News

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

For years, the San Joaquin River Parkway and Conservation Trust has worked to preserve the river bottom from development between Friant Dam and Highway 99. While the parkway, and its partner agency, the San Joaquin River Conservancy have amassed thousands of acres of land along the river, much of that land isn't regularly open to the public. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The National Park Service announced Wednesday that Yosemite Hospitality, LLC, a subsidiary of Aramark, will receive a 15-year contract for visitor services in the park. Park officials say the deal is valued at $2 billion in gross revenues over the life of the contract. 

Park spokesperson Scott Gediman says while changes in concessions are common in other national parks, this deal is unique.

Gediman: "This is the largest single concession operation in the National Park System."

This week on Valley Writers Read we hear two stories: “Paper or Plastic” by James Benelli and “Night Sweats” by Ed Miller.  Both stories are read by their authors. The first story is a light hearted tale about a bag boy in a grocery store who was just about seduced by a very wealthy customer.  The second story is about a veteran with post traumatic stress disorder.

Editor's note: this program contains adult themes and may not be appropriate for all listeners.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

With summer right around the corner and triple digit temperatures here to stay the American Red Cross of Central California is gearing up for a hot forest fire season. The organization is a first responder for small scale problems like power outages and large scale disasters like floods, fires and tornadoes. But as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the agency’s aid for the first time is extending beyond disaster centers and into the arena of drought relief for people with dry wells.

Mercy for Animals

An animal welfare group has released what it claims is disturbing video of mistreatment of animals at a central valley slaughter house and chicken farm.

The group, Mercy for Animals, used undercover investigators to film the treatment of chickens at two Foster Farms chicken farms and a slaughterhouse in Fresno County.

What they found, says Matt Rice with Mercy for Animals, is horrific abuse of the chickens at both the farm and the slaughter house.

Brown, California Lawmakers Reach Budget Deal

Jun 16, 2015
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

California Governor Jerry Brown and Democratic legislative leaders have reached a state budget deal.

The $115 billion general fund spending plan relies on the governor’s conservative revenue estimates. But it also includes money for some of lawmakers’ top priorities, including child care and higher education.

The governor called negotiations “strenuous” but says the budget is sound.

Brown: “All in all, I’d say it’s been difficult but very productive, and certainly I’m glad that we got this far.” 

California Extends Health Care To Undocumented Children

Jun 16, 2015
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Beginning next spring 170,000 undocumented kids living in California will be able to sign up for Medi-Cal. Governor Jerry Brown and legislative leaders allocated an initial $40 million for the program in this year’s budget.

Democratic Senator Ricardo Lara has been pushing for California to offer health care to immigrants living illegally in the state. 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

It’s been nearly six months since officials held a ceremonial groundbreaking for California’s high speed rail project in Fresno. But as Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports construction crews Tuesday started building the project’s first bridge in Madera.

After months of underground work, it’s the obvious sign of construction on California’s $68-billion bullet train project.  Over the next eight to 10 months crews will assemble the viaduct over the Fresno River and Highway 145.

Joe Moore/ Valley Public Radio

On the final day of budget negotiations, the Fresno City Council has an additional $4 million to spend.

The city is getting the additional money from a one-time fund from the state.

The city council voted to spend it on a variety of projects such as updating the parks master plan, re-painting the art museum, and putting one million away in reserve.

During discussion of the budget, Council president Oliver Baines said it is refreshing to have a stable growing revenue.

Valley Public Radio Launches New Website

Jun 16, 2015

Valley Public Radio is proud to announce the re-launch of KVPR.org, with a new “responsive design” that delivers a customized user experience tailored to your individual device. The new design also features a cleaner layout, easier navigation, and most importantly more space on the homepage for highlighting the station’s local content, as well as highlights from NPR. All current site content is retained with the new layout.

David Aus Joins FM89 Broadcast Team

Jun 16, 2015

Valley Public Radio listeners have likely noticed a new voice on the FM89 airwaves, that of David Aus. The station’s newest classical announcer, David can be heard regularly on Thursdays and Fridays from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM hosting Clearly Classical and other FM89 programs.

