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Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

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.

Women's March Makes Its Way To Conservative Kern County

4 hours ago
Christina Lopez / Vall

Millions around the country and world made their voices heard this weekend during the second annual Women’s March. Homemade signs for women’s rights, equality for all, and support for immigrants were raised in Bakersfield -- an unlikely scene in the heart of conservative Kern County, which voted majority Republican during the 2016 election. FM89’s Christina Lopez attended the first annual Women’s March in Kern County this past Saturday, exactly one year since President Trump was sworn into office, and shares this report.

CIty of Fresno

This Thursday the Fresno City Council will vote on a proposal for a major new industrial development in south Fresno. Covering 110 acres at Central and Cedar Avenues, the development would allow up to 2,000,000 square feet of new construction for heavy industry. However, developer Richard Caglia is likely to target a very specific type of tenant for the project – warehouse operations known as distribution or fulfillment centers.

Blue Note Records

Gregory Porter is one of the brightest stars in the jazz world. Since he burst on the scene in 2010 with his critically acclaimed debut album Water, Porter has won two Grammy Awards for best jazz vocal album, and is one of the most in-demand artists in the genre. His new record Nat King Cole and Me has earned him spots on NBC's Today Show and Late Night With Stephen Colbert, and soon a concert at Carnegie Hall. 

Valley Public Radio

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:

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

Jan 18, 2018
Henry Barrios / The Bakersfield Californian

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.

California High-Speed Rail Authority

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.

The new way to experience Valley Public Radio is here. Now you can unlock with world of NPR and FM89 with Amazon's Alexa service or with Google Home smart speakers. With a few simple commands, you can access the entire world of NPR – all the latest news, newest podcasts, and discussions of the day.

For Amazon Alexa users:

Here are some general commands:

"Alexa, play NPR."
Stream your local public radio station, live.

"Alexa, play the latest news from NPR."
Hear the latest 5-minute newscast, updated every hour.

Sarah Sharpe / CHAPS

Last week, we brought you a report about the San Joaquin Valley’s recent bout of smoggy air, which in Bakersfield was the longest consecutive episode of unhealthy PM2.5 levels in decades.

This week on Valley Edition we talk with one of the authors of a new study examining how exposure to air pollution can impact both our DNA and our immune system function. We also talk with the NYU professor who is exploring the history of computer gaming, and the role one local company played in pioneering the software industry. And we talk with a photographer who has a new book focused on valley agriculture. 

Randi Lynn Beach / used with permission

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 Beach.

Flickr user Greg Jordan (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

The FDA is launching a new campaign to urge smokers to give up their habit--and the project is focusing some of its efforts on Kings County.

The campaign is called “Every Try Counts” and it targets adult smokers who’ve tried to quit in the past but failed.

Sierra On-Line

It might be hard to believe today, but the Madera County community of Oakhurst was once one of the biggest players in the world of computer gaming. For much of the 1980's and 90's, the mountain community was home to Sierra On-Line, an early pioneer in computer gaming, known for adventure game titles like Kings Quest. Sierra's games featured both innovative technology and groundbreaking storytelling, an approach that came directly from company founders Ken and Roberta Williams.

Salas Introduces 'Most Robust' Valley Fever Legislation In State's History

Jan 9, 2018
Office of Asm. Rudy Salas

Apparently undaunted by California Gov. Jerry Brown's October veto of legislation that would've brought new disease reporting guidelines and funding to the little-known respiratory disease known as valley fever, Assemblyman Rudy Salas has introduced an even more robust legislative package aimed at tackling the disease as cases rise to record highs in California.

This week on Valley Edition, we learn why the valley endured some of the worst air quality in decades, and why more wasn't done to prevent it. We also talk about the weather with meteorologist Sean Boyd. Later in the show we hear about the pros and cons of the proposed new route for high-speed rail through Bakersfield, and we talk with Merced Sun Star reporter Monica Velez about the closure of a network of health clinics last year in the north valley. Finally, we talk with folk singer John McCutcheon ahead of a concert in Fresno Thursday night. 

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