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This week on Valley Edition we hear an in-depth report about a number of changes in the works that could bring new life to a long struggling valley neighborhood - southwest Fresno. We also learn why changes are in store for the City of Fresno's FAX bus service that could improve service for some at the cost of others. We also go in-depth with interviews on the issue of human trafficking in Fresno with two reporters from the Fresno Bee, and learn about efforts to reduce cyclist and pedestrian fatalities in Kern County with Vision Zero Kern. 

Vision Zero Kern Facebook page

According to a new report from the City of Bakersfield, 64 pedestrians and cyclists have been killed in accidents in the city in the last three and a half years. The new bicycle and pedestrian safety report says only around a quarter of those accidents were the fault of drivers. However, some say the number of deaths in the area is much larger, as the city's report doesn't count accidents that occurred in county islands.

A new chapter in the history of a long-neglected Fresno neighborhood could be just around the corner. Some residents in southwest Fresno say they are seeing a critical mass of plans falling into place to unlock the neighborhood's long trapped potential. The approval of the Southwest Fresno Specific Plan, moving the Darling meat rendering plant, and the expected influx of tens of millions of dollars in state development funds have all been approved this year. And some believe this confluence of events will be the tipping point toward growth and revitalization.

Aleksandra Appleton / The Fresno Bee

A new reporting project from the Fresno Bee seeks to shine a light on a story that is too often in the shadows all around us – human trafficking. The multi-media project "Slaves of the Sex Trade" launched last week, and underscores not only the extent of the problem but the ways in which many young women are lured into a life of modern day slavery, usually beginning online.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The Kern County Board of Supervisors is set to review a proposal Tuesday from local economic development officials that would lift existing caps on tax rebates, and bring new jobs to the county.

Flickr user Robert Valencia (CC BY-SA 2.0)

For the second year in a row, California’s rate of premature births has increased. But according to new data, the trend is even more alarming in the San Joaquin Valley.

Across California, 8.6 percent of live births are premature, according to the health advocacy organization March of Dimes. That means they were born before 37 weeks of gestation. The group gave the state a B on its annual premature birth report card. Of the 15 counties ranked in the report card, Fresno County scored the worst, with a prematurity rate of over 10%. Both Fresno and Kern Counties earned a C.

A new ranking of patient safety at valley hospitals has been released, with mixed grades. The analysis from the nonprofit group Leapfrog, tracks errors, injuries, accidents, and infections at hospitals nationwide.

In Fresno County, Kaiser received an “A” grade, with Clovis Community and Saint Agnes earning "B’s." Community Regional Medical Center got a “C”. To the north, Madera Community Hospital received an "A" grade and Mercy Medical Center in Merced got a "B."

Joe Moore / KVPR

Valley Public Radio hosted a special live broadcast performance and interview with clarinetist Mark Nuccio and pianist Wendy Chen on Friday November 3rd. Nuccio is one of America's most acclaimed clarinetists, and is principal clarinet of the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He is in Fresno for a performance Saturday at Fresno State's Concert Hall Saturday at 7:30 PM, marking the 30th anniversary of the university's clarinet program. Host Joe Moore interview Chen and Nuccio as they played selections from their upcoming concert. 

Celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas and the new year with Valley Public Radio's diverse collection of holiday special programming. From classical masterpieces to jazz, pop, and world music - as well as the spoken word - there's something for everyone. Happy holidays from Valley Public Radio!
Note: Programming subject to change.

Hanukkah Lights 2017
Tuesday December 12th 1:06 PM

A perennial NPR favorite with all new Hanukkah stories. Authors TBA. Hosted by Susan Stamberg and Murray Horwitz.

Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Today marks the final day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Across the United States, it’s estimated that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by an intimate partner. Here in the San Joaquin Valley, law enforcement agencies receive 15-20,000 reports of domestic violence each year.

In an effort to reduce these crimes in Tulare County, the sheriff’s office earlier this month announced a new strategy for fighting domestic violence—one they hope will aid not just in responding to reported crimes, but also in preventing future ones.

Fresno Office of Education

The Fresno County Office of Education has broken ground on a new shop for a Career Technical Education Charter School in central Fresno. The school will serve students from around the county who are interested in exploring technical careers as well as college. FCOE Superintendent Jim Yovino spoke with Valley Public Radio's Jeffrey Hess about what the agency wants to achieve.

Why did the Fresno Office of Education want to start a Career and Technical Education Charter School?

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

One of the most widely used insecticides in America is the subject of a regulatory battle. Earlier this year the Trump administration chose not to move ahead with efforts to ban chlorpyrifos, first put in place by the Obama administration.  Now, California is in the process of tightening its own regulations of the insecticide, and that has some farmers searching for answers.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition our team reports stories on a potential teacher's strike within Fresno Unified as well as what farmers may do if a popular pesticide is restricted. We also hear about a new program in Tulare County being implemented to hopefully reduce the number of domestic violence cases in the area. Later we hear from The Fresno Bee's Jim Boren who announced this week that he's retiring at the end of the year.

TRMC

Last week a bankruptcy court judge allowed the Tulare Local Health Care District board to part ways with HCCA, the private company that has been running the Tulare Regional Medical Center for several years. It marks an end to a relationship that had become bitter following a recall election earlier this year. It also has led to the temporary closure of the hospital, which has directed patients to nearby facilities in Porterville, Visalia and Reedley. So what's next, and when does the hospital hope to reopen?

The Fresno Bee

The Fresno Bee’s executive editor Jim Boren announced on Monday that he plans to retire in January. In his 48 year career he’s covered countless stories – from the Chowchilla school bus kidnapping to the Operation Rezone scandal at Fresno City Hall. Prior to his current position, he helped lead the paper’s coverage of local politics, and served as editor of the editorial page. He joined us on Valley Edition to talk about his career, serving as a juror for the Pulitzer Prize in 2016 and 2017, and about some local political issues.

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