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Part 1: Obesity - We hear the term "obesity epidemic" often in the news these days. It's an issue that hits close to home. About 40 percent of Fresno County kids ages five to 19 are overweight or obese. And so are their parents. 57 percent of Fresno adults are overweight. On this edition of Quality of Life, reporter Lauren Whaley brings us the story of one Fresno teenager who suffers from obesity, and how getting sick changed his life - for the better.

Segment 1: Human Trafficking - On Monday the US State Department released a report that estimates that up to 100,000 people in the US are victims of human trafficking. They range from those working in forced labor, to women and children trapped in the world of sex trafficking. California is one of the top three states in the nation for human trafficking, according to Cal EMA. Joining us to talk about the extent of this problem in the San Joaquin Valley is Ronna L. Bright, from the group Central Valley Against Human Trafficking and the Central Valley Freedom Coalition.

Segment 1: California's long running budget battle entered a new chapter last week, when Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a budget sent to him by the Democratic controlled Legislature. On this edition of Quality of Life, we talk with Democrat Assembly member Henry T. Perea of Fresno, and Republican Assembly Leader Connie Conway of Tulare about what's next in the budget debate. We also get political analysis on the budget from Professor Jeff Cummins of Fresno State and Nathan W. Monroe of UC Merced.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Hanford’s 7th Avenue looks pretty much like any other busy street in a small San Joaquin Valley town. It’s a broad avenue populated with a haphazard array of muffler shops, fast food joints and gas stations. Yet less than half a block away exists another world, seemingly frozen in time, a cultural and historic artifact, built by Chinese immigrants who came to build the railroad starting in the 1870’s, a place called China Alley.

Segment 1 – County Jails & State Prisons - Last month the US Supreme Court ruled that California must reduce its prison population by 33,000 inmates by 2013, to improve inmate health care. And a new state law plans to shift much of that burden to county jails. We talk about the future of the state's corrections system and what it means for the Valley, with Kern County Sheriff Joel Youngblood, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims and prisoner rights advocate Rebecca Evenson of the Prison Law Office.

Part I: High Speed Rail - As California's high speed rail system inches ever closer to breaking ground in 2012, criticism and opposition to the project is growing on a number of fronts. Valley farmers in Kings County have objected to the proposed alignment of the tracks through farms and dairies near Hanford. The State Senate voted last week to radically remake the High Speed Rail Authority and its board of directors. And in May, the non-partisan Legislative Analyst's Office issued a highly critical report of the project and its management.

Segment I: California State University Budget Cuts - California's publicly funded state university system, the CSU was once the envy of the nation, providing accessible and affordable higher education to millions of Californians. While the 23 campus system is still the largest in the country, the recent budget crisis has taken its toll. Under Governor Brown's latest "May Revise" budget, the system faces as much a $1 billion budget cut (36 percent) and a potential student fee increase of as much as 32 percent for the coming year. We ask Fresno State President Dr.

Diabetes Patients Turn to Grey Market Sources

May 26, 2011

Californians spend $24 billion each year on diabetes care, and the Valley's diabetes rates are some of the highest in the state, around 10 percent. For people struggling with the disease, the financial and emotional burdens of diabetes make for a difficult combination. When the costs of diabetes testing supplies add up, some bypass the pharmacy and turn to the street to get what they need. Valley Public Radio's Shellie Branco reports on how some Valley residents are dealing with their disease.

Part I: National Parks - Central California's National Parks are known worldwide and attract millions of visitors each year. In 2010, over 4 million people visited Yosemite National Park, just short of breaking the park's all-time record. But those visitors bring big city problems with them, from traffic jams, to pollution and safety concerns. This week on Quality of Life, we examine the difficult task of balancing public access with preservation of natural resources, in Yosemite and beyond.

Segment 1: Diabetes - Californians spend $24 billion each year on diabetes care, and the Valley's diabetes rates are some of the highest in the state, around 10 percent. For people struggling with the disease, the financial and emotional burdens of diabetes make for a difficult combination. When the costs of diabetes testing supplies add up, some bypass the pharmacy and turn to the street to get what they need. On this edition of Quality of Life, correspondent Shellie Branco reports on how some Valley residents are dealing with their disease. And later, Dr.

Segment I - Redistricting - While it doesn't get nearly as much attention as the state's on-going budget debate, behind the scenes, work is underway on a set of maps that could dramatically alter California politics for a decade to come. The State's 14 member Citizens Redistricting Commission is currently at work on redrawing the lines of the state's assembly, state senate and congressional districts. And in a state where major decisions such as the budget and big social issues often are decided by just one or two votes, the stakes for all those are high.

Segment I Nuclear Power In the Valley? - The State of California has a long love-hate relationship with nuclear power. It's now been 26 years since Diablo Canyon, the state's newest nuclear power plant, came online on the Central Coast. In the intervening years, reactors at Rancho Seco, near Sacramento, and San Onofre near San Diego have been decommissioned, and the state's moratorium on the construction of new plants still remains in effect.

Segment 1: The Kern River Flows Through Bakersfield Once More? - The Kern River has long been known as one of the wildest rivers in the west. But far below Lake Isabella, as the channel makes its way through the city of Bakersfield, the days of a wild river, or for much of the year a river at all, are long gone. However, a new proposal from the City of Bakersfield aims to do what many thought would never happen, return year round water to the river through the city, creating a new community amenity.

School Nurse Programs Suffer With Budget Cuts

Apr 19, 2011

When we hear about budget problems in California schools, we usually think of teachers losing their jobs. But school nurses are also worried about job security and cuts to student health services. In this report, FM89 health correspondent Shellie Branco talks with school nurses and one Visalia family who relies on them. 

Segment 1: School Health Programs - When we hear about budget problems in California schools, we usually think of teachers losing their jobs. But school nurses are also worried about job security and cuts to student health services. On this edition of Quality of Life, correspondent Shellie Branco brings us a feature report on school health, and talks with school nurses and one Visalia family who relies on them.

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