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Government & Politics
3:18 pm
Wed May 22, 2013

Legislative Democrats Want to Restore Budget Cuts, But Priorities Differ

Calif. State Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) speaks at a rally to restore funding for after school programs at the Capitol Tuesday.
Credit Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio

As California budget talks head into their final weeks, supporters of programs suffering from years of cuts are asking for help.  Governor Jerry Brown opposes any new spending.  But as Ben Adler reports from Sacramento, Assembly and Senate Democrats have different programs in which they'd like to invest.

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Valley Writers Read
10:38 am
Wed May 22, 2013

Ed Miller's "Blur" on Valley Writers Read

This week on our program, Fresno author Ed Miller reads his story "Blur" is about a dinner date that went sour. Find out what happened in this intense edition of Valley Writers Read. 

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Government & Politics
6:07 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

California Fire Camps Key To Reducing Prison Overcrowding

Katie Orr Capital Public Radio

Reducing overcrowding at California prisons is not easy. Generally, inmates must either be released or given more space, which is expensive. But there is a third option. Inmates can be sent to fire camps.  That's a cornerstone of Governor Jerry Brown's plan to reduce prison overcrowding in response to a federal court order.  State Government Reporter Katie Orr takes a closer look at what these camps entail.  

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Health Care
5:52 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Medical Procedures Vary By Region, According to New Study

A map from a new study by the California Healthcare Foundation displays the geographic disparities in certain medical procedures, in this case, induced deliveries.

Depending on where they practice, doctors in different parts of California are more likely to recommend certain procedures. It’s a phenomenon called “variance.” A study from The California Healthcare Foundation shows it’s a consideration both patients and physicians should be aware of. The Foundation’s Maribeth Shannon says doctors might not realize what they’re doing.

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Environment
4:35 pm
Tue May 21, 2013

Environmentalists Lobby To Change Brown's Proposal For Cap and Trade Funds

file photo
Credit Valley Public Radio

Environmental groups have begun a lobbying campaign to stop California Governor Jerry Brown’s budget proposal to divert money from the cap-and-trade program.

Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. Brown wants to borrow $500 million for the general fund.

Vien Truong with the Greenlining Institute says environmental advocates are angry. She says that money could be used for clean air programs in low-income communities.

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Valley Edition
11:57 am
Tue May 21, 2013

On Valley Edition: Mariachi; Water; DUI Alcohol Limit; Bakersfield Beating Update; Pres. Welty

 

 This week on Valley Edition we take a look into stories and issues across the region including water, possibly reducing the the legal limit for blood alcohol content for drivers, an update surrounding a Bakersfield man who was beaten to death by law enforcement and more.

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Arts & Culture
8:44 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Fresno Composer Fuses Classical, Mariachi, To Bring Music To Kids

Composer Benjamin Boone is working to fuse classical music and mariachi and bring music into the schools.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

This weekend the stage of the Saroyan Theatre will be filled with hundreds of young musicians, with hundreds more in the audience. It’s all part of an effort by a Fresno composer to break down the boundaries between classical music and mariachi, and to bring young audiences into the world of music, in a fun, interactive way. Valley Public Radio's Rebecca Plevin reports.

--------------------------------------------

It’s Sunday afternoon and the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra is rehearsing a new, mariachi-inspired song.

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Government & Politics
12:05 pm
Mon May 20, 2013

Brown Going After Enterprise Zones in Budget Proposal

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is proposing drastic changes to California’s Enterprise Zone program in his latest budget. The zones are located in blighted areas and businesses operating within them can claim tax credits from the state.

Craig Johnson is President of the California Association of Enterprise Zones. He says Brown’s changes would essentially eliminate the state’s 40 Enterprise Zones. He says the state already has high taxes and high regulations and eliminating tax credits won’t help.

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In the Mode
12:00 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

In The Mode: May 19, 2013

This week on In the Mode, we’ll hear some elegant melancholy, Dowland’s Lachrimae. There was a time when it was fashionable to be sad, there was even the cult of melancholy.  In 1604, Dowland published a collection called “Lachrimae or Seven Teares”, based on his song Flow My Tears, performed on violas da gamba by Jordi Savall and Hesperion XX.  

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Education
12:29 pm
Fri May 17, 2013

Welty Offers Advice For The Next Fresno State President: 'Have A Thick Skin'

Fresno State President John Welty (file photo)
Credit FresnoStateNews.com

Fresno State President John Welty will retire this summer, bringing an end to a 22-year tenure as head of the university. He recently sat down with Valley Public Radio's Joe Moore to reflect back on his career.

Interview highlights:

Welty on advice to his successor:

Good luck, have a thick skin, and take time to laugh at yourself from time to time.

Welty, (who is a member of the NCAA Board of Directors) on paying student athletes:

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Development Watch Blog
7:44 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Fresno To Get High-End, High-Rise Downtown Restaurant?

