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Government & Politics
6:36 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

County Registrars: Overhaul Recount Process, But Carefully

County elections officials say California’s recount process badly needs an overhaul – but they’re warning state lawmakers against rushing changes into law before thinking them through.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The recount in the state controller’s race may be over, but that hasn’t stopped critics of California’s recount process from calling for an overhaul. As Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, county election officials are warning state lawmakers to write new rules carefully.

San Bernardino County Registrar Michael Scarpello spent last Friday staffing up. His county’s recount was scheduled to start on Monday. But it didn’t, because former Assembly Speaker John Pérez canceled his recount bid Friday afternoon.

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Environment
6:32 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

State and Federal Agencies Announce Salmon Restoration Plans

Federal and state agencies have announced their plans for restoring endangered salmon and steelhead populations in California’s Central Valley. (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Federal and state agencies Tuesday announced their plans for restoring endangered salmon and steelhead populations in California’s Central Valley.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration plan will include re-introducing winter-run Chinook at cold water pools in Northern California and monitoring the water temperature to make sure it’s safe.  

Clark Blanchard with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife says the ecosystem restoration plans could take 50 years or more to achieve the desired result.

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Government & Politics
2:52 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Brown Names New Supreme Court Nominee

Governor Jerry Brown has picked Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar as his next nominee to the California Supreme Court.
Credit Office of the Governor

A Stanford law professor who was born in Mexico and immigrated to California as a teenager has been selected as the next nominee to the state’s Supreme Court. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Governor Jerry Brown has named Stanford Law Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar to replace retiring Justice Marvin Baxter. Cuellar has been at Stanford since 2001. He also assisted President Barack Obama on immigration issues during the Obama transition into office.

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Valley Edition
2:13 pm
Tue July 22, 2014

Live In-Studio: Rock/Jazz Violinist Patrick Contreras

Violinist Patrick Contreras in-studio at Valley Public Radio
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

Some people call Fresno's Patrick Contreras a rock violinist. To others, he's a jazz musician. To others still he's a blues or a Latin music artist. His music spans categories and influences from plugged-in Jimi Hendrix inspired riffs to romantic boleros.

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Valley Edition
11:58 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Valley Edition: July 22 - Fresno Food Expo; Food Commons; Dark Sky Festival; Patrick Contreras

Valley Edition July 22, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we preview the 4th annual Fresno Food Expo with Amy Fuentes with the City of Fresno and Agnes Saghatelian president of Valley Lahvosh Baking Company.

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Government & Politics
6:28 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

Perez Stops Recounts In Controller's Race

Former California Assembly Speaker John Perez calls off vote recount in state controller’s race.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Former California Assembly Speaker John Perez is calling off the vote recount he requested in the race for state controller.

Perez requested the recount in 15 counties after finishing third in the June 3rd primary. The Los Angeles Democrat was 481 votes behind fellow Democrat Betty Yee. Perez picked up only a handful of votes in recounts this week in Imperial and Kern counties.

He says in a statement that "there is simply not enough time to see this process through to the end."

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Drought
2:57 pm
Fri July 18, 2014

In Farmersville, Vilsack Announces Aid For Residents With Failed Wells

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced $9.7 million in emergency water funding for 25 communities in California on Friday at an event in Farmersville.

California homeowners who have seen their wells fail during the drought are getting some assistance from the federal government. FM89's Joe Moore reports on today's  announcement from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.

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The well at Carlen Overby's rural Tulare County home went dry on July 4th, when she was taking a shower.

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Business & Economy
10:50 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Photo Blog: Google, Castle Air Force Base, Weeds And Air Force One

This buidling houses Google's Project Loon, says Scott Malta the base manager.
Ezra David Romero Valley Public Radio

Central California isn't necessarily known for advancing the world of technology, but Ezra David Romero reports that some are trying to change that. Merced County, a region know for milk and almonds, is working to attract high tech companies to fill what was once Castle Air Force Base in Atwater. 

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Government & Politics
7:49 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Drought Could Lead To Financial Hardship for Water Agencies

Credit Valley Public Radio

Conserving water could cost some California water agencies. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on a notice issued today from Moody’s Investors Service.

Moody’s says state-wide water restrictions approved this week could eventually lead to lower credit ratings for California water agencies. That’s because less water use means lower water sales, which in turn means less revenue.

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Water
7:41 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

New Survey Says Californians Overwhelmingly Support Statewide Groundwater Plan

Credit California Department of Water Resources

An overwhelming majority of likely California voters say they favor a statewide groundwater management plan over the status quo. The results are part of a new survey released today. Capital Public Radio’s Max Pringle reports. 

The survey was commissioned by the non-profit California Water Foundation. It finds the prolonged drought has focused public opinion on the need to regulate groundwater. Pollster David Metz says few Californians think the state is doing an adequate job of managing.the resource.

