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Government & Politics
5:01 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

Is More Parole The Answer For Overcrowding in California Prisons?

California Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown has until Thursday to release a plan for reducing prison overcrowding in California. Releasing more inmates may not be popular, but one law professor says it could be the way to go. Katie Orr reports from Sacramento.

About 30,000 inmates are serving life sentences in California prisons. Of those inmates, about 9,000 are currently eligible for parole.  UCLA Law Professor Sharon Dolovich  says if the state is looking to reduce its prison population, that might be a good place to start.

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Valley Edition
1:03 pm
Tue April 30, 2013

On Valley Edition: Water; Fracking; Valley Fever; Restorative Justice; Honey Festival

This week on Valley Edition we explore issues that may impact the region as a whole. Our reporting team tackles regional issues that include advocacy for potable water in rural communities, hydraulic fracking and restorative justice in Valley schools. As well as a festival celebrating honey in the region.

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Environment
11:42 am
Tue April 30, 2013

As 'Fracking' Debate Heats Up, Weighing Risks Key to Possible Monterey Shale Boom

Much of the Monterey Shale formation lies beneath the San Joaquin Valley. (file photo)
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Capital Public Radio

Could California be on the verge of a new gold rush? That’s the finding of a new study from USC about the potential economic impact of oil that lies deep beneath the Central Valley, known as the Monterey Shale. But extracting that oil isn’t easy, and it would require the use of a number of advanced techniques, including hydraulic fracturing.  And that’s attracted concerns from environmental groups and state regulators. Valley Public Radio’s Joe Moore reports on some recent developments in the fracking debate.

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Environment
11:33 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Several Bills Would Regulate 'Fracking' in State

In Colorado, fracking operations are underway. (file photo)
Credit Kathleen Masterson / Capital Public Radio

Ten bills that would regulate hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” for oil are working their way through the California legislature. The proposals range from requiring more scientific study to a moratorium. As Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, the industry opposes almost all of the bills.

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Health
9:59 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Inmates At Risk of Valley Fever To Be Moved From Two Valley Prisons

About 40 percent of the inmates at Avenal and Pleasant Valley state prisons will be relocated, due to their risk of acquiring valley fever.
Credit Casey Christie / The Californian

The federal receiver in charge of health care in California’s prisons is ordering the state to remove inmates from two Central Valley prisons who are especially at risk of contracting the fungal disease known as valley fever. The move affects about 40 percent of the inmate population at Avenal and Pleasant Valley State Prisons. 

Those affected include African Americans, Filipinos, inmates who are HIV positive, have compromised immune systems, or are pregnant or elderly.

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Environment
9:19 am
Tue April 30, 2013

Where Might Funding For Safe Drinking Water Flow From?

Sandra Garcia, left, of Poplar, can't drink her water because it's contaminated by nitrates.
Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

For the past 35 years, Sandra Garcia has picked grapes, plums and peppers on San Joaquin Valley farms. But when she returns to her home in the small, Tulare County community of Poplar, she’s reminded of agriculture’s impact on her drinking water.

She can’t drink it because it contains unhealthy levels of nitrates. And she can’t cook with it, because boiling water can concentrate the nitrate level. It’s a serious health issue for infants and pregnant women.

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Agriculture
2:08 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Environmental Advocates Call For Phasing Out Strawberry Pesticides

Credit Rebecca Plevin / Valley Public Radio

Some environmentalists say hazardous strawberry pesticides should be banned in California by 2020. But as Amy Quinton reports from Sacramento, strawberry growers say finding an alternative to fumigants is difficult.

On the steps of the Capitol, farm workers, environmentalists and health leaders called on the state to phase out soil fumigants used most heavily in strawberry production. They say fumigants have a wide range of health effects, are highly volatile, and drift from where they are applied. Martha Arguello is with Physicians for Social Responsibility.

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Artists Interviews
9:00 am
Fri April 26, 2013

Artist Interview: Gabriela Martinez

The New York Times called Venezuelan pianist Gabriela Martinez “compelling, elegant, and incisive." She performs this weekend with the Fresno Philharmonic, in a concert titled Russian Romantics. She will be the featured soloist performing Rachmaninoff’s  Piano Concerto No. 2. She recently joined us to talk about her career, her upcoming performance and more.

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Government & Politics
5:37 pm
Thu April 25, 2013

White House Touts 'Strong Cities' Effort in Fresno, Rerouting Planned Bus Line

President Obama meets with mayors participating the Strong Cities, Strong Communities program, including Fresno's Ashley Swearengin in March 2012
Credit EPA.gov

A federal effort to cut red tape and better use existing  resources to help economically struggling cities like Fresno is beginning to pay off, according to Obama administration officials. 

In a statement issued Thursday, Housing Secretary Shaun Donovan and White House Domestic Policy Council Director Cecilia Muñoz praised the "Strong Cities, Strong Communities" (SC2) program for supporting communities like Fresno.

