover items from the last budget year, as well as higher than anticipated hotel and sales tax revenues. 

This week's Young Artists Spotlight features performances from the guitar students of Central Unified School District instructor Brian Garcia. These Fresno-area students are making a return visit to the Barmann-Chaney Performance Studio. 

Support for Young Artists Spotlight comes from The Bonner Family Foundation, Dr. Alice Martinson and Carole Sturgis. 


The Association of Health Care Journalists has awarded Valley Public Radio's Kerry Klein first place honors in the group's annual awards competition for her reporting series Struggling For Care. The four-part radio project tells stories about the shortage of physicians in the San Joaquin Valley. The award comes in the category Health Policy Reporting (small outlets).

Foldit screenshot

It wasn’t long after the invention of the internet that scientists discovered the potential for using computing power as a citizen science tool. One of the earliest examples was a computer program developed in the 1990s that allowed users to search for life on other planets. Now a new collaboration takes aim at something a little closer to home: An intersection between citizen science, health, and agriculture, with implications right here in the San Joaquin Valley.


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Mark Arax On The "Wonderful" Empire Of Stewart And Lynda Resnick

By some measures, Stewart Resnick is the biggest farmer in California. His empire of almonds, pomegranates, pistachios and citrus covers over 120,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley. Known today as The Wonderful Company, Resnick and his wife Lynda have grown their multi-billion dollar fortune on products like POM Wonderful pomegranate juice and Wonderful Halos mandarin oranges. And despite California’s drought, in recent years they’ve kept growing, thanks to shrewd management of their most...

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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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Emma Newburger/NPR

From Hanford To The White House: A Talk With NPR's Tamara Keith

Before Tamara Keith was a household name among NPR listeners, she was a household name among Valley Public Radio listeners. For several years Keith worked as the Central Valley correspondent for KQED’s The California Report, based at the KVPR studios in Fresno. Before that she was a public radio listener herself – growing up in Hanford and listening to this station. Now she’s NPR’s White House correspondent and host of the NPR Politics Podcast. She’s also coming back to the valley for a...

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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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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 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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