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Government & Politics
7:37 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Fresno City Council Puts Off Measure W Decision, Asks For Study

Fresno City Hall (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Fresno voters may get to weigh in on a referendum that would overturn a planned hike in water rates, but the final decision didn't come Thursday. 

Instead of moving forward with putting Measure W on the November ballot, or repealing the rate hikes - the city council voted to commission an expedited study on the issue.

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High Speed Rail
7:26 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Fresno County Supervisors Wait On Poochigian Proposal To Oppose High Speed Rail

Credit California High Speed Rail Authority

The Fresno County Board of Supervisors decided to wait on a proposal Tuesday that would have formally positioned the county as opposed to California’s high speed rail project. The effort which was led by Supervisor Debbie Poochigian, who says the project’s funding should be diverted to other areas like water or public safety.

Poochigian spoke with Valley Public Radio on Monday afternoon before the meeting:

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Water
7:01 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Fines Now Possible for California Water Wasters

file photo
Credit Florence Low / California Department of Water Resources

A state agency took a major step to encourage water conservation Tuesday. As Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, it voted to allow large fines for wasting water.

The State Water Resources Control Board has adopted emergency regulations that allow local water agencies to levy fines up to $500 a day for people who waste water outdoors. Board Chair Felicia Marcus says collecting money isn’t the goal. Convincing urban water users to conserve is.

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Drought
6:37 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Groundwater Helping Farmers Endure California Drought, UC Davis Says

Pistachios in Kern County (file photo)
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Research from UC Davis suggests California farmers are mostly able to maintain production during the drought because of their use of underground water– but environmentalists, scientists and farmers agree the practice is not a long term solution. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

California farming will take a financial hit because of the drought. But for the most part, the UC Davis drought study says groundwater will supply what’s lacking in surface water. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute says pumping groundwater can’t continue to go unregulated.   

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Business & Economy
5:32 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Drought Hurts Fresno County Crop Value, Dropping Behind Tulare County

For the first time, almonds topped grapes as Fresno County's number one crop in 2013.

A report released today shows that Fresno's agricultural industry has slipped out of its first-place standing in the state.  The 2013 Fresno County crop report shows that its total gross value of agricultural products last year was $6.4 billion, over $1.3 billion behind Tulare County--the first time since 2002 that Tulare swung to the top of the list.

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Drought
5:05 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Drought Could Cost California Economy $2.2 Billion In 2014, Says Study

Managing groundwater reserves is key to the state surviving a long-term drought. Here, Senior Engineering Geologist Chris Bonds from the California Department of Water Resources monitors flow rate from a well.
Credit John Chacon / California Department of Water Resources

The California economy could lose $2.2 billion this year because of the drought. Max Pringle reports on a UC Davis study that shows the agriculture industry alone could lose $1.5 billion.

The study says California will have to make do with a third less water this year and that could lead to 430 thousand acres of fallow farmland. Former UC Davis Economist Richard Howitt says the pain won’t be spread evenly throughout the state.

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Government & Politics
5:00 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Measure W Signals Shift in Fresno Politics

Credit Valley Public Radio

A grassroots campaign to roll back a planned water rate hike that then sparked a lengthy legal battle could soon wind up before Fresno voters.

On Thursday the Fresno City Council will decide whether to put a referendum called Measure W on the November ballot, or to repeal the water rate plan. The move comes after a citizens group announced last week that its petition drive has collected over 5,500 valid signatures—more than enough to qualify for the ballot.

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Government & Politics
4:02 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

In Fresno, De Leon Backtracks On Tumbleweed Comments

During his trip to the Central Valley, Kevin de Leon, right, takes a tour of Roosevelt High School with Luis Chavez, a Fresno Unified Board Member.
Credit Diana Aguilera / Valley Public Radio

Incoming State Senate President pro tem Kevin de Leon made his first official appearance in Fresno today just weeks after controversial comments about the San Joaquin Valley and high speed rail. FM89's Diana Aguilera reports.

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Kevin de Leon visited Fresno's Roosevelt High School today to learn how Fresno Unified plans to use about $90 million dollars in state funding to retrofit aging campuses for energy efficiency.

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High Speed Rail
1:14 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

James Fallows: California's High Speed Rail Plan Is 'Better Than The Alternatives'

James Fallows

The Atlantic's James Fallows says California's high speed rail project may be flawed and expensive, but he also calls it better than other methods of accommodating the state's growing population.

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Valley Edition
12:35 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Valley Edition: June 15 - Google In Merced; High Speed Rail With James Fallows, Debbie Poochigian

Valley Edition July 15, 2014
Credit Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at innovation at Castle Air Force Base in Merced County, learn about the medical backlog in Fresno County, talk with writer James Fallows and Fresno County Supervisor Debbie Poochigian about California High Speed Rail, and speak with NPR's

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