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Young Artists Spotlight
3:56 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

Young Artists Spotlight: Constantine Pappas and Maelyn De Fede

Soprano Maelyn De Fede and baritone Constantine Pappas
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

We bring the 2013 season of Young Artists Spotlight to a close this week with a performance by the winners of the Fresno Musical Club's Young Singer Awards. Baritone Constantine Pappas and soprano Maelyn De Fede join us to perform live in-studio on this special edition of Young Artists Spotlight.

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Government & Politics
1:30 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

With Competing Political and Legal Pressures, Brown Defends Prison Realignment

California Governor Jerry Brown (file photo)
Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Governor Jerry Brown is taking hits both inside and outside the State Capitol as he faces a stinging federal court order to reduce California’s prison population - and impassioned calls to expand it.  Katie Orr has more from Sacramento on the events Tuesday that show the competing political and legal pressures surrounding the governor.

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Valley Writers Read
1:09 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

"Vineyards of the San Joaquin Valley" on Valley Writers Read

This week on Valley Writers Read, we hear a story by Madera author Earline Holguin, titled "Vineyards of the San Joaquin Valley." This memoir recalls life on a grape ranch right next to the San Joaquin River, and gives the listener insights into agricultural life in the Central Valley.

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Health Care Reform
12:54 pm
Wed April 24, 2013

California Considers Expanded Roles for Nurses in Primary Care

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

Most counties in California have a shortage of primary care doctors. And with millions more people in the state expected to get health coverage next year, lawmakers are proposing ways to make sure basic care is available in areas that need it. One bill would allow nurse practitioners to treat patients without consulting a physician. Health care reporter Pauline Bartolone reports on what it might mean for patients.

Some nurse practitioners in California already see patients without a doctor in the room. Patients like Anastacia Casperson.

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Environment
9:53 am
Wed April 24, 2013

Valley Cities Top National Lists For Air Pollution

Credit Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

If you’re expecting clean air in the San Joaquin Valley, don’t hold your breath.

The American Lung Association released this week its annual State of the Air report. It shows that Valley cities continue to top the lists for the most polluted areas in the nation for ozone, short-term particle pollution, and annual particle pollution.

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Government & Politics
6:44 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

California Undocumented Driver License Bill Moves Forward

Democratic Assemblyman Luis Alejo (file photo)

Under current law, if you don’t have a Social Security number, you can’t get a license to drive in California. But proposed legislation would change that. Katie Orr reports from the Capitol.

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Government & Politics
6:35 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Governor's Brown's Sacramento Loft Broken Into

Credit Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio

California Governor Jerry Brown says he had an unwelcome visitor at his Sacramento loft a couple of days ago when he and his wife weren’t home:

“A guy jumped – got in, got up to the roof, jumped down on the balcony and was trying to break in. and one of my neighbors called the police.  And he was arrested and I think he’s out on his own recognizance,” says Brown.

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Community
4:12 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

'Maker' Re-Creates Victorian Era Downtown Fresno With Cardboard

The centerpiece of John Rupe's cardboard city is the old Fresno County Courthouse, which was demolished in 1966.
Joe Moore Valley Public Radio

John Rupe doesn't have a time machine. But he does have laminated cardboard, glue and thin sheets of copper - just enough to take a trip back in time to a Fresno that hasn't existed for over nearly a century. That year is 1900. 

Rupe has always loved Downtown Fresno. 

"I explored," Rupe said. "I was in Hotel Fresno in the 80's and it was vacant back then... I was in the Sun-Maid Raisin plant before it was demolished and the Republican Newspaper building, which has been demolished too."

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Valley Edition
12:35 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

On Valley Edition: Medical Interpreters; Clinics; Makers Faire; High-Speed Rail

Credit Credit California High Speed Rail Authority / File Photo

This week on Valley Edition we take a look across the region at health issues, innovation, the future of high-speed rail in California and more.

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Innovation
11:34 am
Tue April 23, 2013

''Mini Maker Faire' Highlights Fresno's Quirky Creativity, Innovation

Chris McCoy, with the depart of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, tinkered with a 3D printer at the event.
Ezra Romero Valley Public Radio

In a region of the country known for its agriculture exploits and groundbreaking farming techniques a new sort of innovation is developing.  The Fresno Grizzlies along with Fresno Idea Works held the first ever Mini Maker Faire in Fresno on Sunday. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra Romero has this report.  
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It was a regular day at the ballpark. The crack of the bat, the crowd cheering as a player hits a ball out of the stadium and Parker -- the Fresno Grizzlies mascot – making the audience smile between innings.

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Health
9:30 am
Tue April 23, 2013

CDC To Hold Valley Fever Symposium in Bakersfield, McCarthy Says

Congressman Kevin McCarthy has enlisted the help of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to raise awareness of valley fever, and to encourage the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to waive a fee needed to put a valley fever skin test on the market.
Credit Shelby Mack / The Bakersfield Californian

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will visit the San Joaquin Valley later this year to train public health professionals and the public in recognizing and defending against valley fever, Congressman Kevin McCarthy said Monday after an in-depth meeting with the agency and its director.

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