News

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It's Thursday night, and inside a small classroom at a church in Clovis, a handful of actors have gathered to put the finishing touches on a new original production. 

“Let’s go to the piece where this builds up before you take off into this speech,” shouts the director.

It's a theatre production of a four vignettes plus an original song, all focused an issue that's having a big impact on many Valley residents - obesity.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the state's new prison "realignment" plan and also efforts to amend California's 3 Strikes law. We also learn more about the on-going saga of sewage sludge from Southern California that is being trucked to Kern County and spread on area farmland. 

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the recent resurgence of an old idea, splitting up the Golden State, with the authors of a new book called "California Crackup." We'll also talk about the continuing effort to revitalize downtown Fresno.

In October 1991, Vikki Cruz was just 11 years old, but the current curator of the Bakersfield Museum of Art remembers one trip up Interstate 5 that year very well.

The recession isn't just hurting families financially. It's also creating more stress for parents who already feel overwhelmed by the demands of raising children. Child safety advocates are concerned about the link between the economy and rising reports of abusive head injuries in infants. That condition is better known as shaken baby syndrome. FM89's Shellie Branco has this report.

Special funding for this program comes from the California HealthCare Foundation
http://www.chcf.org/

It was like a coming out party for the newest group of writers to join the literary world. Amid the bright lights of Fresno’s Tower Theatre, an event billed as the official launch of the book “How Do I Begin” was held.

Fresno writer Mas Masumoto called the publishing of the anthology of poetry and stories written Hmong-Americans in the Central Valley a historic moment. “I think tonight is historic because it’s a community capturing their voices, and the voices are allowed to be passed down through story, especially in a book form.”

This week on Valley Edition we talk about the state's new law, the "California Dream Act" which would allow students who came to the country as children illegally access to financial aid at state colleges and universities. We also hear about the link between the recession and an increase in cases of child abuse. And we close our program with a story on the Hmong American Writers Circle, and a new literary anthology called "How Do I Begin."

This week on Valley Edition we talk about how political gridlock in Washington D.C. has created an unprecedented backlog at the Federal Courthouse in Fresno. Recently retired justice Oliver Wanger joins us for this special report. We also look at a new study that links spikes in air pollution with stays at local hospitals.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Even before the recent retirement of Justice Oliver Wanger, the Fresno division of the US District Court’s Eastern District of California faced big case backlogs. The district is home to over 6.7 million residents, and 19 of California’s 33 state and federal prisons, but the Fresno division is home to just two judges, and the nation’s heaviest caseloads.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

It’s Saturday afternoon, and the normally quiet park in the middle of downtown Exeter is packed, nearly shoulder to shoulder with people enjoying kettle corn, something called the tornado potato, and of course, a little barbeque.

“This is the barbeque chicken plate, it’s six dollars and it’s fantastic!,” says Wanda, an Exeter resident.

“There’s also some pulled pork over there that people are really waiting in line for and the bratwurst over here by The Dorksmen, if you want a really homemade bratwurst, that’s the place to go.”

On this week's Valley Edition we talk about efforts to end homelessness in the Valley. We also hear about the big water pollution problems facing the communities of rural Tulare County, and get a preview of the Big Fresno Fair.

One hundred years ago this month, California’s experiment in direct democracy was born with the introduction of the ballot initiative and referendum process. Now, a century later, Californians are again looking at new ideas to fix what many feel is a broken system in Sacramento. So what might the next 100 years have in store?

This week on Valley Edition, we talk about the job creation potential of California's planned high speed rail system with Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin. We also learn about plans to train the Valley's workforce to be ready for the hundreds of construction jobs that the project will create. Also on this week's program we look at the 100th anniversary of California's revolutionary experiment with direct democracy by looking ahead to the next century of reforms.

Fresno Needle Exchange Program Generates Controversy

Sep 27, 2011
Shellie Branco / Valley Public Radio

Volunteers are counting piles of used needles dumped out of plastic bags on a hot Saturday afternoon. People are lining up under a shade tent on a secluded north Fresno street to get rid of their dirty syringes. In return, they're getting an equal number of clean needles from the volunteers at the Fresno Needle Exchange Program.

The first person in line is a woman in her late forties who prefers to be called Tobi. She's a heroin user who's been coming to the exchange for 10 years. She's seen other drug users trading their old needles on the streets.

This week on Valley Edition we talk about a controversial needle exchange program in Fresno, a new study that sheds light on the Valley's education gap, and what it has to do with the local jobless problem. 

Interview: Audra McDonald

Sep 22, 2011
Michael Wilson / IMG Artists

Audiences throughout the world know Audra McDonald as a star of both the stage and screen, a three time Tony Award winner, a two time Grammy winner, and until recently a star on the hit ABC television series Private Practice. Her latest project finds her returning to the world of musical theatre, starring in a new production of Porgy and Bess, currently on stage in Cambridge Massachusetts, and scheduled to make its way to Broadway in December.

In Downtown Fresno, the Hamilton family is on a mission – to share their vision of an organic, vegan, raw food diet with the rest of the Central Valley. Valley Public Radio's Juanita Stevenson visits the Revive Café and Whole Farms Market to talk with owner Tara Hamilton and her customers, including some who are embracing the entire vegan lifestyle, and others who are making smaller steps towards healthy eating. 

Segment 1: Raw Food & Slow Food: Steps to a Better Diet

This week on Valley Edition, we feature an in-depth interview with newly un-retired Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer. We talk talk about the Fresno Grand Opera's upcoming season.

On this special edition of Valley Edition, we take a look back at the events of September 11, 2001 as we approach the 10th anniversary of the tragic terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. We talk with Valley residents who were at Ground Zero that day and learn more about their personal journeys in dealing with the tragedy, a decade later.

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