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On this week’s Valley Edition, we learn about the looming changes to local government in Kern County following the adoption of new supervisorial district lines after a voting rights act lawsuit. We also talk to the co-author of a new report about the San Joaquin Valley’s looming nursing shortage, and with a leader of one local hospital that’s already dealing with the problem. Plus, a look at why democracy may not be working when it comes to local water districts. We learn about a new report shows that 87 percent of publicly elected seats on those boards went uncontested in recent years.

Kern County

Kern County Supervisors have adopted new district lines following a legal settlement with the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. The group sued the county alleging the 2011 supervisorial redistricting disenfranchised Latino voters by drawing lines that divided communities like Arvin and Delano, diluting their political power. In February MALDEF won the suit in U.S. District Court, setting up settlement talks to draw new district lines and new procedures for upcoming elections.

California Citrus Mutual

In response to the Trump administration’s tariffs on Chinese steel, the Chinese government over the weekend announced tariffs on many American products.

The list of 128 items with new tariffs includes almonds, oranges, grapes and dozens of other crops, which could threaten hundreds of millions of dollars in annual exports out of the San Joaquin Valley. 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new report from the Visalia-based Community Water Center indicates that nearly 500 local water board seats have gone uncontested in recent elections. In the southern San Joaquin Valley, the report finds that 87 percent of seats on public water boards went uncontested. When only one candidate is seeking a seat, the election for that seat is not held.

U.S. Census Bureau

It was announced Monday that the 2020 Census would include a question about immigration status, and this has raised concerns with local advocacy groups.

Sam Molina is the California State Director of Mi Familia Vota. Molina says this question would dissuade the immigrant community from participating in the census. He also says the state will lose resources that are allocated by population if that happens.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Clinica Sierra Vista introduced their new CEO and opened a new clinic in north Fresno Wednesday. The Bakersfield-based clinics have historically served rural and low income communities. CEO Brian Harris says that serving those communities remains their goal.

 

“If you look at who's going to the medical emergency rooms in our community, it is the poor and underserved,” says Harris. “They're using that as their primary care home. So we need to open up clinics near the hospitals.”
 

Courtesy Kaweah Delta Health Care District.

A new study from the UCSF Healthforce Center has ominous news for the valley’s health care system. According to the authors, demand for registered nurses in the San Joaquin Valley is projected to grow by 35 percent over the next 12 years. But at the same time, the region’s total number of RNs is expected to actually decline, creating a serious shortfall. Some estimates put the regional RN shortage as high as 10,000 by 2030. So what’s behind the decline?

Fresno County Sheriff's Office

Last year California lawmakers passed legislation that limits communication between local law enforcement agencies and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials. Recently, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department made national headlines by attempting to bypass that law by publicly posting the release date of inmates online. It’s a practice that Fresno County has been using for years.

 

This week on Young Artists Spotlight we featuring violin soloists from the Youth Orchestras of Fresno. 

Melissa Wong                                                                                                                          

Handel Violin Sonata no. 4, in D Major HWV 371

Mvt. II: Allegro

Larry Zhao                                                                                                                                 

J. S. Bach Sonata no. 1 for Violin Solo,  in G minor, BWV 1001

Mvt. I: Adagio

On this week’s Valley Edition we learn about a scandal that has rocked the health care industry, and allegedly led to disruptions in care for thousands of California Medi-Cal recipients. We also take a look back the local “March For Our Lives” events, and talk to journalist Andy Kroll about his new profile of California Governor Jerry Brown in the California Sunday Magazine. Plus author Sam McManis joins us for a look at his new book “Crossing California” which showcases the state’s weird and wonderful roadside destinations.

Flickr user San Diego PersonalInjuryAttorney, CC BY-SA 2.0

Every time you want to see a doctor, decisions are made about who’s in your network, what’s approved, and how much it’ll cost. Although your health plan manages everything, each of those decisions could be outsourced to a separate company—and those behind-closed-doors actions can have big impacts. Allegations of misconduct within two of these intermediary companies are already having real impacts on patients in the Valley.

Last fall, Dr. Sanjay Srivatsa received a letter.

Christina Lopez

This weekend’s historic "March for Our Lives" rally saw hundreds of thousands of students gather from coast-to-coast and across the world in solidarity with students whose lives were cut short due to gun violence in their schools. This weekend, students from high schools across Kern County participated in Saturday’s rally that drew over 500 in attendance in west Bakersfield. FM 89’s Christina Lopez reports.

Hundreds of students from across Kern County high schools gathered along Truxtun Avenue for the March for Our Lives rally in Bakersfield.

Jerry Brown
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown holds the record for being the state’s youngest governor and also the state's oldest governor. As he nears the end of his record fourth term in office, many are turning to talk about the “L” word – legacy. A new profile in the California Sunday Magazine seeks to provide some new insights into Governor Brown, the evolution of his career and his thinking.

In a few months, California families from Eureka to Calexico will begin hopping in the family car for that grand American tradition of the road trip.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

Marches took place around the nation on Saturday to honor the victims of last month’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida. The march in Fresno drew crowds from around the Central Valley to Fresno High School.

 

Yasmin Mendoza is the twenty-one-year old community college student who led the event. She says the march and their movement isn’t about party politics.

 

“I think that safety is a universal issue that affects everyone no matter your political party,” says Mendoza.

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Today on FM89's Young Artists Spotlight we feature the music of the Lindsay Guitars from Lindsay High School. This group is a favorite of FM89 audiences and has been performing on the program for many years thanks to the leadership of director Nancy Wills. This year we hear two ensembles and a guitar duo:

LHS Honor Group:

Castle on a Cloud, from Les Miserables

Wild Mountain Thyme - Scottish Folk Song

Miguel Moreno and Nancy Wills:

Romance - Anonymous

LHS Advanced Guitar Ensemble:

Oye Mi Ritmo, Based on a South American Theme

This week on Valley Edition, we learn about the controversy over a new bill that some say is a solution to getting valley residents clean drinking water, but others say is an unfair water tax. We also learn about the ongoing fight between Madera County District Attorney David Linn and the Madera County Board of Supervisors. Plus valley jazz artist Benjamin Boone joins us to talk about his new recording with the late poet Philip Levine, feature Levine's poems and some of the world's top jazz stars. 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

A few weeks ago, Madera County District Attorney David Linn announced he’ll be running for reelection this year. In the meantime, however, he’s embroiled in a developing public scandal involving allegations of inappropriate workplace behavior, a public censure, and a likely lawsuit, that’s pit him against the Madera County Board of Supervisors.

Listen to the interview with FM89’s Kerry Klein for an update on what’s been happening and what’s likely to come next.

Community Water Center

More than 300 California communities lack access to clean drinking water. A disproportionately high number of those communities lie in the San Joaquin Valley, as we reported in our 2017 series Contaminated. Last fall, a bill with a proposed solution passed the state senate but has since remained in limbo, receiving both broad support and opposition—even in the San Joaquin Valley.

courtesy Benjamin Boone

A new project from Fresno-based jazz artist Benjamin Boone is getting national attention. It combines original compositions by the Fresno State professor and saxophonist, with the poetry of the late Pulitzer Prize winner and U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine. It also features some of the top names in the jazz world as guest stars including Branford Marsalis and Tom Harrell, as well as Valley Public Radio’s own David Aus. Levine was known for his love of jazz and recorded with Boone's band shortly before his death in 2015.

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