David’s voice is familiar to many in the Fresno area. In addition to being an in-demand pianist, composer, arranger and educator, he also is a radio veteran, with nearly 10 years of broadcast experience as a host at KFSR.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we hear a special report from Valley Public Radio's Diana Aguilera on the startling HIV/AIDS numbers that have Fresno public health officials concerned. FM89's Ezra David Romero also talks with the nation's next poet laureate, the valley's own Juan Felipe Herrera about his career, what the honor means and get some poetry tips as well. 

File Photo

The Chief of the Fresno Police department is asking for more help to fight a rising rate of some crimes in the city. Fresno Police chief Jerry Dyer says it is increasingly difficult to attract people to law enforcement.

Fresno Police Chief Dyer is asking for a bigger budget to hire up to forty more police officers to patrol the city’s streets.

The department may also double the signing bonus to $10,000 to lure more recruits.

Dyer says it has becoming increasingly difficult to find qualified officers citing a national mood against police officers.

Drought Threatens California's Oaks, Giant Sequoias

Jun 11, 2015
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

The drought in California has killed millions of trees in the Southern Sierra Nevada. But the problem is more widespread. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, some ecologists say the state could lose some of its iconic trees.

A US Forest Service aerial survey in April found 20 percent of the trees in a 4.1  million acre area in the Southern Sierra were dead. Jeff Moore conducts those surveys.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ozUc3Zace4g / https://www.facebook.com/GeneralVangPao

The Hmong are a resilient people. Forty years after many of them were outed from Laos they have scattered across the globe as refugees. In America the two largest populations of Hmong people are in the Central Valley and in Twin Cities, Minnesota.

In this interview KVPR’S Ezra David Romero chats with Fresno State Anthropologist Kao-Ly Yang who’s studied the Hmong people for decades. She says each of these communities mirrors the man who helped establish the Hmong people in each region.

Flikr-Victor, Creative Commons

There are roughly 1,000 fewer people in Fresno County who are on Felony probation. The County Probation Chief says that is due to changes brought about by Proposition 47.

By turning some felonies, especially drug convictions, into misdemeanors there are now only about 8,000 people under county supervision compared to 9,000 a year ago according to Probation Chief Rick Chavez.

Chavez says it is not necessarily a bad thing that fewer people are on probation as long as people who are now convicted of misdemeanors access treatment for addiction.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

For the second time in five years, a Fresno poet has received the nation’s highest honor for his field. Former Fresno State professor Juan Felipe Herrera is the new Poet Laureate of the United States. Herrera grew up in the San Joaquin Valley and was influenced by both the beat poets and the Chicano movement of the 1960’s. He joins the late Philip Levine as the only Fresno residents to hold the national honor.  

In this interview Valley Public Radio's Ezra David Romero chats with Herrera about his life, poetry and future. 

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story titled "My Life As A Mystic"  by David Borofka. Even though the main character is an appraiser (which is anything but being “other worldly”) he sees himself as a “mystic.”  Nothing demonstrates this more clearly than what happens toward the end of the story. Listen and find out what happens on this week's program.

Alabastro Photography

The Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra has a new conductor. Orchestra president Brian Burrow announced Tuesday that Bulgarian artist Stilian Kirov has been selected as the symphony's new musical director.

The move caps a year where the orchestra featured a series of guest conductors, following the departure of longtime leader John Farrer. 

Kirov says he's excited to work with the orchestra and the entire Bakersfield community:

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Forty years ago the Hmong people began seeking refuge in the United States after the CIA recruited a guerrilla army of Hmong people to fight the North Vietnamese in Laos in what’s known as the Secret War. Before coming to the US they spent years in refugee camps in Thailand. Thousands of those refugees made it to America where their lives changed forever. FM89’s Ezra David Romero speaks with a Hmong family who made the journey and has no desire to return to their homeland. 

Pages