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Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we talk about new legislation surrounding bilingual education in California, speak with Pinedale Democrat for Congress John Hernandez and talk with John Noy about his book "Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots, and Rogues."

Heyday Books

California’s isn’t just home to internationally renowned gems like Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks – it’s also a place that’s rich in its own human history. And while many stories, like the Gold Rush and Hetch Hetchy are well known, a new book seeks to document the “hidden history” of the Sierra. It’s called “Sierra Stories: Tales of Dreamers, Schemers, Bigots and Rogues” by author Gary Noy, a history professor at Rocklin College.

Future Of California's GOP At Stake In June Primary

May 19, 2014

For an election expected to have very low turnout, the June 3rd primary could play an outsize role in shaping California’s political landscape.  That’s because of the stark ideological battle shaping up in the Republican Party between gubernatorial candidates Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari. Ben Adler reports from Sacramento in the second of our three-part series on the 2014 California governor’s race.

Tim Donnelly and Neel Kashkari couldn’t be more different: Donnelly’s an unapologetic tea party Assemblyman:

Drought Could Cost California Agriculture Industry $1.7 Billion

May 19, 2014
Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A new study shows that California’s drought could result in severe economic losses for Central Valley farmers. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the analysis also shows the drought will mean thousands of job losses.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

A group of 18 students from schools across Fresno State were hooded with rainbow banners today in a first for Fresno State:  a lesbian, gay, bi, transgender and questioning graduation ceremony.

“I was really inspired because I noticed a lot of openly gay people, but we didn’t have a ceremony of our own, a reception of our own,” says Curtis Ortega with Fresno State’s United Student Pride Club. “We were kind of there as openly gay students, but I felt we needed our own expression and graduation ceremony.”

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

With immigration reform efforts seemingly stalled in Washington D.C., the California legislature is continuing to take its own steps to address the undocumented immigrants who call the state home. FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports on one new bill that would help a variety of undocumented professionals.

In order to practice medicine doctors have to provide a social security number to obtain a license from the state. This process automatically excludes undocumented immigrants from applying.

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

A California ballot measure before voters next month would redirect $600 million of pre-approved funds to build housing for low income and homeless veterans. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento. 

Forty-eight year-old Matthew Meissner says when one thing goes downhill, everything else follows. He became disabled in 2009, stopped working, moved in with family, then last year, found himself sleeping wherever he could in Sacramento.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Thousands of students will graduate across Central California over the next few weeks. And as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports, for a group of students in the small valley town of Caruthers, Thursday night’s graduation was a milestone in more ways than one.

Ermerendo Vasquez comes from a family that is plagued by diabetes. But he says that without the Doctors Academy at Caruthers High School, where he interned with a local physician, he wouldn’t have known how detrimental the disease can be. 

Californians Get More Time To Switch From COBRA To Covered California

May 16, 2014

California’s health insurance exchange has announced a special enrollment period starting Thursday for people who want to opt-out of their COBRA health insurance.

Covered California says about 300,000 people in the state may be paying the full price of what used to be employer-based health coverage.

Executive Director Peter Lee says they have until July 15th if they want to find another option.

Governor Jerry Brown Says California Wildfires Linked To Climate Change

May 16, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says human-caused climate change is probably the main reason wildfires are scorching large parts of San Diego County at this time of year.

Brown told CNN that climate change is the reason why the California fire season is now 70 days longer than it was in the past. He says high winds and dry conditions make fires larger and more devastating.

Brown:  “Those conditions are definitely caused by climate change, global warming induced by human activity.”

This time on Valley Writers Read, local author Craig Bernthal reads a story of his entitled "Perfection at Badaxe."  

A new study reveals that around a third of the California’s hospital patients have diabetes. And as FM89’s Diana Aguilera reports, it’s even more of a problem in the San Joaquin Valley.

The study released today by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research found that among hospital patients in California ages 35 and older, 31 percent had diabetes. That age group makes up the majority of hospitalizations in the state.

California Department of Water Resources

Researchers have long known that the mountain ranges surrounding the Central Valley have been rising faster than expected--a few millimeters every year for over a century.  And over the same time, seismic activity in the area has also increased.  According to a new study, both may be linked to the depletion of groundwater in the Central Valley.  Colin Amos of Western Washington University is lead author on the study.

"We find that the mountains are rising surrounding the San Joaquin Valley where the greatest rates of groundwater withdrawal are happening. "

Budget Tensions Emerge As Negotiating Lines Take Shape

May 15, 2014
Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

Just one day after Governor Jerry Brown put out his updated California budget proposal calling for fiscal austerity, Democratic lawmakers and interest groups wasted little time in pushing back.  Ben Adler has more from Sacramento on the battle lines shaping up as negotiations begin.

Chanting: “What do we want? / A sunny day fund! / When do we want it? / Now!”

California To Import Hydropower To Meet Summer Demand

May 15, 2014
San Joaquin River Restoration Program

California energy officials say there’s less hydropower available in the state because of the drought. But as Steve Milne reports from Sacramento, the state plans to meet peak summer demand by importing power.

California may not have had much rain but its neighbors to the north are in better shape. Cal-ISO, the agency that manages the state’s energy supply, says that’s where California will get some of its hydropower this summer.

Cal-ISO’s Steven Greenlee says California will have about 1,500 megawatts less of in-state hydroelectricity than last year.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

With a budget that's absorbed more than $100 million in cuts since 2009, the City of Fresno's finances are improving.  But major concerns remain, including a possible "perfect storm" that could threaten the city's financial future.  That's the message contained in a draft of the city's 2013 audited financial report, which the council will review on Thursday. 

New Budget Projects Almost A Third Of Californians Will Have Medi-Cal

May 14, 2014
Photo used under Creative Commons from Andy Patterson / Modern Relics / http://www.flickr.com/photos/modernrelics/4461010654/

California Governor Jerry Brown’s new budget estimates that almost a third of the population of California will be enrolled in Medi-Cal during next fiscal year. Pauline Bartolone has more from Sacramento.

About 11.5 million Californians will get health care through Medi-Cal. That’s higher than what the Governor or state health planners anticipated. So the revised budget adds more than a billion dollars to account for the surge.

Anthony Wright of Health Access says he’s pleased the state expanded Medi-Cal under the Affordable Care Act.

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

Concessions workers at Yosemite National Park held a rally today over concerns that a new contractor could leave some longtime employers out of work. 

The Delaware North Corporation has held the park's exclusive food service and lodging contract since the early 1990's. The National Park Service recently announced that it is soliciting new proposals for the deal. 

Sarah McDermott is with the Unite Here Local 19 union: 

Brown's Revised Budget Would Help State During Drought, Cal Fire

May 13, 2014
Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown’s revised budget proposal contains more money to address complications from the drought in California. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, he wants more money to go to firefighting, food assistance, and wildlife preservation. 

Governor Brown wants to give an additional $142 million to help the state through the drought. The drought has already caused an early fire season. Under the new spending plan, the Division of Forestry and Fire Protection would get $67 million more to suppress wildfires. 

Brown Preaches Fiscal Restraint With May Budget Revision

May 13, 2014
Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

With a $4.4 billion budget surplus projected, some California Democrats are calling for increased state spending. But, as Katie Orr reports from Sacramento, Governor Jerry Brown pushed back against that message Tuesday while releasing his May budget revision.

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