The top two floors of the 16-story Pacific Southwest Building could soon be home to a new restaurant and lounge, according to city officials.
Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

UPDATED: 5/17/13 (see below)

Could Fresno foodies soon be enjoying a gourmet meal at the top of the tallest privately-owned building in Central California?

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin suggested as much  with this interesting nugget of information during her State of the City address today:

"Plans were just submitted in this particular city's downtown for a high-end restaurant and lounge on the 15th and 16th floors of the tallest building in Central California."

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Government & Politics
5:34 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

New Study Gives Snapshot of Realignment Results

(file photo)
Credit California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation

The California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department offered a glimpse today of how realignment is working. The program diverts low-level offenders to county jails in an effort to reduce state prison overcrowding.

A study done by the department compares inmates released pre- and post- realignment. It found post-realignment offenders were re-arrested at a lower rate than pre-realignment offenders. Both groups were convicted of new crimes at nearly the same rate. The department’s Jeffrey Callison stresses this is just a snapshot.     

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Government & Politics
5:13 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Assembly Passes TRUST Act, Again

Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says the TRUST Act will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

The California Assembly has passed a bill that limits when local law enforcement agencies can turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

The TRUST Act says local police cannot turn undocumented immigrants over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for minor crimes. Democratic Assemblyman Tom Ammiano says this will prevent immigrants from being deported for relatively minor infractions.

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Government & Politics
4:42 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Swearengin Focuses On Business, Industry Growth in 'State of City' Speech

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin delivers her 2013 "State of the City" address

Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin says the the city's economy is on the road to recovery in 2013, thanks in part to growth in the local food processing sector.  

"I'm telling you that things are getting good around here when it comes to industrial expansion and expanding our food business," Swearengin told the crowd. 

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Government & Politics
12:21 pm
Thu May 16, 2013

Democrats Pushing to Limit Prop 13

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

Some Democrats at the Capitol are attempting to chip away at California’s fabled Prop 13. But supporters of the property tax limiting measure are digging in to fight back. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

Proposition 13 limits property taxes in California. But it also requires a two-thirds vote of the public to increase any special taxes. Six Democratic sponsored bills making their way through the Senate would lower that voter requirement to 55 percent approval.

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Government & Politics
5:43 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Attorney For Family Of Bakersfield Beating Victim Speaks Out

Credit Kern County Sheriff's Department

The attorney representing the family of the man who was fatally beaten by Kern County Sheriffs deputies May 8 is speaking out today. In an interview with Valley Public Radio, David Cohn said that the way the agencies are handling the case is appalling.

“Our biggest concern is that evidence, and primarily videos that were on cell phones was likely to altered, lost or destroyed and essentially our biggest fears have now become a reality.”

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Government & Politics
12:35 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Brown Proceeds With Caution on May Budget Revise

California Governor Jerry Brown has released an updated budget proposal that includes more money for schools this year….and less overall spending next year.
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California is expecting to end the fiscal year with a few billion dollars more than anticipated. Governor Jerry Brown is proposing spending the money on schools, but not much else. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento on Brown’s May budget revision.

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Commentary
11:36 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Commentary: Forget Debates, Here's Five New Ideas For California Candidates

Joe Matthews says future candidates for public office in California should skip the debates, and try a real contest, like mule wrangling
Credit Flickr user etotherock / Creative Commons / http://www.flickr.com/photos/etotherock/4660009137/

Last week, I watched a debate between Los Angeles mayoral candidates Eric Garcetti and Wendy Greuel, and a clear winner emerged: Warren Olney, the moderator. I’m not saying that Olney’s fine grilling made the experience worthwhile, though, because nothing could. The California political debate is dead. When was the last time you heard one with an argument that convinced you of anything? Heck, when was the last time you heard an argument made in any political debate anywhere?

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Health
10:55 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Paso Robles Winemaker Battles Valley Fever

Winemaker Todd Schaefer has been battling valley fever for about ten years.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

The quest for the perfect pinot noir lured Todd and Tammy Schaefer from Malibu to Paso Robles in 2001. But a different fate awaited them and their business, called Pacific Coast Vineyards.

“My wife and I had just come up here, to set up shop and continue our practice of winemaking, and, ‘Welcome to Paso Robles, here’s valley fever,’” Todd recounts.

In October of 2003, Todd was running a bulldozer through a vineyard, and kicking up lots of dust. They had no idea that dust would make him ill.

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Government & Politics
4:10 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

Lawmakers React to Brown's Budget Revision

Credit Creative Commons licensed from Flickr user Glenngould / http://www.flickr.com/photos/for_tea_too/1957375742/

Republicans at the State Capitol are pleased Governor Jerry Brown is taking a more moderate approach to spending California’s budget surplus. But they still have some criticisms. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

No formal rainy day fund, no acknowledgement of possible union pay raises, high taxes that hurt business. State Republicans listed those as among their top concerns with the Governor’s May budget revision.

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