News

The Fresno City Council has passed a ban on recreational marijuana sales and public use in the city. It passed on a 4-3 vote. The ban also extends a prohibition on outdoor cultivation of cannabis. The push for the ban was led by councilmember Garry Bredefeld who represents District 6.

Bredefeld: “Having recreational dispensaries is a problem because it sends a message to our youth that this is ok. And it isn’t ok. I don’t think it’s ok. I don’t think Prop 64 is ok.”

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Thanks to the rapidly melting snowpack, Pine Flat Reservoir on the Kings River east of Fresno is now expected to exceed 100% of its capacity. But water managers aren’t too worried.

Due in part to the extreme heat, estimates of the snowmelt flowing into the Pine Flat Lake were off by about 200,000 acre feet. As of Friday afternoon, the reservoir is just a few inches away from being completely full.

But with more water coming in from the High Sierra, dam engineers have a backup plan.

Fresno Chamber of Commerce

Fresno Mayor Lee Brand focused on job creation as he delivered his first state of the city speech today at the Fresno Convention Center. Brand says he wants to build upon this year’s announcements of new fulfillment centers for retail giants Amazon and Ulta Beauty, which are both now under construction.

The plan is to create 10,000 new jobs in the city in the next 10 years with similar operations, and another 10,000 spillover jobs in other sectors.  

BRAND: “The goal is to make Fresno the e-commerce capital of the west coast.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

UC Merced isn’t the first place people think of when it comes to finding new ways to prevent the spread of HIV globally. But thanks to one professor the university is now working with scientists around the globe to find an alternative way to prevent the virus from infecting people.

A new non-profit group launched last week that has a goal to help guide the future of the Fresno Unified School District. Go Public Schools Fresno is the local branch of an Oakland-based education advocacy group. Led by Diego Arambula, the Fresno group says it hopes to build a constituency around making changes that will improve the quality of education in the district. So what does that mean, and what sorts of changes would that include? Arambula joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his background and vision.

ZDoggMD

At the intersection of popular culture and health care innovation is a man the internet knows as ZDoggMD. Thanks to his forward thinking ideas about what he calls Health 3.0, he’s been featured in The Atlantic, Forbes,

California Health Sciences University

For decades, San Joaquin Valley residents have been calling for a medical school. Plans at UC Merced have stalled, and a state bill that would have brought a public medical school to Fresno State died in the state assembly in March. And yet, the Fresno area could be home to not only one, but two private medical schools—in just two years.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports on two medical schools possibly coming to the region and about HIV prevention research underway at UC Merced. We also hear from YouTube famous doctor Zubin Damania, MD or ZDoggMD who grew up in Clovis.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

City of Fresno officials are calling it the crown jewel of a growing industrial park in south central Fresno. E-commerce giant Amazon officially began work on a new internet fulfillment center Monday to the delight of elected officials and business leaders who gathered at the site.

With a few short words, Amazon’s West Coast Operations Director Kelvin Downs opened the ground breaking ceremony of an 855,000 square foot internet fulfillment center.

“It’s official. Amazon is coming to Fresno,” Downs says.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new scientific study reveals what happens at the surface of the earth can influence earthquakes originating deep underground. 

Faces of Fracking / Flickr

A series of hearings began today in Kern County in a lawsuit over an ordinance that could allow up to 70,000 new oil and gas wells there over the next two decades.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Wilderness areas are known for isolated beauty and the feeling of peace experienced there. There are no cars, few roads and only horseman, horses and hikers can enter them. But that could soon change if a bill that’s now in congress becomes law.

When Craig Bowden isn’t teaching eighth graders language arts he’s out riding his mountain bike. Today, he’s giving me a lesson on bike riding at Woodward Park in north Fresno.  

“When you’re taking a corner you typically want to have your outside foot down, so the pressures on the outside,” Bowden says as we ride down a hill.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports about a bill that if becomes law would allow bikes in wilderness areas and about Medi-Cal Rates in the Valley.  Later we hear from the LA Times' Ivan Penn about his story on a Central Valley power plant shutting down. We also hear about a new book that documents farmworkers' oral histories. And ending the program we learn more about the new Fresno Philharmonic conductor. 

Office of Congressman Jeff Denham

The expansion of Medi-Cal in the Central Valley under the Affordable Care Act has been key to slashing the area’s uninsured rate in half in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of people signed up, and in most valley counties, about half of the population is on Medi-Cal. But according to some, having more people on the program has compounded the problem of low reimbursement rates for physicians and the area’s long-running doctor shortage.

Voice of Witness

A new book aims to document the stories of valley farmworkers through oral histories. It's the project of editor and independent journalist Gabriel Thompson, and features interviews with dozens of people who have spent their lives working in the fields of California. The book is called "Chasing The Harvest" and is published by the group Voice of Witness. Thompson joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his experiencing collecting the stories that make up the book.

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