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It’s been over two years now since California voters approved Proposition 47, a measure which categorized many drug and property crimes from felonies to misdemeanors. It's led to a reduction in the state's prison population. But it's also led to other issues, like the many former felons who are now out of jail, but lacking support services to transition to freedom. That's the key finding from a new investigative report called Freed But Forgotten.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

The Bureau of Reclamation has started to increase releases out of Millerton Lake to clear way for water from a winter storm expected this weekend. That could mean the San Joaquin River below Friant Dam will flow at higher level than is usual for this time of year. It's the first time large flood flows have been released out of Millerton Lake since July 2011.

 

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Plans for a new dam on the San Joaquin River above Millerton Lake are on a collision course with a new proposal from the Bureau of Land Management to designate a portion of the area as a “Wild and Scenic River.” Conservationists say it would save some rare land values while improving public access, but supporters of the dam say the designation would essentially kill the project. What does the incoming Trump administration mean for the reservoir? FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

 

www.whitehouse.gov

President Barack Obama is taking big steps in his final days in office, like banning oil drilling in the Atlantic. Now both friends and critics alike are asking if he might use his executive authority for another controversial issue – a potential pardon of undocumented immigrants. But how might that work?

Valley Public Radio spoke with USC law professor Niels Frenzen about the constitutionality of such a decision and how it might play out in the real world.

Is it within President Obama’s power to issue a mass pardon of undocumented immigrants?

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition FM89's Ezra David Romero reports on the tension over a reservoir project that some desire fro the region. It's called Temperance Flat. We also hear from the editor of The Dessert Sun about proposition 47. That's the ballot initiative  Californians voted for to allow certain drug possession felonies to be switched to misdemeanors. We also hear from Emily Bazar about her latest "Ask Emily" columns. Ending the program we are joined by Meteorologist Sean Body to chat about the upcoming rainy season. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The City of Fresno has a new mayor. Lee Brand took the oath of office this morning at city hall.

At precisely 9:00 a.m. in front of the city council chambers, Lee Brand raised his right hand and swore the oath of office.

“That you will take this obligation freely. Without any reservation or purpose of evasion. And that you will and faithfully discharge the duties upon which you are about to enter?” asked City Clerk Yvonne Spence.

“I do” Brand replied.

As California's drought continues to drag on, what's the weather outlook for 2017? Meteorologist Sean Boyd, who is a lecturer in Fresno State's Department of Geography and City & Regional Planning joins us today on Valley Edition to talk about La Nina, rain, snow and more. 

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we look back at some of the top stories that aired on our program in 2016. We'll learn about how residents devastated by the Erskine Fire are working to rebuild, how drought-ravaged East Porterville is beginning to make progress on brining running water to area homes, and much more. 

Elton Morris / Creative Commons: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/legalcode

The United States Department of Agriculture published a final rule Tuesday to allow lemons from Argentina into the country. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports this decision has the California lemon industry on edge.

 

This announcement doesn’t sit well with the $650 million dollar US lemon industry. California Citrus Mutual President Joel Nelson says the citrus industry as whole is afraid of pests making into the country.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

In a new bid to clean the Valley’s dirty air, the local air district is flexing its political muscles, attempting to amend a federal law and appealing to the Trump transition team for help.

Local air officials have pulled another tool out of their toolkit: federal politics. Seyed Sadredin, director of the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, says they’d like to see some changes to a well-known law.

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