Valley Public Radio - Live Audio

Top Stories

Community Water Center

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...

Read More
James Burger, reporter for the Bakersfield Californian (file photo)

Despite the passage of Proposition 64, commercial marijuana dispensaries are technically illegal in Kern County after a vote last year by the Board of Supervisors. While the board may consider making changes to that policy for some medical cannabis dispensaries, the issue has led to a political firestorm. Rival camps have accused supervisors of unethical conduct, in one case including accusations of bribes. With so much turmoil, we spoke with reporter James Burger of The Bakersfield Californian, who recently wrote a series of reports on the allegations.

Creative Commons user Pmk58

California has a new water problem, but it's not drought, and it's not endangered fish. Instead it's a roughly 20-pound creature that's described as an "invasive swamp rodent" called the nutria. It's already causing problems in Merced County wetlands and state officials worry the pesky and prolific rodent could further destroy already fragile ecosystems in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River delta and threaten the state's network of canals and levees.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio


Fresno is California’s largest city without a light rail system. With the city’s sprawling nature and ample parking lots, efforts to bring rapid transit to the area have never taken off. One other reason – light rail is really expensive. Now, Fresno officials hope to bring some of the elements of those commuter trains to the city’s bus system at a much more affordable price tag. It’s a concept that around the world is called bus rapid transit – or light rail on wheels. We looked at the latest addition to Fresno Area Express service by talking to the people who use it.

This week on Valley Edition we learn how computer gamers are helping scientists solve a problem for valley farmers, and we put Fresno’s new bus rapid transit system to the test. We also talk with Woodlake native Amanda Renteria on her surprise bid to be California’s next governor, and with reporter James Burger of the Bakersfield Californian about controversy over Kern County’s regulation of cannabis dispensaries. Plus a look at the “invasive swamp rodent” threatening the valley’s water supply and native species.

Courtesy Amanda Renteria For Congress

Residents in the San Joaquin Valley already know the name Amanda Renteria. Now the rest of the state is about to get acquainted with the Woodlake native and former national political director for the Hillary Clinton campaign in 2016. Last week she formally launched her campaign for California governor in a move that puzzled many political observers. After all the June primary is just a few months away, and Renteria needs to build an organization, raise funds, and most importantly get name recognition statewide in a very short timeframe.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled in favor of a Latino civil rights group in a lawsuit against Kern County over voting rights. The ruling found county supervisorial districts that were created in 2011 violated the Voting Rights Act because they intentionally divided Latino communities between two districts.

Juergen Frank / Courtesy Jennifer Koh

This Sunday the Fresno Philharmonic pays tribute to the centennial birthday of American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein, with a concert at the Saroyan Theater. Maestro Rei Hotoda will lead the orchestra in a performance of Bernstein's Serenade for Violin and Orchestra with special guest Jennifer Koh. The concert also includes John Adams' Short Ride in a Fast Machine and Aaron Copland's Symphony No. 3.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

This week we feature performances by Kern County piano students Shannon Lee & Anna Jian. Both are students of Bakersfield-based piano instructor Bonnie Bogle. 

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

UCSF Fresno

UCSF Fresno has received a state grant to expand its training programs for medical residents and fellows. The university will receive $2.15 million over three years from the Office of Statewide Health and Planning thanks to the Song-Brown Program—a state law that provides grants in order to increase training for primary care providers throughout California. The funds will be used to support UCSF Fresno’s programs in Family and Community Medicine, Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, and Obstetrics and Gynecology.


Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

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.


Now Playing

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...

Read More
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....

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More
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...

Read More

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...

Read More